Despite being outed on May 20 for charges stemming from a peeping Tom incident, North Dakota’s GOP secretary of state nominee Will Gardner won 93 percent of the vote. Now, he’s officially dropped out of the race weeks after announcing his intention to do so.
Gardner’s 2006 disorderly conduct conviction was initially reported by The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead on May 18. Two days later, he announced that he planned on dropping out of the race — but during the state’s June 13 primaries, an overwhelming majority of Republican ballot-casters voted for him. Gardner had been endorsed by the state’s Republican Party over incumbent Al Jaeger during the party’s convention in April.
Gardner was a webmaster at North Dakota State University when he was caught with his pants unzipped and his shirt out while peering into female freshman dorm rooms in 2006. He claimed to have only watched one co-ed undress, but the Forum‘s report noted that “court documents suggested officers witnessed him moving to multiple windows to look into occupied rooms.” He had a wife and small children at the time of his guilty plea.
In a statement posted on his personal Facebook, Gardner said that he believed his “leadership would have been a great asset to the office of the Secretary of State” before appearing to endorse the incumbent secretary.
“I exit this race only because I know that Secretary Jaeger will defend the most important aspect of the office, our voter ID laws, which are under enormous attack,” he wrote.
You can read Gardner’s full statement below: