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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • 3 seek to replace Sanstead as ND school super

  • BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A former state senator, a one-time teachers union president and a Bismarck school administrator were competing Tuesday for the right to succeed Wayne Sanstead, the nation's longest-serving state school superintendent.


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  • BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A former state senator, a one-time teachers union president and a Bismarck school administrator were competing Tuesday for the right to succeed Wayne Sanstead, the nation's longest-serving state school superintendent.
    Republican activists hoped the presence of Democrats Max Laird and Tracy Potter in the race would help GOP favorite Kirsten Baesler grab one of the top two ballot spots in Tuesday's primary election.
    The leading vote-getters will run against each other in November for the job of state superintendent of public instruction. The third-place finisher will be eliminated.
    It is the first statewide campaign for Baesler, 43, who is an assistant principal in Bismarck's public schools and president of the school board in neighboring Mandan. She is a member of the North Dakota School Boards Association's board of directors and has worked as a lobbyist on education issues in the Legislature.
    Potter, 61, is director of the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation, a nonprofit that helps to maintain the Fort Abraham Lincoln state historic site. He is a former state tourism director and deputy insurance commissioner.
    Potter served one term as a North Dakota Democratic state senator, representing a central Bismarck district, before he decided to forgo a re-election campaign two years ago in favor of a bid for the U.S. Senate. As the Democratic Party's favored candidate, Potter was shellacked by then-Republican Gov. John Hoeven, who got 76 percent of the vote.
    The 61-year-old Laird, a Bismarck resident, recently retired from his job teaching science at a Grand Forks alternative school. He is a former president of the North Dakota Education Association, the state's largest teachers group.
    It is Laird's third campaign for the state superintendent's job.
    Sanstead, 77, was first elected as North Dakota's top school administrator in 1984. He is the longest-serving state school administrator in the nation, according to the Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington, D.C.