“A teacher who almost got the North Dakota Republican Party’s nod to run for superintendent of public instruction harbors opinions and beliefs that should embarrass sensible Republicans,” opines the Fargo Forum editorial board today.
The operative word in that sentence is “almost.”
The candidate in question is Fort Totten teacher Joe Chiang who did outperform expectations at the NDGOP convention earlier this month, getting about 46 percent of the 1,359 delegate votes cast in the superintendent race. I suspect that percentage would have been lower had all 1,640 delegates seated that day voted in the race, but nobody was really expecting it to be that close.
I also think a lot of Chiang’s support had less to do with Chiang, who was relatively unknown to most of the delegates I spoke with, than it did with a deep dissatisfaction among certain factions of Republicans over the performance of incumbent Superintendent Kirsten Baesler in her first term.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]If Republicans should be ashamed of a candidate they did not actually endorse, should Democrats feel shame over a candidate they did endorse?[/mks_pullquote]
Since the convention we’ve learned more about Chiang. He’s got some zany ideas about Hitler and Obama’s birth certificate, and he was convicted for embezzlement 30 years ago.
Which are the reasons why the folks at the Forum thinks Republicans ought to be ashamed of Chiang.
“Republicans who supported Chiang at last month’s endorsing convention in Fargo should be scurrying for dark corners to hide their shame,” they write.
A couple of things.
First, these unsavory revelations about Chiang came after the convention. Delegates probably weren’t aware of them.
Second, and most importantly, Republicans didn’t endorse Chiang. He surprised some people by the number of votes he did get, but he did not win. He is not the NDGOP’s endorsed candidate. Nor is he likely to win on the June primary ballot.
Unlike another unsavory candidate, Chase Iron Eyes, who did actually receive the Democratic endorsement to run for the U.S. House and is running unopposed for their nomination on the June ballot.
Where Chiang has one criminal conviction on his record from the 1980’s, Iron Eyes was convicted of four felonies back in 2002, and I broke the story about those felonies before Democratic delegates voted on Iron Eyes’ endorsement.
Where Chiang has posted some crazy things on social media, Iron Eyes deleted his prolific social media postings shortly before launching his campaign, but didn’t quite get all his crazy positions off the internet. Like his kinda-sorta endorsement of armed occupation as a valid political strategy. Again, this was news before Democratic delegates voted.
If Republicans should be ashamed of a candidate they did not actually endorse, should Democrats feel shame over a candidate they really did endorse?