North Dakota Democrats Get Two Statewide Candidates UPDATE: Maybe Just One


Still no word on a challenger for incumbent Rep. Kevin Cramer at the top of the ballot, but it looks like North Dakota Democrats will get a couple of statewide candidates this week per Bismarck Tribune reporter Nick Smith.

It’s surprising to me that Democrats aren’t running candidates who are a bit more well-known than these two. Especially for Ag Commissioner, which is an office that comes with a seat on the Industrial Commission which, among other things, oversees permitting for oil drilling in the state. Given how the Democrats are attacking oil regulator Lynn Helms (who reports to the commission), and what they describe as lax regulation of oil activity in the state in general, putting up someone with pretty much zero name recognition and no electoral background (that I can find, anyway) may be an admission that they don’t expect to get much traction.

North Dakota Democrats have potential candidates with more experience and name recognition than these two. That they aren’t jumping into these races speaks volumes even despite the strong fundraising from Demcorats I wrote about earlier today.

Of course, these aren’t the party-endorsed candidates yet. More candidates could get in the race, but given how slim the Democrat bench is, that seems unlikely. These will probably be the names you’ll see on the ballot.

Doug Goehring is the incumbent Ag Commissioner, and last won election in 2010 with over 67 percent of the vote.

Ryan Rauschenberger was appointed last year to finish incumbent Cory Fong’s term after Fong took a job in the private sector. He announced strong fundraising numbers last month with over $134,000 raised so far.

Update: I’m being told that Estenson might not be a Democrat. I’m honestly having trouble finding people who have heard of her.

Update: Looks like I was all wrong about Estenson. She looks like an intraparty challenger to Goehring. I just got this from a start party insider:

Apparently ex Farm bureau head Eric Aasmundstad is behind getting Estensen to run against Goehring and also is contemplating a run against [Dave] Oehlke up in Devils lake for the senate.

Update: Just spoke with Aasmundstad. “I have absolutely no intention of running against my friend Dave Oehlke.”

He also said Estenen’s announcement tomorrow will be “very interesting” though he wouldn’t give any specifics.