Arthur Gustav Sorlie defeated incumbent Ragnvald A. Nestos in the 1924 gubernatorial race. The big political news at that time was the struggle between the Nonpartisan League (NPL) and the Independent Voters' Association (IVA). The NPL membership (primarily farm and rural) bitterly opposed big business interests. They favored state-owned industries such as the Bank of North Dakota and the State Mill and Elevator. The IVA considered the NPL platform to be too radical and socialistic. They did not support state ownership of industry. When NPL-backed Sorlie replaced IVA candidate Nestos, the Nonpartisan League returned to power in the state. However, Sorlie did not have complete support from the League. Some (such as his own lieutenant governor, Walter Maddock) disliked Sorlie because he was a conservative businessman.
During the 1927 legislative session, Sorlie's political enemies conspired to embarrass him by publicly investigating the State Mill and Elevator and calling for its removal from the governor's influence because of inefficient management. Governor Sorlie died in office in 1928. His body lay in state in the rotunda of the capitol.
Governor Sorlie was part of the Nonpartisan League (NPL), but some of the more radical League members did not support him.
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