I had Democratic U.S. House candidate Chase Iron Eyes on my radio show yesterday. The full audio of our interview is below.
I like Iron Eyes. A lot. I think he’s mostly wrong on the issues, and I don’t think he’s ready to serve in Congress, but he’s at least willing to engage his critics. Which is more than you can say for a lot of North Dakota’s politicians.
One of my first questions to Iron Eyes was about his lackluster fundraising so far. As I pointed out yesterday, the contributions he’s received so far are a fraction of those received by the last two Democratic candidates for the House, and the two other Native American candidates Democrats put on the statewide ballot this cycle have received exactly one contribution to date (though one of them, Insurance Commissioner candidate Ruth Buffalo, seems to be more than a week overdue in filing her latest disclosure report).
In response Iron Eyes pointed out that both Gulleson and Sinner lost to incumbent Republican Kevin Cramer – also Iron Eyes’ opponent this fall – by more than ten points. He said he’s not basing his success on the amount of money he raises.
“We’ll see what happens on the ballot on November 8,” he added.
He also took a shot at candidates who raise a lot of money. “It’s different when you’re willing to bend over for the corporate big oil interests that have taken over North Dakota,” he told me.
I asked him if he thought Gulleson and/or Sinner had bent over for those interests given their relatively successful fundraising. “I don’t know,” he told me. “I haven’t looked at their fundraising lists.”
When I asked him to tell me one thing we might be surprised to learn about him, Iron Eyes told me that he was opposed a recent executive order from the Obama administration he’d read about banning the Pledge of Allegiance, though I’m pretty sure that’s a hoax.
We also chatted about the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. In the past I’ve heard Iron Eyes say that he’s not against the pipeline so much as he objects to the route and the process through which he established. I pointed out that it can be hard for some to see that message when so many of the protesters fighting to block the pipeline insist that they want no pipeline and no oil at all.
“I’ve never heard Standing Rock say ‘keep it in the ground’,” he told me.
“A lot of this is from outsiders,” he added. People more adept at “getting on top of the message” than the tribe is.
Though I’d point out that you don’t exactly hear the Standing Rock Tribe or their official public relations people at Earthjustice make that sort of distinction.
Here’s the full audio: