Democrats Have Three Native American Candidates For Statewide Office, Two For The Legislature

Here’s an interesting side note which may reveal something about the recruitment efforts of North Dakota Democrats this cycle.

Three of the statewide candidates are Native Americans.

Chase Iron Eyes of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe is already well known to SAB readers. He was endorsed at the party’s state convention earlier this month.

Imagine this for a campaign story lead: “In an unprecedented attempt by Native Americans to turn a rock-solid GOP state in a different direction, three tribal leaders are making a bid for statewide office this year in North Dakota.”

Ruth Buffalo of Mandaree filed at the last minute yesterday to run for Insurance Commissioner (incumbent Republican Adam Hamm is not seeking another term). She is a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes located on the Fort Berthold reservation.

Marlo Hunte-Beaubrun of Bismarck, meanwhile, is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. She will take on incumbent Republican Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.

In the legislative races the Democrats are running two Native American candidates that I’m aware of. Cesar Alvarez, who is seeking a House seat in District 4 (rural district largely west and southwest of Minot) is a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes.

David Gipp, former president of the United Tribes Technical College, is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. He’s running for the state Senate in District 34.

I apologize in advance if there are more Native American candidates for the Legislature that I’m not recognizing.

I wonder if the Democrats will look to make this one of the narratives of the election cycle. They’ve had little luck in getting traction against Republicans in recent years. Perhaps they’re thinking that a healthy dose of identity politics will help.

Imagine this for a campaign story lead: “In an unprecedented attempt by Native Americans to turn a rock-solid GOP state in a different direction, three tribal leaders are making a bid for statewide office this year in North Dakota.”

Sounds like something which could get some legs.

Keep in mind, too, that in the backdrop of this campaign cycle looms a lawsuit filed by Native Americans over North Dakota’s voter ID law, which they say suppressed the reservation vote.

That’s the sort of thing which could attract attention, and perhaps more importantly money, from progressives nationally. Which North Dakota Democrats need, desperately.

UPDATE: I knew I’d missed someone. I left out a Native American candidate for the state Senate. I’ve added him in.

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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