Kelly Armstrong wins Republican primary in North Dakota governor's race (2024)

FARGO — U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong will be the Republican candidate for North Dakota governor after grabbing landslide results in his primary.

Armstrong had 73% of the vote as of 11 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, according to incomplete and unofficial results. That was a 46-point lead over Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller.

Of 53 counties, 5 reported results at publishing time. McLean County did not have results.

“We’re just really excited about moving ahead to November and moving forward for North Dakota,” Armstrong told The Forum Tuesday night.

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Before 9 p.m., Miller conceded the race to Armstrong. She said she would continue her work as lieutenant governor.

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“Throughout this campaign, I loved traveling our state, meeting with voters and listening to their suggestions and concerns," she said in a statement. "We are incredibly grateful to the thousands of supporters and grassroots conservatives who put their faith in us."

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Miller has won one county. That was Nelson, where she graduated from high school in Lakota.

Armstrong will face Democratic candidate Merrill Piepkorn and independent candidate Michael Coachman in the Nov. 5 general election. Piepkorn, a North Dakota state senator from Fargo, ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.

"I welcome Kelly Armstrong as my opponent in the gubernatorial race," Piepkorn said Tuesday in a statement. "Our campaign will continue with its positive message of bringing the people of this state together."

Kelly Armstrong wins Republican primary in North Dakota governor's race (14)

Chris Flynn / The Forum

Coachman wasn't on the primary ballot.

A newcomer will take incumbent Gov. Doug Burgum's place after he said he would not seek a third term in office. He was first elected in 2016.

Miller, who is Burgum’s second-in-command, hoped to succeed her boss and continue his administration. She has served under Burgum since April 2020, first as the chief operating officer in the governor’s office then as lieutenant governor starting in January 2023.

Kelly Armstrong wins Republican primary in North Dakota governor's race (15)

Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

Armstrong has represented North Dakota in the U.S. House since 2019. The attorney served in the North Dakota Senate from 2012 to 2018.

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Armstrong and Miller supported former President Donald Trump, the presumed GOP nominee for the 2024 presidential election. Trump endorsed Armstrong.

Polls showed Armstrong winning the race by wide margins. Armstrong said Miller ran a good race and didn't take predictions that he would win for granted.

“I’ve been soaking it in and really trying to enjoy the day," Armstrong said of Election Day results showing his landslide lead.

Piepkorn is seen as a long shot against the Republican winner. North Dakota last elected a Democratic governor in 1988.

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In her Tuesday concession statement, Miller endorsed Armstrong and asked her supporters to "get behind his campaign this fall.”

Governors serve a four-year term and are limited to two terms.

The governor’s salary is $152,265 through June 30. After that, it will increase to $158,356.

The lieutenant governor makes $130,000 a year through June 30, after which the annual pay will increase to $135,200.

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State Rep. Michelle Strinden, R-Fargo, is Armstrong's running mate. Patrick Hart is running with Piepkorn.

By April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten has been a journalist in North Dakota since 2011. She joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. Readers can reach her at 701-241-5417 or abaumgarten@forumcomm.com.

Kelly Armstrong wins Republican primary in North Dakota governor's race (2024)
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