Like pretty much every election cycle for at least the last decade, 2014 was not a very good year for North Dakota Democrats. Not a single one of their statewide candidates won – including Jason Astrup who lost to Republican Tax Commissioner incumbent Ryan Rauschenberger after the latter spent a month of the campaign season in rehab. In fact just one of their candidates – Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Taylor – got over 40 percent of the vote, and he still lost by more than 14 percentage points despite enjoying by far the most financial support of any Democrat on the statewide ballot.
In the legislative races Democrats picked up one seat in the Senate. That’s it.
Republicans continue to enjoy a 2-to-1 majority in the state Senate, and and more than 3-1 majority in the state House, both chambers they’ve controlled for more than two decades.
But that’s not stopping Democrat Party Chairman Bob Valeu from giving himself a hearty pat on the back on the way out the door. It’s been widely rumored for some time now that Valeu, whose caustic style of politics at least made 2014 an interesting cycle, would be stepping down. Democrats made the official announcement today, really scraping the bottom of the barrel for nice things to say about Valeu’s time in charge:
“We’ve expanded our donor base, promoted a new generation of DEM-NPL leaders, and stood up to the overreaching of the Republican Supermajority. In fact, in 2014, a year when Democrats across the nation struggled, North Dakota was one of seven states where Democrats picked up legislative seats. We’re now seeing many of the policies we advocated in the 2014 campaign become part of the policy discussion.
“Because of this, I’m ending my tenure as chairman confident in our party’s future. And I plan to stay involved to help ensure that future.”
If there’s one thing we can be confident of, it’s that North Dakota Democrats aren’t going to find their way out of the political wilderness any time soon.
Valeu has, indeed, helped cement that future.