When you’re as thoroughly marginalized as North Dakota Democrats are, functions like the state convention become difficult. It’s hard to make a show of force when you have exactly one person who was elected on the statewide ballot. So, Democrats must resort to looking into their past for people to put on display at their convention.
This year, the erstwhile “Team North Dakota” – former Senators Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan as well as former Congressman Earl Pomeroy – will be in attendance. And you can even have a luncheon with them and current US Senator Heidi Heitkamp, as you can see from the email below.
But here’s an interesting wrinkle: These men aren’t representing North Dakota any more because of, at least in part, their votes for Obamacare.
Earl Pomeroy lost his 2010 bid for re-election to Rick Berg because of Obamacare. And, though they’d never admit it, I think it’s pretty clear that neither Dorgan nor Conrad ran again because they saw what happened to Pomeroy and didn’t want to go out like that.
Maybe it’s fitting that Democrats look to their past grip on the state’s seats in Congress, which was wiped out by Obamacare more than any other issue, because it’s a part of their future too. Their recently-announced US House candidate George Sinner is going to have a mountain to climb this year against incumbent Rep. Kevin Cramer because of Obamacare.
Heitkamp was able to buck the trend (barely) in 2012 by proving how much personality matters to voters (Berg, while fine on policy, was a cold fish on the campaign trail), but George Sinner is no Heidi Heitkamp.