At one time, not too long ago, North Dakota was pretty evenly split between Democrat and Republican office holders. Even during the times when Republicans controlled state offices our congressional delegation was exclusively Democrat for about two decades. However, times have certainly changed.
George Sinner was the last Democrat to serve as Governor. He left office in 1992.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s our Congressmen were Republican. But in 1980 Mark Andrews decided to run for the Senate seat that fellow Republican Milton Young had held since 1945. From that moment in the 1980 election until 2010 our Congressman was a Democrat. First Byron Dorgan and then Earl Pomeroy.
In 1986 Mark Andrews lost his re-election campaign to Kent Conrad for US Senate, thus making our congressional delegation completely Democrat as the other Senate seat was held by Quentin Burdick since 1960.
Burdick died in Office in 1992. His wife finished off his last remaining months in office until the fall election where the rest of his term would be decided. Kent Conrad, who had decided against running for re-election of his own Senate seat, won Burdick’s remaining term and served alongside Dorgan, who had run for Conrad’s seat. Pomeroy was successfully elected to Dorgan’s House seat.
In 2010 everything changed. Pomeroy lost his seat in the House of Representatives to Rick Berg. Governor John Hoeven decided to run for the Senate seat held by Dorgan and beat out Democratic challenger Tracy Potter, making him the first Republican Senator from ND since Mark Andrews.
In 2012 Berg decided to run for the Senate seat held by Conrad, but surprisingly lost in a close race to Democrat Heidi Heitkamp. Personally, I think it came down to a personality contest between the two. There were just too many people who found Berg to be abhorrent compared to Heidi’s personable demeanor. Kevin Cramer helped the Republicans hold onto the House seat by defeating Pam Gulleson.
The current legislative session in the state finds Republican super-majorities in both the house and senate, with a 71 to 23 edge in the house (75%) and a 32 to 15 edge in the senate (68%). In fact, all offices up for state wide election (except Heitkamp’s US Senate seat) are held by Republicans.
This year the Democrats have had quite a bit of difficulty finding people to run for office. Things have gotten so bad that this year’s announced Democratic candidate for US House of Representatives is a convicted felon. Chase Iron Eyes was convicted of 4 felonies for breaking into a house in 2002. He’s since gotten his life together and become a lawyer, but you know there will be a lot of people, even from his own party, that will take a look at that conviction and say ‘Nope’.
As of now, the Democrats can’t even find enough candidates to run for all the offices available leaving several positions uncontested for the Republicans. I would say it’s desperation time for the Democrats in the state.
I’m hoping this lack of support among Democrats allows for some third party candidates to make strides in building a base. Personally, I’m supporting Libertarian candidate Jack Seaman for Congress. He only got 5.8% of the vote in 2014, but it was enough to get people’s attention. It’s not that I mind Cramer, I actually like him a lot, but I would prefer someone with a more libertarian mindset. Plus, he’s a friend of a friend.
After the debacle that the Democrats foisted upon us with Obamacare in 2009 I will never vote for a Democratic candidate again. That piece of fecal matter was the sole work of Democrats, not a single Republican in either the House or Senate voted for it.