BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Republican leaders in southwestern North Dakota said Tuesday they are waiting to see whether an expelled lawmaker from their district will sue before they appoint a replacement.
The North Dakota House last week removed Republican Rep. Luke Simons, a rancher from Dickinson, over sexual harassment allegations they said stretched back to soon after he took office in 2017. Simons has denied any misconduct and retained an attorney.
District 36 Republican Chairman John Enderle told reporters that appointing a state representative to replace Simons is “up to Luke,” referring to any action the lawmaker might take in an effort to retain his seat.
“District 36 elected Luke Simons. We stand behind Luke Simons, and whatever his decision is, if it goes the other way, yes, we will fill that seat, but until then, District 36 elected Luke Simons,” Enderle said.
He called Simons’ expulsion an “atrocity” and “kangaroo court,” The Bismarck Tribune reported.
During the House floor session Tuesday, Republican Rep. Jeff Magrum, a vocal supporter of Simons, was speaking on a term limits bill when he referenced “the debacle with our honorable Rep. Simons” and how the House seemed like “a good old boys club” in how Simons was expelled.
Magrum was gaveled down and scolded by Republican House Speaker Speaker Kim Koppelman.