As Their State Convention Begins Democrats Have Two Statewide Candidates And 42 Percent Of Legislative Races Filled


It's cold outside but debate is starting to heat up on agricultural issues in the region's state capitols, including at Bismarck, N.D. Photo taken Jan. 9, 2015, in Bismarck, N.D., at the North Dakota State Capitol. (Forum News Service/Agweek/Mikkel Pates)(Embargo to Jan. 20, 2015, 1 a.m.)

The North Dakota Democrats begin their statewide convention today in Bismarck. They’re not even the top-billed event at the facility they’re using. The main arena at the Bismarck Civic Center will feature the Shrine Circus.

No, I’m not kidding.

As they begin their three-day convention they have just two announced statewide candidates. State Rep. Marvin Nelson and state Senator Joan Heckaman are running for Governor and Lt. Governor, respectively. So far the Democrats have no candidates for Treasurer, Auditor, Public Service Commission, Insurance Commissioner, the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate.

Republicans have candidates for all those races, including competitive nomination competitions for the gubernatorial and auditor seats.

Democrats have said that their lack of statewide candidates is a result of their focus on the Legislature, but if they are especially focused on running candidates for the state House and Senate this year there’s little evidence of it.

In the 2016 election cycle North Dakota’s even-numbered legislative districts are on the ballot. There are 23 districts in play, with one Senator and two Representatives to be elected from each one, for a total of 69 legislative races all together.

According to filings with the Secretary of State’s office, in the House races:

  • Republicans have 32 candidates for 46 races, up four from March 26.
  • Democrats have just 20 candidates, up two.
  • Libertarians still have just one candidate.

In the Senate races:

  • Republicans have 15 candidates for 23 races, up one.
  • Democrats have 9 candidates, also up one.
  • There are no Libertarians filed to run for the state Senate

Overall Democrats have candidates for 29 of 69 Legislative races, or 42 percent.

Republicans have candidates for 57 of 69 races, or 82 percent.

Of course, the convention isn’t the deadline for filing candidates. Both parties can still add candidates, and most certainly will, up until April 11.

Here’s the full candidate list.

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