Native American Candidates Get Little Financial Support From North Dakota Democrats


Chase Iron Eyes speaks at the Eliot Glassheim announcement of his Senate campaign at the town square in Grand Forks, N.D. on July 14, 2016. (Meg Oliphant/Grand Forks Herald)

Last month the Democratic and Republican candidates for the U.S. House filed their pre-primary fundraising reports, and we learned that Democratic challenger Chase Iron Eyes was way behind Republican incumbent Kevin Cramer in terms of dollars raised.

On Friday both candidates filed their July quarterly fundraising reports, and it’s clear that Iron Eyes simply isn’t getting a lot of support from Democrats. Granted, he’s a Democrat running against a Republican incumbent in a deeply Republican state, but even compared to what past Democratic House candidates have raised at this point in the election cycle, Iron Eyes is way, way behind.

This graph shows fundraising for the last three Democratic candidates for the House in North Dakota through the July quarterly report of the election year:

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You can read the full quarterly FEC report for the Iron Eyes campaign below. The Cramer campaign’s FEC report is here. He reported raising $1,082,575.63 in the 2016 election cycle through the end of June, and ended the reporting period with no debt and $677,065.62 in cash on hand.

The FEC website didn’t show that Libertarian House candidate Jack Seaman had filed a July quarterly report. His pre-primary reported no fundraising.

Not only is Iron Eyes struggling to garner the sort of fiscal support it takes to unseat a mostly popular incumbent like Rep. Cramer, but he’s far behind the level of monetary support previous Democratic candidates have enjoyed at this point in previous political cycles. His campaign has a great deal more debt, too. Neither Pam Gulleson nor George Sinner had any campaign debt at this point in the election cycle.

Iron Eyes ended the July reporting period with more debt ($53,378.93) than cash on hand ($30,866.67).

This is all the more curious with Democrats running three Native American candidates for statewide office (including Iron Eyes), touting those candidates as outreach to the state’s Native American communities. “[W]e stand in solidarity with our tribes and want them to have better relationships between tribal and state governments, and this is an important way to do that,” North Dakota Democratic Party chairwoman Kylie Oversen said back in April.

But if these Native American candidates are so important to Democrats, why aren’t they getting financial support in keeping with what past (and white) Democratic candidates have received? The other Native American candidates on the statewide ballot are doing even worse than Iron Eyes. Marlo Hunte-Beaubrun, who is running for the Public Service Commission, reported having raised zero dollars in a pre-primary report filed in May, as did Insurance Commissioner candidate Ruth Buffalo.

You almost get the idea that Democrats don’t view these candidates as serious challengers worthy of their support.

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