Democrats in North Dakota’s Senate Call on Oley Larsen to Resign Leadership Position

Sen. Joan Heckaman, a Democrat from New Rockford, is the leader of the North Dakota Senate's minority caucus. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

Yesterday I posted an email embattled state Senator Oley Larsen had sent out his fellow Senators soliciting their input as to whether or not he ought to resign his position as President Pro Tempore.

It’s hard to know how genuine Larsen was in asking for the input. After all, before he sent that email, he’d already published a letter to the editor saying he wouldn’t be resigning from anything.

Still, for what it’s worth, every Democrat in the Senate has taken him up on the offer. You can read their email in full below.

“As North Dakota senators, we uphold standards of decorum, decency, and respect within the walls of our chamber. Though each one of us is elected to represent our individual districts, in our words and by our actions, we each also represent the entire North Dakota Senate and the legislative branch. As President Pro Tempore, that is even more true. The leadership position you hold is one that carries with it even greater responsibility, professionalism, and judgment than that of being an elected official,” they wrote. “Your words and actions have negatively and unnecessarily drawn attention to you, our chamber, and this state and were unbecoming of both positions to which you were elected. We believe that collectively and individually, we play a role in holding one another accountable to the standards we have set for the Senate. As such, we support Majority Leader Wardner’s call for you to resign your position as President Pro Tempore of the North Dakota Senate.”

As the email mentions, Senator Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) has called on Larsen to step down from the position. He reiterated that position yesterday even after Larsen published his letter declining to resign.

If Wardner chooses to force the issue, he’d have the votes to remove Larsen. The Democrats would clearly be with him, and based on my conversations with Senate Republicans, I’m not sure Larsen has much support in his own caucus either.

Also, in related news, this was on the front page of the Bismarck Tribune today:

That’s not a good look for Republicans.

Interestingly, as I write this, I’ve yet to see a single article about this matter in Larsen’s hometown paper, the Minot Daily News, despite extensive coverage by other state and national media outlets.

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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