1. Doctors spell out stress on hospitals: 'We North Dakotans are in crisis'
North Dakota's largest hospitals are facing a severe shortage of available beds as COVID-19 hospitalizations converge with strains on health care staffing and high non-coronavirus admissions.
There are just 12 available intensive care beds in the entire state, according to the latest figures reported by the North Dakota Department of Health. Most of the 195 open inpatient beds in the state are in rural hospitals, which often don't have the capability to care for patients with serious ailments.
Dr. Jeffrey Sather, the chief of staff at Trinity Hospital in Minot, put the problem in stark terms.
2. Why Trump's 2020 dominance in North Dakota signals long road for state Democrats
The fate of the 2020 presidential election was still hanging in the balance by Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 4, but President Donald Trump’s sustained appeal in North Dakota was clear early on election night.
While Trump’s wide victory in North Dakota came as little surprise to most viewers, it dashed Democratic hopes that the pandemic’s toll could put a dent into the president’s iron grip on the state.
In a record-breaking year for North Dakota turnout, Trump drew an even larger share of the state’s vote than four years ago. And Republicans expanded their majority in the state Legislature and chipped away at Democratic vote shares in comparatively liberal outposts like Grand Forks and Fargo. Of the states reporting final tallies on Wednesday, North Dakota broke for Trump over Joe Biden by a wider margin than all but three states in the country.
3. Defying North Dakota's attorney general, Burgum fills seat after candidate who died from COVID-19 wins
Gov. Doug Burgum has appointed coal executive Wade Boeshans to the North Dakota House of Representatives District 8 seat after voters elected a deceased Republican candidate to the office on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
The Republican governor's announcement Wednesday surprised the chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party and triggered strong objections from the state attorney general and the state Democratic party, which described the move as a "macabre power grab."
Burgum said that after "careful review" of the North Dakota Constitution, North Dakota Century Code and other sources, that it was the governor's job to appoint someone to replace District 8 candidate Dave Andahl, who died from COVID-19 in October. When Andahl died, it was too late for his name to be taken off the ballot.
4. Minnesota ag industry could feel hit with loss of Peterson in Congress
The defeat of U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson in the 7th Congressional District could have an impact on farmers in the state and the entire Midwest region.
Peterson is currently the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
Having a Minnesota congressman in the top leadership position on the committee typically brings attention to the crops produced in that region in terms of policies and farm bills, said Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union.
5. SD voters vote yes on medical marijuana, split on recreational marijuana
Medical marijuana appears to be well on its way to becoming legal in South Dakota, with 69% of voters approving Initiated Measure 26, as of 11:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3, among 304,889 votes.
Amendment A, which legalizes recreational marijuana, is still an open question, with 53% to 47% support among 303,826 votes.
Neither vote tallies include all results returned via mail.
The medical marijuana ballot measure would establish a marijuana program for patients diagnosed with serious health conditions upon the recommendation of their physician.