MINOT, N.D. — Earlier this year, the state Supreme Court removed Travisia Martin, the candidate for Insurance Commissioner endorsed by the North Dakota Democratic-NPL, from the statewide ballot.
The reason? She voted in Nevada in 2016, something which, when done legally, requires one to be a resident of Nevada and not North Dakota. Yet North Dakota's constitution requires one to have been a resident of our state for five years to qualify for statewide elected office.
Martin was not eligible, yet both the candidate and the Democratic-NPL insisted on fighting the issue to the state Supreme Court.
They lost because facts are stubborn things. When the Democratic-NPL sued to get a replacement candidate on the ballot, the Supreme Court rebuffed them again. The rules are the rules, and the Democratic-NPL's incompetence in vetting their candidates is not an exemption.
Now, in a fit of pettiness that is only overshadowed by the hypocrisy on display, the Democratic-NPL insists that a Republican legislative incumbent, Rep. Terry Jones of New Town, is ineligible because he fails to meet the one-year residency requirement for the Legislature.
The Democrats, who suddenly care about this sort of thing, allege that Jones has been living in Wyoming, and they've filed a lawsuit to remove him from the ballot.
They look to be heading toward yet another loss.
Yesterday a district court judge, tasked with investigating Jones' residency by the state Supreme Court, found that he's a resident.
"Terry B. Jones has been a resident of the State of North Dakota for more than one year," Judge Frank Racek wrote in his report to the justices, "and will be a resident of the State of North Dakota for more than one year on November 3, 2020."
This same sort of report was issued before Martin was removed from the ballot. In that report, the court describes problems with Martin's case for residency that went well beyond her vote in Nevada. Martin claimed her passport was updated to her address in Bismarck in 2016, even though she didn't purchase that residence until 2018. The court asked Martin if she filed a tax return in 2015, and she claims she didn't. Martin didn't even obtain a license to drive in North Dakota until 2018.
Contrast that with the findings of fact in Jones' case. He's had a North Dakota driver's license since 2013 (he was first elected in 2016). He voted in North Dakota, and only North Dakota, in 2016, 2018 and 2020. He has filed income taxes in this state every year since 2015.
His cattle brand is registered in North Dakota. He has a concealed carry permit issued by North Dakota. His business has been registered in North Dakota since 2016.
The Democrats, acting out of pettiness and vindictiveness after being humiliated by the Martin situation, are asking us to believe that Jones' situation is equivalent to hers.
It is not.
The Democrats have wasted a great deal of time and created no small amount of political turmoil by merely refusing to be accountable for their incompetence.
The lower court's report on Jones' residency is not the last word in the matter. The state Supreme Court will weigh in soon with a final ruling. But it's hard to see what the Supreme Court will find that will obviate the facts established by the lower court.
Jones will stay on the ballot, and the Democratic-NPL will look foolish again.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.