In what is perhaps a testament to their weak field of candidates this year – including US House candidate George Sinner, but excluding Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Taylor – North Dakota Democrats announced that the apex of their state convention will be state Rep. Colin Peterson from right across the border in Minnesota.
Peterson, a long-serving and relatively conservative Democrat, is not exactly a dynamic speaker, and his address will come after conventions in which North Dakota Democrats have featured Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
States with competitive races usually draw national political stars to their events as a way to rally the base. While Taylor made the race for Agriculture Commission a lot more competitive than it was, it’s not the sort of race to draw a national Democrat luminary.
Democrats do seem to be doing better than Republicans in signing up delegates, though. Chad Oban, executive director for the Dems, says his party has about 750 delegates signed up to attend. Jason Flohrs, Oban’s counterpart at the NDGOP, told me this morning that his party has “over 500 delegates registered right now, with more “in process” and about 10 more days to register.”
That’s down a bit for Democrats, and down a lot for Republicans. In 2012 Democrats had just under 1,000 delegates, and the NDGOP had nearly 2,000.
Of course, 2012 was a presidential election year, and for the NDGOP there were a number of contested endorsement contests at the convention including five US House candidates (not counting Kevin Cramer who skipped the convention altogether and won on the primary ballot), two Public Service Commission candidates, and two Superintendent candidates. Ron Paul supporters were also at the convention in force to support their candidate’s presidential bid, swelling the NDGOP ranks.