North Dakota Democrats are in rough shape so far in the 2016 election cycle.
With filings to put candidates on the primary ballot due today, the party is leaving four statewide offices unchallenged and, as of Friday, were also leaving about a third of legislative races without a candidate.
That’s some tough medicine for a party which came into the 2016 cycle promising to vigorously recruit young, exciting candidates.
Their candidate for the U.S. Senate is nearly in his eighties and missed a significant amount of time in the state House over the last two sessions due to health issues. He had to start off his campaign by assuring reporters that he was healthy enough for a Senate campaign. Their governor and lieutenant governor candidates are both widely respected and moderate state lawmakers, but look like Mister and Missus Santa Claus.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]In a state where the younger generation of Democratic politicians can best be described as smug, angry progressives beholden of a deep but unspoken resentment of North Dakota’s Republican proclivities, Delvo comes across as something different.[/mks_pullquote]
But there is one candidate Democrats are running for the state House which may be worth getting excited about. I’m talking about Brandon Delvo, an Iraq war veteran and farmer who is running for the state House in District 2 from Bonetrail (about 30 miles north of Williston).
Over the weekend the Williston Herald published a profile of Delvo, and he comes off as impressive.
In a state where the younger generation of Democratic politicians can best be described as smug, angry progressives beholden of a deep but unspoken resentment of North Dakota’s Republican proclivities, Delvo comes across as something different.
Someone more appealing to voters in this state. Someone who cares about issues. Particularly issues which might actually swing how a North Dakota voter casts his/her ballot.
Mind you, Delvo is a long shot. He is campaigning as a Democrat in a deeply red legislative district – according Minnesota State-Moorhead Political Science Professor Mark Johnson’s partisan index District 2 is the fourth most Republican area in the state – and so far he has no running mates. In North Dakota each legislative district has a Senator and two Representatives who typically campaign as a team. Delvo is the only candidate from District 2 to file so far for Democrats, and he’s up against a full slate of Republicans (the candidate filing deadline is today).
Also, we haven’t heard a lot from his campaign so far, given that we’re still fairly early in the campaign season.
But so far he is a deeply interesting candidate. A young military veteran with active ties to North Dakota’s agrarian roots and a moderate outlook on public policy.
This is someone Democrats and Republicans should pay attention to. Depending on how his campaign unfolds, he could be just the sort of candidates who could upset Republicans and turn the tide for Democrats.
Though how many of those sort of candidates Democrats could recruit remains an open question. As it stands, Delvo is an oddity among the state’s liberals.