Port: Having lost the previous candidate to ineligibility, ND Democrats demand Supreme Court allow new candidate onto the ballot
The public has an interest in competitive races for public office, and I think we could all support reasonable efforts by the Democrats to find a candidate so that incumbent Republican Jon Godfread isn't left running unopposed. Unfortunately, Martin and the Democrats didn't choose that route.
MINOT, N.D. — Last week the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded something that was blindingly obvious back in May.
Travisia Martin, the North Dakota Democratic-NPL candidate for Insurance Commissioner, is not eligible to hold the office she was campaigning for. She voted in Nevada in 2016, and since voting in that state requires you to be a resident, she could not have been a resident of North Dakota then and, thus, has not been a resident of our state for the five years required to hold executive branch office here.
When I first reported on Martin's eligibility problems months ago, Martin and the North Dakota Democratic-NPL could have opted to acknowledge the problem and work on finding a way to get a new candidate into the race.
I think most of us could understand that sort of move. Democrats could have tried to nominate a new candidate or, barring that, could have organized a campaign around an independent candidate of their choosing as Republicans did with Secretary of State Al Jaeger in the 2018 cycle .
The public has an interest in competitive races for public office, and I think we could all support reasonable efforts by the Democrats to find a candidate so that incumbent Republican Jon Godfread isn't left running unopposed.
Unfortunately, Martin and the Democrats didn't choose that route. Instead they chose a quixotic tilt at keeping Martin on the ballot, despite clear evidence that she has no business being there. Only now that they lost that fight do they want the Supreme Court to make a dramatic, last-minute intervention to put a new candidate on their ticket.
A filing today with the state Supreme Court, on behalf of Democratic-NPL chairwoman and CBD oils saleswoman Kylie Oversen, asks the justices to order Jaeger to place Fargo resident Jason Anderson on the ballot as the Democratic-NPL's candidate for Insurance Commissioner.
"Over the past two business days — August 28, 2020 and August 31, 2020 — North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger has repeatedly refused to accept the filings by Dem-NPL Party Chairwoman Kylie Michelle Oversen of endorsement and nomination materials for Dem-NPL replacement candidate Jason Anderson for the Office of North Dakota Insurance Commissioner," the filing reads. "As such, Petitioners Jason Anderson and Kylie Michelle Oversen have been left with no alternative but to file with the Supreme Court the instant Petition fora Writ of Mandamus to compel North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger to accept and certify the candidacy of Dem-NPL Party nominated and endorsed Insurance Commissioner candidate Jason Anderson for inclusion on the North Dakota November 3, 2020 General Election Ballot."
In a news release announcing their filing , Oversen blames the North Dakota Republican Party for not suing to remove their candidate faster.
"In an oral argument hearing before the Supreme Court, it was observed that the NDGOP could have brought this lawsuit months earlier, but they delayed until the last minute tightening the timeline," she is quoted as saying in her party's release.
The release doesn't weigh in on why Oversen and her party didn't act back in May when it was clear that Martin wasn't eligible.
While, again, I think all reasonable people are in favor of competitive elections, it's hard to feel sorry for Democrats who did a shoddy job of vetting their own candidate and then took no action when evidence emerged showing their candidate was clearly ineligible.
I have no idea how the court will rule on this, but the timeline is tight. Ballots need to be printed soon to accommodate military and absentee voting.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at email@example.com .