North Dakota’s Legislature May Not Be as Conservative as You Think


If you listen to the gibberings of left wing commentators here in North Dakota you might get the idea that our state is run by an group of far-right extremists, but according to legislative ratings recently released by the American Conservative Union that doesn’t seem to be the case.

In fact, North Dakota’s Republican majorities in the Legislature are far more moderate than you might expect.

You can read the ACU’s full report below. In the Senate, Republicans averaged just a 57 percent score from the group. In the House, which is widely seen as the more conservative of the state’s two legislative chambers, Republicans averaged a 65 percent score.

That’s lower than the ratings legislative Republicans earned in Montana, Minnesota, and South Dakota.

Just two Republicans in the House earned the ACU’s recognition for “conservative excellence,” Rep. Rick Becker of Bismarck and Rep. Luke Simons of Dickinson.

No Senate Republicans earned it.

These ideological rankings can be problematic at times. Those compiling them assemble legislation on which to rank lawmakers, and those bills make up just a fraction of what lawmakers vote on. Still, as I run my eyes down the report’s overall rankings, they generally mesh with how I perceive the various lawmakers.

I think this is a good ranking, and it paints a picture of largely moderate governance.

Further to the right than our Democratic friends might like? Absolutely, but then most North Dakotans are to the right of Democrats on the ideological scale. In fact, I’d go so far as to argue that the almost unrelenting electoral success of North Dakota’s Republicans in recent decades has everything to do with those Republicans occupying the political center why the state’s Democrats have slid further and further to the left.

North Dakota’s Republicans are mostly moderates, and that’s why they mostly win.

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