The Midterms - North and South Dakota
7 weeks and 1 day until the Midterms! We continue our tour of small states with The Dakotas. (Though I'm sure they hate always being lumped together) Let's start with North!
North Dakota - Hillary's 3rd worst state! Still, there are some Democrats here.
While the Governor's race isn't until 2020, there are some state offices having elections this year. Namely, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Agriculture Commissioner, and State Tax Commissioner. All posts are currently held by Republicans, and have strong Democratic challengers.
In the Senate, our girl Heidi Heitkamp is up. Keeping her seat is absolutely crucial to Dems keeping control of the Senate. It doesn't matter how many times she may or may not have voted with Trump this year, when it counted (ACA repeal) she was with us! She has never deserted us when we had a chance to actually win a vote, she has only crossed over when we were already definitely going to lose. And at any rate, a somewhat reliable Dem vote is better than a 100% Republican vote. Heitkamp is our woman, and we need to fight for her. If you can donate money to her, great, money can go a looooong way in North Dakota. If we lose this one, we are not getting the Senate back this year.
For the House, this is another At-large whole state district. Its open, with the previous Rep running against Heitkamp for Senate. Obviously in such a red state, there is not a lot of hope of us getting this seat, but we do have a good candidate in Mac Schneider.
At the state level, half the State Senate is up. As with Wyoming, Dems only have 9 of the 47 seats. Here are some races to watch:
SD21 (Fargo): A Dem-held open seat, we need it to stay that way! Kathy Hogan is the nominee. This is the 2nd most Dem district in the state, but we can't take it for granted.
SD23 (New Rockford): Dem Joan Heckamun is running for re-election in a solidly Red district, she could use some support!
SD35 (Bismark): Erin Oban, same as 23.
SD41 (Fargo): Paula Thomas is taking on the Republican incumbent. Its a long shot, but its one of the slightly less Republican districts in the state, with a big turnout it might flip.
SD43 (Grand Forks): JoNell Bakke is taking on the Republican incumbent here. This district narrowly went for Obama in 2012, and while Trump did win it in 2016, it was one of his weaker districts. With a strong turnout, Bakke could definitely flip the seat.
State House: As with the Senate, Dems only have 13 seats out of 94, and half the House is up. Each district gets 2 Reps, and is the same as the Senate districts. Races to watch:
HD21 (Fargo): One of the Dem seats is open, LaurieBeth Hager is trying to hold it, and she has a good shot with this being a pretty solid Dem area.
HD27 (Fargo): Though this is a pretty red district, PCCC has endorsed Ruth Buffalo to try and flip one of the seats.
HD41 (Fargo): A split district with one Rep and one Dem incumbent, Brandon Mendenwald is trying to flip the seat. As with the Senate, its a long shot, but a big turnout could do it! He is endorsed by the PCCC.
HD43 (Grand Forks): This district has a Dem open seat and a Republican incumbent. Mary Adams and Matt Eidson are trying to hold and flip the seats.
North Dakota has a couple of interesting ballot measures. Measure 1 would establish an ethics committee, ban foreign campaign contributions, and limit lobbyists. This seems like an excellent and bipartisan idea!
Measure 2 would amend the state constitution to clarify that ONLY US citizens could vote in any election in ND. Of course, that's true now, but municipalities in other states have started allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections if they establish residency and the sponsors of this are claiming to want to prevent that in ND. Definitely seems to be an attempt to rile up anti-immigrant sentiment for the midterms.
Measure 3 would legalize marijuana recreationally in ND and expunge any previous marijuana-related convictions. This measure of course, in addition to being something I totally support, will hopefully spur liberal turnout (although increasingly Republicans are cool with marijuana legalization as well, and I welcome them to the team!)
Ok, so that's North Dakota, on to the South!
Woo! Its Hillary's 7th worst state! Still, SD has has Dems in the past, very notably former Dem Senate leader Tom Daschle. But those days are far away now.
Governor: the seat is open this year due to term limits. Its unlikely that Billie Sutton will prevail here, but he is going to give it his best shot! Most of the state constitutional offices are open as well, and again, we have good Dems candidates giving it their best shot.
No Senate race here, but the At-large statewide House district is open. Again, its quite an uphill climb, but Tim Bjorkman is a good candidate.
At the state level, the entire State Senate up! And Dems have 6 seats...so...time to get some more! Races to watch:
SD12 (Sioux Falls): Kasey Olivier is trying to flip this long shot district.
SD13 (Sioux Falls): Melissa Hiatt is trying to flip this district. This actually got LESS Republican from 2012 to 2016, so perhaps this district is not so into Trump and ready for some change!
SD14 (Sioux Falls): Getting closer to flippable here, this could be contentious in a wave year, Justyn Hauk is going all out!
SD17 (Vermillion): This district was fairly close in 2012, then swung a fair amount for Trump, let's see if Howard Grinager can bring it back!
SD18 (Yankton): Craig Kennedy is the Dem incumbent here, despite this being a really really Red district. Hopefully he can hang on!
SD21 (Burke): This Dem seat is open because Billie Sutton is running for Governor. Julie Bartling is running to hold it, and its suuuuuper Red so she's going to have a rough time of it.
SD26 (Mission): Dem incumbent Troy Heinert is running for re-election is this Obama-Trump district. Hopefully he can swing it back and hold the seat!
The whole State House is up as well. Dems only have 10 of 70 seats. Sigh. Like ND, there are 2 Reps per district, which overlap with the Senate. Races to watch:
HD1 (Britton): One of the Dem-held seats is open as Susan Wismer is running for Senate. H. Paul Dennert is looking to hold the seat. This district went for Obama in 2012, but swung hard for Trump, so we need good turnout.
HD7 (Brookings): There is a Dem open seat and a Republican incumbent here. This is a pretty split district that went narrowly for Obama in 2012 and narrowly for Trump in 2016. There is no reason we can't have both of these seats, with Dwight Adamson and Zachary Kovach.
HD13 (Sioux Falls): This is a Red district, but no so Red that it could survive a Blue Wave and one of the seats is open! Unfortunately we only have one candidate, but we can hopefully claim that open seat.
HD14 (Sioux Falls): Another Red but-no-too-Red district, we have 2 Dems running to flip both seats, Erin Healy and Valerie Loudenback.
HD17 (Vermillion): This district has one Dem and one Rep, so we need to hold the Dem seat and fight to flip the other with John Gors (Ray Ring is our incumbent)
HD21 (Burke): There is a Dem open seat in the reeeeeeeeally Red district, but hopefully we can keep it with either Faith Spotted Eagle or Anna Kerner Andersson.
HD25 (Dell Rapids): Another 1Dem/1Rep district, this is verrry Red so we should be happy just to keep Dan Ahlers, but BJ Motley is also trying to flip the other seat.
HD27 (Kadoka and Pine Ridge Indian Reservation): This is the 3rd most Democratic district in the entire state, last election went solidly for Clinton, and yet inexplicably has 2 Republican Reps! Peri Pourier and Margaret Ross are hopefully going to change that, but people need to turnout!
SD has several measures on the ballot, none of them terribly exciting or controversial, but they are mostly about good government, with one about a tobacco tax. I would particularly support Measure W, about campaign finance and and an ethics board.
Alright lonely Dems of North and South Dakota! Make your voices heard! #beavoter