It may surprise you, given their dominance of elected office in recent years, but North Dakota's Republicans have some weaknesses heading into the 2018 election cycle. The top of the list of vulnerables has to be Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger. In the 2014 election cycle I was the first to report on the incumbent's struggles with alcohol addiction. Rauschenberger took a leave of absence from his elected position to seek treatment and returned, just weeks ahead of Election Day, to win by more than 20 percentage points.
Not so long ago Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Campbell’s campaign released polling showing the challenger ahead of incumbent Senator Heidi Heitkamp. There was much scoffing about the poll, as perhaps there should be for any survey conducted and released by a political campaign, but now new numbers from Morning Consult indicate there may be something to the Campbell numbers.
Any time a public official is involved in a criminal action before the courts, and gets a plea deal, it’s natural to wonder if there was any special treatment involved.
MINOT, N.D. — Senator Jeff Flake announced his retirement this week saying he doesn't feel there is a place for him in Donald Trump's Republican party. Even as he did so some of his Republican colleagues in the Senate — Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul — endorsed Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race to replace the seat vacated by current Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
In his campaign marketing, which has been hot and heavy here in the early days of the 2018 election cycle, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Campbell describes himself as a “conservative farmer.” Some have criticized that claim, pointing out that the candidate’s company, Tri Campbell Farms, has received a lot of money in subsidies from the government.
The Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control – you know them from their preachy, ubiquitous advertising as “BreatheND” – was an anti-tobacco state agency shut down by lawmakers earlier this year.
Last year I was talking politics with a Republican friend of mine, and noted with interest the number of Democratic voters Governor Doug Burgum (then a gubernatorial candidate) had drawn to the Republican primary ticket.
One of the luxuries of being a thoroughly marginalized and not terribly relevant political entity like the North Dakota Democratic Party is that it tamps down the amount of intraparty squabbling. When you don't have that many people in your party to begin with, when the struggle is to find candidates — any candidates — to fill spots on the ballot, it cuts down on the arguing. North Dakota Republicans have no such luxuries. A byproduct of their electoral success over the years is a sprawling party full of eager candidates anxious to campaign and serve.
Earlier this year I was the first to report that Border States Electric CEO Tammy Miller was considering seeking the NDGOP’s endorsement to run for the U.S. Senate. That would mean challenging Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp.
Ryan Rauschenberger, North Dakota’s Republican tax commissioner, is an extremely intelligent and competent man. A dedicated public servant. On a personal level, he’s a warm and genuinely nice person. Rare things in the world of politics. Which is why it’s heartbreaking to watch as he deals with alcohol addiction.