Over the weekend a reader sent me some photos of a mailer sent out by the North Dakota Democratic party which was pretty clearly to look, at first glance, like an endorsement of independent Secretary of State candidate Michael Coachman. The colors and images used in the ad looked like it was a pro-Coachman ad, though the messaging described him as “too conservative for North Dakota.”
But now I just received my own Coachman-themed mailer from the Democrats, and in this one the Democrats aren’t even trying to be coy. The mailer is pretty much an explicit ad for Coachman, who is running against incumbent Republican Secretary of State Al Jaeger (on the ballot as an independent because of this mess) and Democrat Josh Boschee.
The mailer has a clear disclaimer identifying it as paid for by the North Dakota Democratic Party. It describes Coachman as the “real conservative” in the race, and derides Jaeger as “rejected by the Republican Party.”
Jaeger, as I noted above, is not on the ballot as a Republican because he lost an endorsement fight with Will Gardner at the NDGOP’s state convention earlier this year. But Gardner’s campaign flamed out amid scandal, and Jaeger put himself on the general election ballot as an independent with a letter of endorsement from the NDGOP’s executive committee.
Democrats are clearly trying to capitalize on that situation by splitting the right-of-center vote between Jaeger and Coachman. Which doesn’t speak highly of their confidence in Josh Boschee’s ability to win this race based on issues and ideas.
I contacted Boschee and the Democrats after receiving the first mailer. Boschee claimed not to be aware of the party sending these out. I didn’t receive a response to my inquiries sent to the state party.
You can see the back of the mailer above. The front is below with my personal information obscured.