Democratic Tax Commissioner Candidate Uses Video From Incumbent’s DUI Arrest in Campaign Ad

Video still from the video of Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger's arrest.

From the “what have you got to lose” department, long-shot Tax Commissioner candidate (and erstwhile chair of the North Dakota Democratic Party) Kylie Oversen has a new video ad out in which she uses video of incumbent Republican Ryan Rauschenberger’s DUI arrest to accuse him of lying. Oversen, who lost her legislative seat in the 2016 election cycle, then goes on to accuse Rauschenberger of lying about property tax relief, which is a little odd because the policy Oversen is describing isn’t set in the Tax Commissioner’s office.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Oversen is something less than clear on what the Tax Commissioner actually does. In the ad she says she’ll protect our tax relief, but that’s sort of a lie. Because the Tax Commissioner doesn’t set tax policy. The Legislature does.

Anyway, to the video:

Brutal.

The whole “lying” thing, if it isn’t clear from the ad, is the fact that Rauschenberger wasn’t honest with the arresting officer when he was asked how much he’d had to drink. He said he had “like one drink … like three hours ago” and then proceeded to blow a .208 on the breathalyzer test.

So, yeah. That’s a problem. Rauschenberger subsequently said he regretted the lie, but it’s still a lie. Here’s what I wrote about this last year:

This sort of lying during a DUI arrest is undoubtedly standard stuff. But that doesn’t make it any more acceptable for a statewide elected official, one entrusted with oversight of the state’s tax code, to do it.

Rauschenberger admitted to struggles with alcohol addiction before the 2014 election. He went into treatment and emerged to win election by a wide margin over a cream puff Democratic candidate. In other words, the voters forgave him.

But this is a much different situation. Last time was the first time. Last time Rauschenberger wasn’t driving a car. And last time he didn’t lie.

Will Oversen get traction with this?

Maybe.

Rauschenberger was leading Oversen 52 – 34 percent in a Mason Dixon poll released back in June, and I doubt much about that race has changed since then. This sort of a brutal broadside against Rauschenberger was probably Oversen’s best hope, but it could backfire.

A lot of North Dakotans have DUI’s. Sanctimony on that subject might do more to hurt Oversen than it does Rauschenberger. Which is probably why Oversen opted to make the issue Rauschenberger’s fib to the arresting officer and not the DUI itself.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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