MINOT, N.D. — North Dakotans on the left side of the political spectrum have had a tough couple of weeks.
They’ve had to suffer through the uncomfortable spectacle of one of their candidates for statewide office, Travisia Martin, getting disqualified. The Democratic-NPL fought to keep Martin on the ballot, leaning on the goofy legal machinations of David Thompson, their candidate for attorney general last cycle, but ultimately they couldn’t out-maneuver reality.
Martin voted in Nevada in 2016. Unless she was willing to cop to casting an illegal ballot — a felony in that state — her vote means she was a resident of Nevada in 2016 and did not satisfy North Dakota’s five-year residency requirement for statewide office.
After the state Supreme Court cast Martin off the ballot, the Democrats tried to back a new candidate under a law that allows a political party to replace a candidate who cannot run because they died or became ineligible. This was another Thompson-organized performance, and it failed, too, because Martin could hardly stop being eligible for an office she was never eligible for in the first place.
The Martin debacle came on the heels of the Supreme Court also disqualifying a ballot measure making sweeping changes to North Dakota’s election laws. Billed, erroneously, as bipartisan, this was an attempt by left-wing interests, frustrated by a couple of generations worth of Democratic losses at the ballot box, to change the election rules making it easier for left-wing candidates to win.
There is a part of me that is disappointed this measure didn’t get crushed on its merits at the ballot box, but its organizers didn’t follow the law.
Do not despair, Democrats. You still have a very interesting candidate at the top of your ticket.
I’m talking about Shelley Lenz, who is taking on incumbent Republican Gov. Doug Burgum.