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Published March 25, 2010, 11:21 AM

Boucher seeks to challenge Goehring in N.D. ag commissioner race

State Rep. Merle Boucher, D-Rolette, will seek the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party’s endorsement Friday to challenge incumbent Doug Goehring in the agriculture commissioner race, he announced Thursday.

State Rep. Merle Boucher, D-Rolette, will seek the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party’s endorsement Friday to challenge incumbent Doug Goehring in the agriculture commissioner race, he announced Thursday.

Boucher has represented Rolette County in the state House for five terms, first elected to the office in 1990. He’s been the House minority leader for 14 years.

“After twenty years serving in the North Dakota House of Representatives, I am excited to be taking the next step and launching my campaign for agriculture commissioner,” he said in a written statement.

Still, Boucher said leaving his spot in the House was a “hard decision to make.” His current term ends this year.

But he said he thinks he has made a difference for the state and the political party over the past two decades.

“Now it is time for me to take the next step and run to represent the family farmers in this state who I have had the privilege of working with for my entire career,” Boucher said. “I believe that North Dakotans know that farmers have always been, and will always be, best represented by the Democratic-NPL Party in the North Dakota statehouse.”

Democrats will officially endorse their agriculture commissioner candidate this afternoon at the state convention in Fargo.

Boucher unsuccessfully sought the party endorsement to run for governor in 2004 and 2008. He was the running mate of the 2008 Democratic governor candidate, Tim Mathern, who lost to Gov. John Hoeven.

Goehring has been the state’s agriculture commissioner since being appointed to the position in April 2009. He had unsuccessfully challenged Roger Johnson, a Democrat, for the office in two elections, and got the job after Johnson resigned to become president of the National Farmers Union.

Goehring picked up the Republican endorsement Sunday at the state convention in Grand Forks.

Johnson reports on local politics. Reach him at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send e-mail to rjohnson@gfherald.com.

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