The North Dakota Democratic Party has sent out a third mailer in the Secretary of State race, again not touting their candidate Josh Boschee but rather a last-minute independent candidate named Michael Coachman.
Coachman styles himself a conservative but is on the ballot as an independent. Long-time incumbent Al Jaeger is also on the ballot as an independent, albeit one with a letter of endorsement from the North Dakota Republican Party, thanks to endorsed NDGOP candidate Will Gardner withdrawing from the race amid scandal.
You can see the front of the latest mailer above. The reverse side (with my personal information obscured) is below.
All of the mailers have included a disclaimer identifying the ad as paid for by the Democrats. So far the state Democratic party has ignored my inquiries about the mailer. Boschee, meanwhile, has claimed he doesn’t have knowledge of the tactic.
It’s a pretty dirty maneuver, though North Dakota isn’t the only place where Democrats have attempted it. In the Montana Senate race, where Democrats are trying to protect their incumbent Jon Tester, the party sent out a mailer promoting the Libertarian Party candidate in the race in the hopes that they could split the right-of-center vote and put Tester over the top.
In that state it backfired, however. Libertarian Rick Breckenridge withdrew from the race and threw his support to the Republican candidate Matt Rosendale.
I spoke with Coachman about the mailers, and he feels a bit conflicted about them.
“There’s two ways you can look at it. One, you can say they’re really doing it to split the vote,” he said. But he added that he really thinks “they want somebody that can cross all barriers, all the walls. As you know the Secretary of State’s office is a non-partisan position.”
Which is to say that Coachman thinks the Democrats might really want him to be the Secretary of State as opposed to Boschee who they endorsed at their state convention earlier this year, who won the Democratic primary vote in June, and who is on the Democratic ticket on the statewide ballot right now.