Ralph Kingsbury: ND Democrats Have A Shot At Winning Ag Commissioner, Secretary Of State


The primary election in North Dakota is June 10th. The general election is November 4th. North Dakota is going to elect a U.S. Congressman, an attorney general, the secretary of state, a secretary of agriculture, the tax commissioner,  two public service commissioners (one is to complete a partial term due to a resignation when Cramer got elected to the U.S. Congress. ), and half the North Dakota House of Representatives, and half the Senate.

There are three measures to vote on. Measure One is another anti-abortion measure. In North Dakota we need to keep telling the courts and the U.S. Congress that we mean it. That is, we say what we mean, and we mean what we say. Regardless of your feelings or beliefs, in North Dakota the majority of the voters are against abortion in the most conservative posture. If you don’t believe that just ask my friend, former Senator Curtis Olafson. This measure will pass overwhelmingly.

Another measure would set aside a certain percentage of the oil revenues to be used to develop “conservation” programs across the state. Of course many, including me, believe that these types of measures should be decided by the state legislature, not by a vote of the electorate. I believe this measure will fail and by a substantial margin. Still…well, there is the history in Minnesota.

Finally, the third one replaces the current governance structure of the higher education system in North Dakota. If there is an issue that deserves the reaction they are receiving it is higher education. That being said, and space being limited, I hope, and I believe, the measure fails. If and when that happens I hope, and I really want to believe that the legislature will pass and the Governor will sign legislation that will make a serious attempt at addressing the problems.

The first should be that the Roundtable is done away with. The second is that the Board will define the University system and they will hire a qualified Chancellor. That should be the interim candidate they turned down. I listened to those interviews and, and the danger of my endorsement being the kiss of death for him, I will say there is no need to go out of state to find a chancellor, nor to hire anyone else. They have the man waiting in the wings.

Finally, there is the election for the constitutional offices and the legislature. I don’t have the space or time to discuss each office, nor do I think I am particularly qualified to tell anyone my opinions. However, I have the pen, and I am going to say this:

The Democrats have a real shot at winning the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Agriculture positions. In the Secretary of State position it is not that their candidate is so good. In fact, the candidate draws no strength that I can see. It is simply that there is enough of an opinion that time has out-run the incumbent. If there is a place for a change it is here.

Secretary of Agriculture is a different situation. Ryan Taylor is the Democrats only real strength, and if you know him even to the limited degree that I do, you would understand why he has that strength. Nice guy, Knows what he is talking about. Would represent the state well.

Again, I won’t go into all the details, but Taylor’s biggest chance will come because the Republicans have suffered too much success. Time is on the Democrats side and they have an attractive candidate. First the incumbent, and then the Republicans shot themselves in the foot. I hope that after the election Taylor has the politeness to send the North Dakota Farm Bureau a thank you note. It might arrive at the same time as my membership resignation.

Finally, after the 2012 election I heard an election prognosis for 2014 saying that the Democrats greatest chance would be for the U.S. House seat. Cramer’s strength came from the electorate, not the Republican powers that be. Well, those weren’t the analyzers words, but they are what they amounted to. Boy was he wrong. The best the Democrats could do was a son of a former governor who had served one session, not even term, in the state senate. No record, nothing special about this guy, and we want to send him to Washington?

So, in summary, the Republicans will still control the house and senate. The senate because the math makes it impossible for the Democrats to win a majority. The house because the Democrats have too many uncontested seats, and their anti-oil campaign has nothing behind it. Until they learn to go back to conducting a positive campaign it will be a ho-hum, ho-hum era in North Dakota. The Democrats only wins will come from Republican mis-steps and in-fighting.

Every once in a while there will be a real politician who will rise up and punch the Republicans in the nose. Two years ago her name was Heidi Heitkamp.