ND Democrat criticizes gender, skin color of Republican candidates


By Rob Port | Watchdog.org North Dakota Bureau

RACE MATTERS: Kris Wallman, a Democrat candidate for state House in North Dakota’s District 11 pictured here with running mates Ron Guggisberg and Tim Mathern, criticized two male Republicans running in District 21 for being white and male.

FARGO, N.D. — A Democrat candidate for the state Legislature has criticized two Republican candidates in another district for their race and gender, but the Republicans say those things shouldn’t matter.

Kris Wallman, running for the state House unopposed in District 11, posted a comment on a Facebook page set up for District 21 Republican House candidate Robert Lauf’s campaign. “I believe the change we need is more balance, not a bigger majority of, quite honestly, Republican white guys.”

Lauf and his District 21 running mate Lucas Paper are white men.

In the comment, which was subsequently deleted but preserved as a screenshot by Watchdog, Wallman went on to praise District 21 Democrat candidates Mary Schneider and Kathy Hogan.

Responding to Wallman’s posting, Paper wrote on his own Facebook page that skin color and gender shouldn’t matter.

“Earlier today on my running mate Robert Lauf for District 21 House of Representatives’s page, a citizen posted a comment that we weren’t fit for legislature because North Dakota doesn’t need more ‘Republican white guys’ in Bismarck,” Paper wrote. “This post frustrated me – not because she doesn’t have a right to that opinion, but because that opinion embodies everything that’s wrong with politics today.

“Neither my gender, nor or the color of my skin have anything to do with my passion for our community,” Paper continued. “I can’t control those things, but I can control who I am as a person.”

In a comment to Paper’s post, which was also deleted shortly after being posted, Wallman wrote that she “did not mean to call your merits as a person into question” but that she will “stand by my commitment to a diverse legislative body.”

Wallman, who is on the ballot for the first time, is running alongside incumbent Rep. Ron Guggisberg and Sen. Tim Mathern, both white men.

This is just the latest in a series of embarrassing social media postings for state Democrats. On Oct. 8, state Rep. Gail Mooney, a Democrat from District 20 near Grand Forks, took to Facebook after seeing Rep. Kevin Cramer in a coffee shop in Bismarck, where she was attending a legislative committee meeting, saying the Republican made her want to take a shower.

During the 2013 legislative session Rep. Jessica Haak, a Democrat from District 12 near Jamestown, created controversy and headlines when she referred to House Majority Leader Al Carlson, a Fargo Republican, as a “Nazi” on Twitter.