In the 2012 election cycle North Dakota Democrats had a House and a Senate candidate in the race by the beginning of November. Two months past that date in the 2014 election cycle, and Democrats still haven’t found a House candidate. I wrote in my newspaper column before the holidays that Kevin Cramer’s Christmas gift was no Democrat challenger before the new year.
Little did I know that he’d get some extra “stocking stuffers” in having no challenger for weeks after the new year either.
Back before Halloween the Democrat state party leadership was crowing about having 5 potential candidates for Kevin Cramer. We were supposed to believe that Cramer is vulnerable, and that Democrat candidates were lining up for the opportunity to take him on. Now, two and a half months later, not a single one of those candidates has made an official move to get into the race.
The only candidate who has even come close is state Senator George Sinner from the Fargo area, and we’re nearly two weeks out from him telling the Bismarck Tribune he’d announce a campaign “next week.”
A search of the FEC website this morning shows no new candidates filed on behalf of Democrats for the 2014 election cycle.
Remember, no federal candidate can legally do anything in terms of organizing or fundraising until they file with the FEC.
Maybe Rep. Cramer isn’t that vulnerable after all? Actions, after all, speak louder than words.
It’s not just the federal House race either. There’s little buzz around any potential Democrat candidate running for statewide office, despite there being a couple of openings in the Republican line of incumbents. Tax Commissioner Cory Fong stepped down, and Dalrymple-appointee Ryan Rauschenberger is running for a term of his own. A non-incumbent on the ballot, in a state dominated by Republican incumbents, might be an opening for Democrats except Rauschenberger just put up eyebrow-raising campaign fundraising totals.
Public Sevice Commissioner Julie Fedorchak is also an appointee on the ballot for the first time, but so far she doesn’t have a Democrat challenger.
The Democrat party is enjoying some strong fundraising – they’re way ahead of both the state Republican part and their own cycle-to-date numbers so far – and eventually they’ll have candidates come out of the woodwork. The question is, will these be candidates with a serious expectation of winning or placeholder candidates?
It seems to this observer that serious candidates would be in the race already.