Our view: Wrigley the logical choice for U.S. attorney
President Donald Trump has nominated an old hand for an important post in North Dakota. State Republicans are on board, too, and so are we.
Drew Wrigley, North Dakota's United States attorney from 2001 to 2009, appears on the cusp of resuming the post, pending approval from the U.S. Senate.
In a statement earlier this month, Sen. John Hoeven said Wrigley "has a strong record of investigating and prosecuting federal crimes in North Dakota and has helped provide justice for victims and their families during his prior service at U.S. attorney. We look forward to moving his nomination through the Senate as quickly as possible."
Gov. Doug Burgum, who does not have a vote in the process, is resolute in backing Wrigley nonetheless. The governor has said Wrigley is "abundantly qualified" for the position and also urged the Senate to move quickly through the confirmation process.
So, is there a holdup?
Evidently not, although there was a hiccup in the process. Wrigley, you see, is a Republican, having served as the state's lieutenant governor from 2010 to 2016. He also was deputy chief of staff for Hoeven while the latter was governor. Wrigley even was mentioned as a potential successor to his old boss, former Gov. Jack Dalrymple.
While Hoeven and Burgum — the state's top elected Republicans — have thrown their weight behind Wrigley, it seemed Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp at first hesitated.
Early this month, she was quoted as saying she didn't "see a need" for a new federal attorney in North Dakota as long as acting U.S. Attorney Chris Myers — who now occupies that office — stays on the job. It was surprising, especially considering three factors:
● Myers, who has had a successful run as U.S. attorney, specifically in his work to curb the rise of drugs in North Dakota, has said he does not want to the job.
"I've become increasingly concerned about how this situation may potentially impact the office that I truly care about and have decided that it would be best for all involved if I remove my name from consideration," Myers said in a statement.
● Wrigley has an abundance of experience as U.S. attorney, having served in that role for more than eight years.
● Wrigley was nominated for the position earlier this summer by President Trump. It's the president's prerogative to nominate U.S. attorneys, and they generally fall in line with the president's own political party.
Heitkamp has amended her comments in recent days. In a statement, she thanked Myers for his work to crack down on drug traffickers, violent crime and those who exploit and abuse children.
"Now that Drew Wrigley has officially been nominated to the post, I look forward to his confirmation process moving forward in the U.S. Senate," she said.
So that settles it.
To us, Wrigley is the logical choice for North Dakota's next U.S. attorney. The Senate should confirm him without delay.