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Anna G. Larson, Published November 06 2012

Peterson leading in auditor's race

BISMARCK – Incumbent Robert Peterson appeared set Tuesday night to retain the office he’s held for 16 years.

As of 10:40 p.m., Peterson, a Republican, had received 62 percent of the vote over Democratic challenger Scot Klesh for the job of North Dakota’s state auditor.

Democrat Scot Kelsh of Fargo had secured 37 percent of the vote.

Peterson succeeded his father, Bob Peterson, who was the state auditor from 1972-1996, when he retired.

Peterson could not be reached for comment, but said before the election that he didn’t plan to change anything while in office.

“I think the current structure I’m using is effective,” he said. “The state auditor position is important to the state government, and I like the job.”

As of press time, 321 of 426 precincts were reporting. Peterson had secured 120,786 votes, and Kelsh took 72,652 votes.

Kelsh currently serves as a representative for District 11. He is also a Fargo firefighter.

The state auditor is responsible for overseeing the spending of tax dollars. North Dakota’s state auditor serves a four-year term and receives an annual salary of $90,360.

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N.D. auditor

62% Robert Peterson

37% Scot Kelsh

120,786 Total Peterson

72,652 Total Kelsh

As of 10:40 p.m. with 321 of 426 precincts reporting