Forum editorial: ND Dems’ bench is empty
The conclusion among seasoned observers of North Dakota politics is that the Democrats have no bench strength when it comes to fielding statewide candidates. Or as one wag unkindly put it, "What bench?"...
The conclusion among seasoned observers of North Dakota politics is that the Democrats have no bench strength when it comes to fielding statewide candidates. Or as one wag unkindly put it, “What bench?”
With Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s decision to decline a run for governor in 2016, the Democratic-NPL Party’s only real political star will not be rising over Bismarck. Others who have a glimmer of star power also declined to challenge for the open seat. Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced a few days ago he will not seek re-election.
Among those begging off are former legislator and former USDA Rural Development director Jasper Schneider; former state Sen. Ryan Taylor, who ran two honorable, but failed, statewide campaigns for Public Service commissioner and ag commissioner; state Sen. George B. Sinner of Fargo, who was unable to unseat first-term Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer; and former Congressman Earl Pomeroy, who lost to Republican state Rep. Rick Berg of Fargo in what was described as a Republican “wave election” in 2010. All those well-known Democrats said they will not run for governor.
Not all is lost for Democrats. Popular (as measured by radio ratings) KFGO morning talk-show host Joel Heitkamp (brother of the senator) has frequently floated his own name as a candidate for governor. It’s too early to know if his “float” will sink or swim, but given the slim pickins’ among Democrats, don’t count him out. After all, the party has to endorse someone.
But at this point, it doesn’t take a partisan from either party to conclude the Democrats’ varsity squad is AWOL; and a JV team has yet to be recruited.
Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.