UPDATE: Somehow I missed this Grand Forks Herald piece from last night on Mock considering a run. Consider the rumor confirmed.
I’m told that state Rep. Corey Mock (D-Doesn’t Live In His District) is considering a run for Auditor, one of just two open races on the statewide ballot now that Treasurer Kelly Schmidt has announced she’s running for a fourth term.
Mock has seen but not responded by my questions about his possible candidacy, and my other Democrat contacts aren’t getting back to me either, which is sort of an answer in itself I think.
Auditor is not an office which turns over often – just five different people have held it since 1925 – nor is it one that has been held by a Democrat during the lifespan of anyone drawing breath today. The last time North Dakota had a Democrat for an Auditor was during the Grover Cleveland administration.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Auditor is not an office which turns over often – just five different people have held it since 1925 – nor is it one that has been held by a Democrat during the lifespan of anyone drawing breath today. The last time North Dakota had a Democrat for an Auditor was during the Grover Cleveland administration.[/mks_pullquote]
That would be 1894 for those of you who can’t remember when Cleveland was President. Back when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was still publishing Sherlock Holmes books.
Thus the race would seem like an odd choice for Mock, who is perhaps one of the most ambitious Democrats in the state and has already lost one statewide race. In 2010 he ran for Secretary of State and lost to incumbent Republican Al Jaeger after getting just 37.5 percent of the vote.
But the auditor position could give Mock a platform for demanding a state ethics committee, something he’s made his personal hobby horse in recent years. And given the way Democrats seem to want to make ethics, generally, the theme of the 2016 elections perhaps it would be a good strategic move.
Mock might not win a statewide race – his bow ties, hipster aesthetic, and propensity for staged Facebook photos – might be a bit too twee for the average North Dakota voter. But could he use a campaign to harangue Republicans on ethics issues?
That might be effective, though it would be ironic to see Mock campaign on ethics reforms for an office which has no power to implement such reforms. If an ethics committee and other regulations for political activities are what Mock wants he’s better situationed to pursue that agenda in the Legislature. And if he ran for Auditor, he’d have to give up the Legislature given that his current term in the state House is up.
Meanwhile Republicans will have a contested nomination for the office. Former Bismarck Tribune publisher Brian Kroshus will be seeking the nomination, as will Josh Gallion who currently works at the Public Service Commission. Current Auditor Bob Peterson has endorsed Gallion.
UPDATE: This is kind of hilarious. It doesn’t seem that the executive director for the Democrats knows what the Auditor’s office does. Here’s a tweet Robert Haider sent out today:
— Robert Haider (@RobertHaider) November 19, 2015
“While the auditor itself is not a position that has oversight—the kind of oversight I’ve been pursuing—it is an important agency in the state that I think could excel under the next chapter of leadership,” Mock told the Herald.