“Democrats kick off convention today with most delegates since 2008,” reads the headline to this Mike Nowtazki article published last night. It is a preview of the Democratic state convention which begins in earnest today in Bismarck.
Party executive director Robert Haider fed Nowatzki some spin, I think. “Democratic-NPL Party Executive Director Robert Haider said 522 delegates are registered to attend the convention at the Bismarck Events Center, along with 60-some alternate delegates,” Nowatzki wrote. “That’s the most since 2008, when then-presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton spoke to an estimated crowd of 17,400 on the convention’s opening night at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. At least 950 delegates attended that convention.”
The thing is, registered delegates aren’t the same thing as seated delegates, which are the people who actually show up to the convention and participate.
Amy Sisk with the Bismarck Tribune reports from the convention today with the count of seated delegates, and it’s about half what Haider was touting.
“City Commissioner Nancy Guy touted Bismarck’s growth as she welcomed 252 delegates to the capital city early Friday afternoon for the 2016 North Dakota Democratic-NPL Conventionm,” she wrote.
That’s a really, really ugly number. I suppose Democrats could argue that it’s only the first day of their convention, and that tomorrow’s delegate might be more. Historically the party’s tend to put off competitive nomination contests, and those draw in the most delegates.
Except, the Democrats are expected to endorse their top-of-the-ticket candidates – gubernatorial candidate Marvin Nelson and his running mate Joan Heckaman – this afternoon.
I don’t think the delegate count is going to go up much.
I wonder if the Democrats are regretting picking college student and first-term state lawmaker Kyle Oversen as their party chair. The Democrats touted Oversen as someone who could make their party more energetic, and younger, and yet so far she’s not accomplished it.
Democrats are struggling to find candidates for both statewide and legislative races. The attendance at their statewide convention is truly abysmal.
As for a youth movement, this is who Democrats will have on the general election ballot for governor and lieutenant governor:
Heckaman and Nelson are both skilled and well-respected lawmakers, and actually quite moderate. But “youthful” is not a word you’d use to describe either.
Meanwhile, the Republicans are expecting around 1,700 delegates at their convention. The actual number of seated delegates will probably be a bit less than that, but it will still be a crowd in the multiples of what the Democrats drew.
In related news, in addition to presidential candidate Ted Cruz, Trump surrogate Ben Carson, and John Kasich surrogate Gordon Humphrey former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina (who is supporting Cruz) will also be at the NDGOP convention.
UPDATE: Their delegate count did increase:
— Rick Holman (@rickholm43) April 3, 2016