North Dakota Democrats Have A Convention Speaker, But Still No Candidates


The North Dakota Democrats today announced a keynote speaker for their 2016 state convention. They got Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York to come and address a group of statewide delegates which will probably be not that much more in number than the 400 or so Republicans who attended the District 10 convention in rural Park River.

Meanwhile, the Democrats still have no statewide candidates for delegates to endorse at that convention. Which kind of seems like putting the cart before the horse, doesn’t it?

What’s the point of a political party without candidates?

Of course, the Democrats will have some candidates eventually. At this point in the 2014 election cycle they had two announced statewide candidates – Jason Astrup for Tax Commissioner and Tyler Axness for the Public Service Commission. The Democrats filled the rest of the candidate slots in March.

So, historically, I guess Democrats are only a little behind where they usually are. But how do all these late announcements translate into electoral success? They don’t.

In the 2014 cycle the top vote-getter for the Democrats – and the campaign they spent the most money on by far – was Ryan Taylor who was running for Agriculture Commissioner (and a seat on the Industrial Commission which oversees oil and gas development). He got 43 percent of the vote against Republican incumbent Doug Goehring who had faced a Farm Bureau-backed primary challenger and is, at the best of times, a not particularly inspiring campaigner.

It was down hill from there. No other Democrat in 2014 got more than 40 percent of the vote.

Serious candidates announce earlier than March in an election year. It doesn’t seem as though Democrats will have any serious candidates this year.