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State senator won’t seek another term; cites divisiveness

November 18, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Bismarck’s only Democrat in the Legislature won’t run for re-election next year.

Sen. Erin Oban announced Thursday she won’t be seeking a third term, citing the divisive nature of current politics.

The Bismarck Tribune reports her departure opens up one of seven seats held by Senate Democrats, who have dwindled to their smallest minority in 50 years in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

“It’s obvious that the extreme rhetoric and divisiveness of the national scene have seeped into our state,” Oban said in a statement.

“The North Dakota Senate has been a place that, for the most part, has maintained decorum and respected the rules that govern the way in which we do business,” she said. “For that, I am grateful. But it was also considered the more ‘serious’ legislative body, the chamber with far less tolerance for distractions, nonsense, and political theater, and over the last few years, that’s been changing.”

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Oban, 39, is a former junior high math teacher. She was first elected in 2014.

Her announcement comes a week after Bismarck GOP Sen. Nicole Poolman said she won’t seek reelection. Poolman, an educator, said she wants to spend more time with her family and students but also cited an eroding civility in politics.