Democrat George Sinner’s campaign against Republican incumbent Kevin Cramer has been, in a word, lackluster. Sinner didn’t bother to get into the race until March, and his fundraising has dragged. As of the last fundraising reports filed with the FEC, Sinner has raised just over $850,000 to the incumbent’s more than $1.3 million.
Of the six polls in the race only one – by the Mellman Group conducted on behalf of Democrats and sampling registered voters in a state without voter registration – has been positive for Sinner. The rest have shown wide leads for Cramer.
There’s been no indication that anyone, outside of political partisans, really thinks Sinner has a shot this race. But suddenly, Nancy Pelosi’s House Majority PAC has dropped almost $90k on ads attacking Cramer:
One of two things are possible:
First, maybe Democrats really think Sinner has a shot. It’s bound to be a weird election year. There was historically low turnout for the June election, and there are eight ballot measures which are getting more attention than the candidates creating some very weird dynamics. Maybe Democrats see something in the demographics of the voter turnout that they think Sinner can capitalize on. Or maybe this is a hail mary toss with a hope that, somehow, Sinner brings it down in the end zone.
Second, maybe Pelosi is playing the long game. Remember, members of the House have to be on the ballot every cycle. Democrats may be hoping that Sinner finishing within 5 points of Cramer will give him a running start at a second campaign in 2016, a year that’s looking to be a bit friendlier to Democrats. Also a year that many rumor will see Heidi Heitkamp on the ballot for Governor.
Of course, the risk is that Sinner gets closely associated with Pelosi, which isn’t something that will help him with North Dakota voters. The odds of success on the ballot for North Dakota Democrats increases dramatically the farther they distance themselves from national Demcorats.
Meaning this could backfire, though I’m guessing the ads won’t exactly be featuring Pelosi endorsing Sinner.