Democrats have now officially gone into 2014 without a single official candidate for 2014. That’s bad news. In the 2012 cycle their House and Senate candidates – Pam Gulleson and Heidi Heitkamp, respectively – were both in the race by early November. Democrats not having a challenger to a Republican incumbent, in an incumbent-loving state that has been trending Republican for multiple cycles now, isn’t a positive development for them.
But it could be that Democrats are going to get a candidate this week. According to the Bismarck Tribune last week, state Senator George Sinner is planning on announcing his intentions soon.
“Fargo state Sen. George Sinner said he’s still considering a run for statewide office,” reported the Tribune. “He said he plans on making an announcement of his intentions sometime next week.”
That was on Sunday. Well, it’s now Thursday of “next week,” and no announcement so far, but maybe Sinner meant next week.
A search of FEC filings this afternoon showed no campaign filings for Sinner.
So, how would Sinner match up with Cramer in a race?
He’s got a little bit of name recognition going for him. Sinner shares a name with his father who was the last Democrat to be elected Governor of North Dakota, serving from 1985-1992, though that’s more than 20 years ago now. Sinner has also won one election himself, currently serving his first term in the state Senate.
Ideologically, Sinner is pretty far to the left. In our SAB vote ranking, he came in as the 10th most liberal member of the 47-member chamber.
After a year of bashing Rep. Cramer as too extreme for North Dakota, among other things, Democrats are going to get behind whoever ultimately ends up on the ballot. But a first-time state legislator, even with a recognizable name in state politics, can’t be their optimal candidate.
Not that Democrats have a lot of alternatives.
Update: A few readers have criticized me for not mentioning that Cramer does have a Libertarian Party challenger in Fargo businessman Jack Seaman. That’s absolutely true. I did an interview with Seaman which you can listen to here.