North Dakota Democrats Continue to Struggle With Candidate Recruitment

Lois Delmore (D-Grand Forks) is not running for re-election in 2018. (Tom Stromme, Bismarck Tribune)

Over the weekend the North Dakota Democratic Party held conventions for the Grand Forks-area legislative districts.

It didn’t go well.

First, despite left wing U.S. House candidate Ben Hanson assuring us on Twitter that there was a “packed house” in Grand Forks…


…the Grand Forks Herald reports a crowd of only about 100 people. That’s for conventions covering three legislative districts in and around one of the state’s largest cities.

That’s not a very good level of participation.

Second, the Democrats found candidates for barely 50 percent of the legislative races the conventions were supposed to nominate candidates for. Those three districts represent three seats in the House and six seats in the Senate.

The Democrats found candidates for just 5 of those 9 races.

In Grand Forks. Again, not only one of the state’s largest communities, but also traditionally something of a bastion of Democratic political power in the state. You can argue that these legislative districts – 43, 19 and 17 – are already dominated by Republicans. That’s true. All of the seats in those districts have Republican incumbents except one of the House seats in 43 which is held by Lois Delmore, who is retiring. You can also argue that Democrats still have plenty of time to find candidates for these races, but they’ve played that game in past cycles dragging placeholder candidates into races they clearly aren’t prepared to campaign for.

It doesn’t work out well.

Just about all of North Dakota is dominated by Republicans. Democrats can’t expect to shift the tide of governance in our state unless they can recruit credible candidates who can articulate a persuasive argument to unseat Republicans.

I’m afraid, given this portent, our liberal friends are looking at another depressing election cycle with few gains.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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