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North Dakota state rep. Ben Hanson candidates share name and looks



  • North Dakota’s Legislature gives each House district two seats, with the Democratic primary for the 46th District opening up a unique possibility.
  • Ben W. Hanson (left) and Ben M. Hanson (right) could theoretically serve together at the Capitol in Bismark if they both win the Democratic primary and the general for the two seats.
  • The two Democrats have seen a surge in media attention because of their likeness in name and appearance.
  • “It’s also nice to have something lighthearted to start a campaign with,” Ben W. told Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

No, this is not a glitch in the matrix. 

North Dakota’s Legislature could see two candidates with the same name and similar appearances serve together representing the same district, depending on how the Democratic primary on June 9 and the general election on Nov. 3 play out.

Ben W. Hanson, a former state lawmaker now running in a new district, actually served with a Republican named Ben during his last stint at the Capitol in Bismark. 

Ben M., meanwhile, is a rookie campaigner who was nominated by the South Fargo Democrats along with Ben W. to run for the seat. 

One headline on the race reads “South Fargo Dems endorse Hanson, Hanson and Hedman for District 46 seats.”

Both Hansons would have to be the top vote getters in the primary on June 9 and then edge out any Republicans or third party candidates for the most votes in November in order to serve together.

In the meantime, Ben W. told Insider that the quasi-doppelganger dynamic has made the race more fun.

“Wasn’t expecting this to blow up the way it did but it’s fun to see!” Hanson said in a direct message on Twitter. “It’s also nice to have something lighthearted to start a campaign with.”

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