Baesler, Potter advance in DPI race

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

Baesler of Mandan received 41,256 votes, or 37.3 percent, in the nonpartisan race, according to complete but unofficial results.

Potter of Bismarck received 35,891 votes, or 32.4 percent. Max Laird of Bismarck finished third with 33,289 votes, or 30.1 percent.

The race was close throughout Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Baesler told supporters she was excited to continue working hard and spreading her message across the state.

“It was humbling for me to see the extent of interest in education throughout this initial phase of our campaign,” she wrote on her campaign Facebook page.

Potter said he was pleased with the results and thinks his campaign is positioned well for the fall.

“Now I’m looking forward to a fun campaign. It’s going to be great,” he said.

Laird did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

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.