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Published June 12 2012

Potter, Baesler earn spots in November superintendent of public instruction race

BISMARCK – Kirsten Baesler and Tracy Potter secured the two spots on the November ballot in the superintendent of public instruction race.

Baesler of Mandan led with 41,005 votes, or 37 percent, in the nonpartisan race with 426 of 426 precincts reporting complete but unofficial results.

Tracy Potter of Bismarck received 35,661 votes, or 32 percent. Max Laird of Bismarck had 33,007 votes, or 30 percent.

The top two vote-getters advance to the November election.

The race was close throughout Tuesday night. While waiting for results at Republican Party headquarters in Bismarck, Baesler said she was confident.

“I’m moving forward, planning for tomorrow to advance to the November election,” she said. “I’m grateful for the support that I do have.”

Before final results were in, Potter called the race “exciting” and said he was “pleased to be in the thick of it, despite being outspent dramatically.”

Laird said the race was closer than he anticipated.

“It’s interesting. It’s just an interesting race,” he said. “Who’d have thought?”

For the first time since 1980, current Superintendent Wayne Sanstead was not on the ballot after deciding earlier this year to retire.

Baesler won Republican support for the nonpartisan office during the party’s convention, while Laird received Democratic support. Potter said he wanted to honor the spirit of the nonpartisan office and did not seek support from the Democratic Party.

The state superintendent serves a four-year term and has an annual salary of $102,868. The salary increases to $105,954 on July 1.