Earlier this month, I wrote about State Representative Daniel Johnston (R – District 24) announcing his bid to replace retiring State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt. Well, Johnston now has some competition from one of his colleagues in the State House, Rep. Thomas Beadle (R – District 27).
Beadle has served in the House since 2011. His most recent re-election came in 2018 when he and Democrat Ruth Buffalo were the leading vote getters in District 27. Beadle currently sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee.
There’s no question that Rep. Beadle has fairly significant political connections as well. His step-father is former Republican State Senator Tony Grindberg. Grindberg represented District 41 from 1992 to 2014 and currently serves on the Fargo City Commission. In addition, Beadle’s grandfather is former House Majority Leader Earl Strinden, who served in the legislature from 1974 to 2000.
In the case of Grindberg, he’s most recently known for his part in some less than impressive findings of a state audit report of the North Dakota State School of Science— where he is currently Vice President in the Workforce Affairs Division. Some speculate that it was this audit which led to the legislature attempting to strip State Auditor Josh Gallion of his authority to initiate performance audits— a move that Rep. Beadle voted for.
As a side note to that, we showed back in September that Grindberg actually proposed a bill himself in 2013 to remove this authority from the State Auditor. However, that effort failed.
Now, to be fair, Rep. Beadle certainly can’t be responsible for the actions of his step-father. But it’s worth noting that Beadle voted to do something Grindberg couldn’t get accomplished during his time in the legislature— namely, to neuter the State Auditor. This is somewhat troubling when we consider the fact that Beadle voted to do so after Grindberg was blasted in an audit.
Considering all this, how credible is Beadle’s own statement in his press release that he wants “to bring a focus to accountability and transparency across state government”?
Just two weeks ago, we published an article expressing our concerns with a recent conference 14 state lawmakers attended in Puerto Rico— that cost taxpayers nearly $50,000. Rep. Beadle was one of those attending. We also used the fact that he took his wife with to celebrate their anniversary as a means of illustrating why some folks may view such trips as something more of a vacation than state business.
What’s really fascinating about Beadle’s candidacy though is that it comes less than three years after he voted for a bill that sought to eliminate the office of Treasurer. That effort — then known as House Concurrent Resolution 3004 — ended up going down in flames on a vote of 18 – 68.
Movements to phase out the position aren’t new though. Voters rejected a General Election ballot measure to do just that in 1984, when 43% of voters favored the effort. Then in 2000 another attempt was made in the June Primary. That measure came up short with 47% of the vote.
State Senator Tim Mathern (D – District 11) ran on eliminating the office in 2016 when he opposed Kelly Schmidt in the General Election. But Mathern managed to convince just over 29% of the voters to cast their ballots for him. He later co-sponsored the very bill (HCR 3004) that Rep. Beadle voted for.
Delegates to the North Dakota State Republican Convention will decide who becomes the party’s endorsed candidate. That event is slated for March 27-29 in Bismarck. Rep. Daniel Johnston has committed to abiding by the results of that convention. Ultimately, the winner of the June Primary will become the party’s nominee for the General Election to be held in November.
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