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Melinda Rogers, Published October 16 2007

Fargo senator criticizes prison plan, falls short of announcing run for governor

A $41 million proposal endorsed by Gov. John Hoeven to revamp the State Penitentiary in Bismarck highlights the need to elect a new state leader in 2008, a Fargo legislator said today.

But Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo, danced around questions on whether he’ll throw his hat into the candidate pool for governor as he eluded he’d do earlier this year.

Mathern on Aug. 31 announced he’s formed a cabinet to explore the possibility of running for governor. He’s among the first of potential challengers to face Hoeven, a Republican who is seeking a third four-year term.

He called a press conference today to speak out against plans to invest in enhancements to the state prison, but declined to answer when and if he’ll formally announce intentions to join the race for governor.

Don Canton, a spokesman for Gov. John Hoeven, said Mathern is misreprenting a recently released accreditation report and is using the issue to gain political clout.

“The senator is using this issue for political advantage, but we're going to stay focused on good policy,” Canton said.

Read more Wednesday in The Forum.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Melinda Rogers at (701) 241-5524

Fargo senator criticizes prison plan, falls short of announcing run for governor Melinda Rogers 20071016