For the last several years, Brent Sanford has been the lieutenant governor of North Dakota. The office of lieutenant governor is the second-highest ranking political office in North Dakota. Much like most of the rest of the U.S. states. Though the precise duties of a lieutenant governor can vary from state to state.

A Republican, Sanford has been serving under current Governor Doug Burgum. Speculation about whether or not Burgum, a popular moderate, will run for another term has been circling. If he does, it seems he would be doing it without his longtime second-in-command.

Brent Sanford steps down

Brent Sanford has announced his resignation as North Dakota's lieutenant governor. The Bismarck Tribune indicates that it will be effective as of very early 2023. The move was apparently not much of a surprise for administration insiders.

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reports that he'd unsuccessfully applied to become president of the Bank of North Dakota. Sanford says he doesn't "have any stated plans" at this time. For his part, Sanford implied his reasoning for resigning was driven by wanting to spend time with his family. Though some onlookers think there could be a bit more to the story. Rumors have been swirling for some time about tensions between Burgum and Sanford.

Along with other duties, the North Dakota lieutenant governor is expected to serve as something of an ambassador. A liaison between the executive and legislative branches of the state government. If it's perceived that Sanford no longer speaks for Burgum, he may not be able to perform his tasks.

Some are also taking the news of Sanford's departure as a strong indicator that Burgum will run again.

Whether it's due to professional tensions or it's simply Brent Sanford's personal reasons. In theory, the parties involved would just ride it out if the end were in sight. The next gubernatorial election in North Dakota is slated for 2024. And, yes, the question has already been raised if Sanford might challenge Burgum in the Republican primary.

Time will tell.

Sanford holds a degree in accounting from the University of North Dakota. His private sector career included working for the accounting firm Eide Bailly LLP. He would be elected to the city council of Watford City in western North Dakota. Eventually, he became the mayor.

Doug Burgum chose him as his potential lieutenant governor in 2016. It became a reality after Burgum won that year's governor's race in a landslide. He would be re-elected in 2020, also in a dominant fashion.

Tammy Miller to take over in the role

Burgum is appointing Tammy Miller to follow Brent Sanford as lieutenant governor. Miller has been serving as the chief operating officer, also appointed by Burgum, since 2020.

Previously, she considered challenging Democratic U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp in 2018. She ultimately did not, and Republican U.S. Representative defeated Heitkamp in the election. In the private sector, Miller was chief operating officer of an electrical company.

Miller is a native of Brocket in northeastern North Dakota. After graduating from high school in nearby Lakota, she enrolled at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Her husband, Craig Palmer, was president of the telecommunications company Multiband.