UPDATE: There apparently was some confusion about whether Kreun was running for the House or Senate. The Grand Forks Herald initially reported House but have since changed their article to reflect that Kreun is running for the Senate. He’ll be challenging Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider there. So Schneider’s race, not Oversen’s, is the one which just got interesting.
North Dakota Democrats are struggling to find candidates to run for statewide office, and one of the excuses they’ve used to spin that problem is their focus on legislative races. When Rep. Kylie Oversen of Grand Forks was chosen to be the chairwoman of her state party she made it clear that the Legislature was her focus.
I’m going to be taking a more in-depth look at how the Democrats and Republicans are doing on legislative candidate recruitment so far this cycle, but there is some news out of Oversen’s district which should have Democrats worried.
Rep. Oversen may well be in danger of losing her seat.
Over the past four years Oversen has represented District 42, alongside Rep. Corey Mock. But Mock has moved out of the district (he’s now running in District 18), and a Republican with a history of winning elections in liberal-leaning districts has moved in.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]It would be ironic, wouldn’t it, if the Democrats brought in one of their supposed young, rising stars as the party leader so she could focus on winning legislative races only to see her lose her own legislative race?[/mks_pullquote]
According to the Grand Forks Herald, former state Rep. Curtiss Kreun is planning to run for the state House in District 42. He previously represented District 43, also in Grand Forks, but didn’t run for re-election last year because he’d moved into District 42.
Kreun, I should point out, was the top vote-getter in District 43 when he was last on the ballot in 2010. Second place? Long-time Democrat lawmaker Lois Delmore.
That’s why Oversen should be worried. Sure, District 42 is a very left-wing district. Oversen herself was one of the most liberal members of the State House in 2015. But Kreun has shown that he can win beat Democrats in liberal legislative districts. What’s more, he has a pretty strong political pedigree in Grand Forks, being a former member of the Grand Forks City Council for 12 years and the Grand Forks School Board for 16 years.
Joining Oversen and Kreun in the race are Democrat Grant Hauschild and Republican Jake Blum. Both are in their 20’s and first-time candidates.
North Dakota House races are a bit unique in that voters pick two candidates from those listed on the ballot, and the top two vote-getters win. Even if Kreun pulls in more votes than Oversen, as long as she beats Haulschild and Blum she can hold onto her seat.
But that’s no sure thing at this point. Kreun moving into District 42 turned the race there from a sure thing to something far less certain.
It would be ironic, wouldn’t it, if the Democrats brought in one of their supposed young, rising stars as the party leader so she could focus on winning legislative races only to see her lose her own legislative race?
It’s a real possibility at this point.