Democrats Pulled A Fast One On The Fargo Forum With Polling Story

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So yesterday left wing talk radio blabber Joel Heitkamp was pushing some polling results which showed that Fargo businessman Doug Burgum – a man Democrats really, really want to run for governor for various reasons – was positioned to win a statewide contest. It seemed to me a rather obvious ploy to try and lure Burgum into the race as an independent in order to split the Republican vote (Burgum is a long-time Republican fundraiser with socially liberal leanings).

The problem is that neither Heitkamp nor anybody else has released any data about the polling (the Forum ran with the polling without it, “Full results will be released to statewide media later this week,”reports Mike Nowatzki) and nobody knows much about the company behind the polling which is Telos Associates. We also don’t know who paid for the polling.

Well thanks to an email from Forum reporter Tu-Uyen Tran, things are a little clearer. Tran had written a story previously about some Telos polling on the Fargo flood diversion project, and when I asked him if Telos had ever made good on providing the data for the polling Tran told me they didn’t. This morning, though, he said he got a call from someone at Telos to clarify that issue a bit.

The person who made the phone call is what’s interesting. Here’s what Tran sent me in an email just a bit ago:

Rob, I just got a call from Todd Reisenauer at Telos Associates and he was wondering if I had trouble contacting him for that story about the MinnDak Upstream Coalition poll. It seems like we got our wires crossed a little when we talked and I apologize I wasn’t clearer.

As I told Todd, I actually didn’t call his firm. MinnDak was the client and normally the client controls the data so I called them and they were the ones that didn’t get back to me. Todd indicated he wouldn’t have released the data without MinnDak’s approval but added he would have released info about the methodology had I called.

So, ok, the MinnDak are the ones who didn’t get back to Tran on the polling, not Telos specifically. Consider the record corrected.

That said, the name of the guy who called Tran is interesting.

This Todd Reisenauer, listed on LinkedIn as the President of Telos Associates and also listed as the company’s registered agent, is a long time Democrat party activist who ran for the Public Service Commission on the Democrat ticket in 2014.

This means that the polling data, for which we have very little in the way of provenance, was produced by a firm controlled by a former Democrat candidate. Kind of an important data point for stories about this polling, no?

Maybe something Heitkamp should have disclosed? Maybe something the Forum should have ascertained before running a story on the polling?

Basically, Heitkamp and the Democrats manufactured some headlines for themselves using polling produced by a Democrat-aligned firm, and they got the Fargo Forum to fall for it. The Forum ran with the results as a news story without any of the actual polling data and without apparently even knowing the fact that the firm producing the polling was run by a Democrat activist and former candidate.