When it’s an election year in North Dakota we know at some point left wing interests will probably file some frivolous lawsuit to manufacture headlines, and that invariably these lawsuits will fail on their merits once the election is over.
The most notorious example is from the 2012 cycle when the Dakota Resource Council and the Sierra Club filed suit over donations, disclosed to the public, from people who work in the coal industry to then-Public Service Commissioners Kevin Cramer (now our Senator-elect) and Brian Kalk, both Republicans. The lawsuit suggested these contributions were illegal. Which, based on their argument, would mean it’s ok to donate to PSC candidates if they’re against building coal mines, but not if they work in the coal industry and are in favor of coal mining.
Throughout that election year Democrats used the existence of the lawsuit as a talking point to suggest that Cramer, who was running for his first term in the U.S. House, was corrupt. Cramer won the election anyway – so did Kalk – and after the election the lawsuit was dismissed by a federal judge.
In the 2016 election cycle an attorney with close ties to North Dakota Democrats – whose firm was involved in the aforementioned DRC/Sierra Club suit, in fact – made headlines by suggesting the Department of Mineral Resources had been destroying documents as a part of some cover up of misdeeds related to oil transportation. The accusations were touted by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Marvin Nelson, but we’ve heard little of these alleged misdeeds since the election ended.
This year, in the 2018 cycle, Democrats filed a lawsuit demanding that Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem withdraw from a multi-state lawsuit, initiated by Texas, challenging the legality of Obamacare. They touted that talking point throughout campaign season, claiming the suit would supposedly cost hundreds of thousands of North Dakotans their current insurance coverage – but now with the campaign over a district court judge smacked down their suit.
You can read his full order below, but this gives you the gist of just how pointless the suit filed by Democrats really was:
You almost get the idea that North Dakota Democrats make ludicrous legal arguments during election years in order to bolster their campaigns and smear their Republican opponents.
It doesn’t seem to work. Cramer won in 2012. Nelson lost in 2016. Stenehjem won in 2018, with almost 70 percent of the vote as it happens.
In 2020 we’ll probably see something similar to this. Democrats touting some legal argument about supposed Republican wrong-doing.
We should probably take the claims, when they happen, with a grain of salt.