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Dave Olson, Published February 20 2010

North Dakota House race taking on smoky flavor

The race for two seats in North Dakota House District 11 is taking on a smoky flavor.

Incumbent Scot Kelsh, who has held a seat in the Legislature since 1996, recently became a Fargo firefighter.

Newly announced candidate Ron Guggisberg is a captain with the Fargo Fire Department.

A third candidate, Mike Williams, is the Fargo City Commission’s liaison to the Fire Department.

Williams, who plans to run as an independent, said the more the merrier when it comes to candidates.

“I like giving voters options, and they’re good guys,” he said of Guggisberg and Kelsh.

Guggisberg was working Friday and said he could not discuss his campaign while on duty.

However, he said he didn’t think working alongside a fellow candidate, or two, would be a problem for any of them.

Kelsh, who was off duty Friday, agreed that the race shouldn’t cause any friction at work.

He said his campaign would be predicated on his record as a legislator.

“I’m just going to focus on the positive aspects of what I’ve done and what I intend to do going forward,” said Kelsh, who has been a firefighter for about six months.

“It’s a wonderful job,” Kelsh said. “It’s public service in a different way.”

Kelsh and Guggisberg plan to seek the endorsement of the Democratic-NPL Party, which holds its district conventions today.

Rep. Mary Ekstrom, a Democrat who holds one of the District 11 seats, has said she will not run for re-election.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555