Earlier this year state lawmakers considered legislation, introduced by Rep. Scott Louser (R-Minot), which would have allowed those running for local political office to affiliate themselves on the ballot with a political party.
You can listen to my interview with Louser about the legislation here.
It wasn’t too popular among some local elected leaders, including Grand Forks City Council member Jeannie Mock. “I think part of the issue is that we all hold those local level seats and we ran as nonpartisan candidates,” Mock said during a council meeting back in January during which she brought up the bill. “That was something that was a huge factor in me deciding to run.”
“I don’t believe a letter by your name should define who you are,” is something she also said.
The bill was ultimately defeated, so local candidates will continue to be on the ballot without partisan affiliation, though that hardly stops them from affiliating with political parties in other ways.
Recently Grand Forks area Democrats have been advertising a fundraiser, and they’ve been touting Mock as a headliner:
That’s a curious turn of events for someone who was so adamant about not being affiliated with a political party earlier this year. It makes one wonder if Mock is really opposed to partisanship in local elections, or if she just wants to hide what would be her affiliation.
I reached out to her about this fundraiser, and she said her inclusion was a mistake.
“I am not planning to attend the fundraiser you mention in part because I think it is important for local seats to be nonpartisan,” she said. “I did receive a call about it but did not confirm attendance nor will I be going. Upon looking into things a little more Corey confirmed he was attending and they mistakenly included my name. Sounds like that has been corrected.”
Corey Mock is Jeannie’s husband, and a Democratic member of the state Legislature.
I leave it to you readers to decide if Jeannie would have attended, and headlined, the fundraiser had nobody made the connection between her inclusion and her earlier opposition to the legislation.
For my part, I think local candidates should absolutely be able to affiliate themselves with a political party in an official way. Many of them do anyway. Why not be transparent about it?