By Rob Port | Watchdog.org North Dakota Bureau
LOPSIDED: Republican candidates on North Dakota’s statewide ballot hold a massive cash advantage over Democrats even when fundraising by the state political parties is factored in.
BISMARCK, N.D. — With North Dakota Republicans holding every statewide office on the ballot this year, Democrats were already facing an uphill climb.
A look at the campaign finances of the candidates indicates just how steep a climb it is. Collectively, the state Republican candidates and their political party hold a 584 percent campaign war chest advantage over Democrats.
A Watchdog.org analysis of campaign finance reports filed with the North Dakota secretary of state’s office and the Federal Election Commission show the seven statewide GOP candidates and the party itself have a combined $1.334 million cash on hand advantage compared to a little more than $213,000 for Democrats.
Those numbers represent reporting through May 1 for the state candidates and the political parties, and through March 31 for the U.S. House candidates.
Only one Democrat has a cash advantage over her Republican opponent, but it’s a small one. Secretary of state candidate April Fairfield reported a little more than $10,000 in cash and the end of the preprimary reporting period compared to Republican incumbent Al Jaeger’s stash of slightly more than $7,000.
The Republican with the most cash is U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, who reported more than $504,000 in cash on hand in his April quarterly report to the FEC.
His opponent, George Sinner, reported a little more than$33,000 in cash on hand.
For Democrats, Agriculture Commission candidate Ryan Taylor has the most cash in the bank, reporting an ending balance of more than $83,000 through May 1, though that’s significantly less than incumbent Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, who reported an ending balance of nearly $149,000.
Both parties have held endorsing conventions, and none of the candidates are facing challenges in the state primary election to be held in June. North Dakota’s at-large congressional seat, attorney general, secretary of state, tax commissioner, agriculture commissioner and two public service commissioners are on the ballot this year.
Here is a comparison of the cash totals for the candidates in each race: