Yesterday at 4:00pm was the deadline for candidates wishing to be on the June primary ballot. As we’ve chronicled here on SAB, North Dakota Democrats have struggled mightily with candidate recruitment. In fact, I took some ribbing from Republican legislators at the recent NDGOP convention who suggested that my posts about the lack of Democrat candidates forced them to scramble to find placeholder candidates before the deadline.
I don’t know what truth there is in that, other than that Democrats were scrambling. Whereas Republicans more than a week ago had a full slate of candidates in every district in the state with the exception of two – the very left-wing districts 9 and 11 – Democrats roped a dozen candidates into the race just in the last couple of days.
It’s a pretty ugly picture for the Democrats. They may have reduced the number of empty seats in their statewide slate of candidates, but how credible are many of these last minute candidates pulled into the race days and weeks after their local district conventions?
It seems Democrats worked particularly hard to find placeholders in the oil patch (including a couple of candidates who are clearly in the race because Democrats could find nobody else). They still left four races in oil patch districts unchallenged, but they at least avoided the catastrophe of having no candidates west of Bismarck. That would have resonated across every one of their races across the state.
You can’t campaign on oil development and impacts in North Dakota without a single candidate signing up for your platform in the oil patch. Not that a group of last-minute stand-ins is going to grant that platform a lot of credibility.
The full list of legislative candidates is below. Here’s how things stand the day after the deadline. Remember, there are 72 legislative races from odd districts on the ballot this year:
- 57 candidates
- 10 incumbents
- 15 races unchallenged
- 4 oil patch races unchallenged
- 7 districts without a full slate of House and Senate candidates. including three districts with no candidates at all
- 66 candidates
- 49 incumbents
- 6 races unchallenged
- 0 oil patch races unchallenged
- 2 districts with no candidates