MINOT, N.D. — Tuesday, June 14, is primary day in North Dakota, and in a normal political environment, it would mark the beginning of the election cycle in earnest.
Only, we live in North Dakota, and the Democratic-NPL is irrelevant, and the primary vote choosing the Republican candidates is the end of all meaningful competition.
Democratic and Republican candidates will advance to the November ballot, but many of the Republicans in legislative and even statewide races will campaign unopposed. Even where there are Democratic challengers, most of them don’t have a chance.
But there is plenty of competition in the Republican primaries, particularly in a number of legislative races across the state, but what most North Dakotans know about those races is the independent spending in them.
Gov. Doug Burgum has poured a mountain of his own money into messaging supportive of his preferred slate of legislative candidates. Another committee, the Brighter Future Alliance, has also made expenditures supporting/opposing candidates along those same lines, though North Dakota’s too-loose campaign finance reporting laws prevent us from knowing where that money is coming from.