Port: Grand Forks Democrats pledged to boycott Facebook ads over hate speech, then apparently took the pledge down when one of their candidates bought a Facebook ad

MINOT, N.D. — On June 28, the District 42 chapter of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL posted a pledge on their Facebook page to boycott Facebook ads during the month of July.

"Facebook has shown that in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and so many others, they idly have allowed their platform to incite citizens to violence against protesters, against their fellow citizens in the streets fighting for racial justice in America," the post read.

"Therefore, for the month of July, District 42 will not purchase advertising services on Facebook," the post continued.

The pledge was contemporaneous to a national campaign pressuring advertisers to refrain from running ads on Facebook over the platform's content policies.


EMBED: District 42 ND Dem-NPL Facebook pledge

On July 10, however, a Democratic-NPL candidate for the state House of Representatives in District 42 began running Facebook ads promoting his campaign.

"We're fighting for economic, social, and racial justice for North Dakota - including a livable minimum wage without exemptions, universal healthcare, truly affordable housing, and paid sick and family leave for ALL workers," Adam Fortwengler's ad reads, linking to his Facebook campaign page. "Like our page to learn more about what we're fighting for. Will you join us?"

According to Facebook's political advertising database , the ad was paid for by Adam Fortwengler for North Dakota House and began running on July 10.

According to Facebook, it has a potential reach of 50,000 to 100,000 people.

EMBED: Forwengler Ad

Fortwengler's ad sure seems to be a departure from what the District 42 Democratic-NPL pledged back in June. I reached out to both the candidate and the district party for an explanation, but one doesn't seem to be forthcoming.


In fact, it seems the District 42 Democratic-NPL would rather we forget their pledge even happened.

I sent the party a message on Facebook at 10:52 p.m. central time Friday. Facebook recorded it as read at 10:53 p.m.

As of Saturday morning, the June 28 pledge to boycott Facebook advertising no longer appears on District 42's page. I also haven't received a reply from the District 42 party.

I attempted to contact Fortwengler on the phone number listed for his campaign on Facebook but received no response. An email to his campaign, and a Facebook message, have also gone unanswered.

District 42 is currently represented by Republicans Curt Kreun (Senate), Emily O'Brien, and Claire Corey (both House).

In addition to Forwengler, Zachary Tomczik is also running for the House for the Democratic-NPL. They're joined by Melissa Gjellstad, who is campaigning for the Senate seat.

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Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at .

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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