While in Denver for the DNC convention, I had a couple opportunities to visit with Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga, the founder of DailyKos.com. Markos knew North Dakota was in play but he noted our state has kept below the radar fairly well. He really wanted to know more about what's going on here and asked me to give him a "lay of the land." While we talked, Rick Spisak of AveryVoice.com was shooting video of at least part of our conversation. Next thing you know... it's on YouTube.
Over the course of the week I've gathered information from various sources and wrote up an e-mail to Markos. I sent it off and Kos has since asked me to post the info here. Here goes:
The population of North Dakota is about 650,000. To the extent you want to believe what you read on Wikipedia, North Dakota's largest City is Fargo with about 100,000 people and a metro area of about 195,000 people. The state's two main political parties are the Republican Party and the Democratic-NPL (Non-Partisan League) Party. The NPL has a rich history going back to the early 1900's and generally relates to prairie populism with a smattering of socialism We're the only state with a state-owned Bank and a state-owned Mill and Elevator. Every now and then a Republican will call the Democratic-NPL party "Marxists" or "Socialists," but, strangely, nobody here -- not even Republicans -- ever talks about getting rid of our socialized bank or mill and elevator. It's kinda funny.
North Dakota's congressional delegation is made up of two Democratic-NPL Senators (Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan) and one Congressman (Earl Pomeroy). Conrad and Dorgan are considered fairly progressive Democrats, though both are also considered to be fiscal conservatives who aggressively monitor our nation's purse strings. Many Democrats here and elsewhere feel Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and known for his attention to detail and his use of charts, voted wrong on FISA and the confirmation of Sam Alito, but also, significantly, feel he voted right on authorization of the use of force in the war in Iraq. Dorgan, author of Take This Job and Ship It, chairs the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and is chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee. Both senators are very popular here. Neither is on the ballot this year. Pomeroy, who serves on the House Ways and Means and House Ag committees, is a "blue dog" who, again, many disagree with his position on FISA, but he is incredibly accessible and popular. His seat seems secure in a race against a Republican opponent who doesn't even seem to have the support of the leadership in his own party.
Yesterday Xavier Cromartie at the Daily Kos pointed out the importance of North Dakota (and Montana) in the November election. Cromartie points out that our three electoral votes could be the difference between an Obama presidency and a McCain presidency. Cromartie calls for help in registering voters here, but that reflects a common misunderstanding about North Dakota's landscape. See (for those of you not from here), North Dakota is the only state in the U.S. that does not have any form of voter registration. Any citizen who shows up with a driver's license or other statutorily acceptable proof of residency is allowed to vote. And we have the usual HAVA ability of voters to vote by provisional ballot if there is some question about eligibility too vote, though – as usual – a regular ballot is always preferred. So voter registration doesn't help us. What North Dakota needs isn't voter registration. What North Dakota needs are (a) better small-donor fundraising mechanisms and (b) stronger down-ticket campaign operations. These two obviously go hand in hand. I'll try to explain why these things are important.
Many North Dakotans -- including leadership and top candidates for both Democrats and Republicans -- favor hunting rights and favor reduction in the numbers of abortions. North Dakota's white, homogenous population is Norwegian-Lutheran and German-Catholic, religions. Our fundamentalist Christian friends and neighbors are doing a fine job of populating our state. The movie "Jesus Camp" was about a fundamentalist bible camp right here in North Dakota. Our Native American population -- and our Indian Reservation counties -- lean strongly Democratic. At a parade yesterday in the state's capital of Bismarck, it seemed as though every other parade entrant was carrying a sign that said "First Americans for Obama."
Photos Courtesy of JL
Our Republican Media
The Democratic-NPL party in North Dakota, over much of the past 20 or 25 years, has been unheard and unseen. Republicans hold all of North Dakota's statewide elected offices except for Agriculture Commissioner, an office held by Roger Johnson, a Dem-NPLer. Republican Governor John Hoeven polls higher than any other governor in the nation, with approval numbers occasionally bumping up to the mid to high 80s. Hoeven gets a free pass from the state's largest newspaper outlet – Forum Communications, Inc., which owns 4 or 5 of the state's largest daily newspapers (Fargo Forum, Grand Forks Herald, Jamestown Sun, Dickinson Press, and the Pioneer Journal of West Fargo [which may be a weekly, I'm not sure]) and TV stations in four of North Dakota's largest cities. Forum Communications is owned by the Marcil family. Bill Marcill is said to be a very close, personal, long-time family friend of John Hoeven's father, a wealthy banker in Minot, North Dakota. This relationship is clearly reflected in the pages of Forum newspapers and on the Forum-owned TV stations. Forum Communications had at least two (2) reporters at the RNC convention in St. Paul after having exactly zero (0) writers at the DNC convention in Denver.
The Bismarck Tribune – likely the state's next largest newspaper – is owned by Lee Enterprises. You may know that Lee Enterprises is sucking air right now, with stock prices plummeting and no bottom in sight. The Bismarck Tribune's editorials lean far to the right and support Democratic-NPLers only half-heartedly and only when they "have to" to give an appearance of objectivity. Otherwise, Tribune writers and editors are almost never critical of Hoeven or any other Republican. Not only that, but they are critical of anybody who dares to be critical of their pal Hoeven, Republicans, GOP policies and/or their scandals. North Dakota's TV and radio is pretty disappointing, too, having last engaged in hard investigative journalism during the Eisenhower administration.
Because of this imbalance in media coverage and scrutiny, the Dem-NPL candidate for governor -- Senator Tim Mathern -- doesn't have much of a chance to beat Hoeven unless some Hoeven-related scandal is uncovered. If such a scandal is uncovered, don't look for it in any North Dakota newspaper or on radio or TV until after it shows up on NorthDecoder.com. That is just our reality.
North Dakota's Republican Legislature
Until 2 years ago, Republicans held a super-majority in both houses of the North Dakota legislature. Their majority was strong enough that they could override a veto without the help of any Democrats, and could (and did) basically ignore the Democratic-NPL caucus, sometimes even going on the offensive against Democratic-NPLers to "put them in their place." The right-leaning media in North Dakota has also largely ignored the Democratic party, primarily interviewing them in response to controversial Republican proposals, and then portraying their responses as "whining."
Things changed a little leading up to the election in 2006. The North Dakota Democratic-NPL party had hired a communications director. Somehow -- mysteriously -- Democrats started getting their message out. There were press releases, media advisories, letters to the editor, press conferences and constant contact between the party and reporters and editorial staff all over the state. Instead of always playing defense, the party started playing some offense. This blog -- NorthDecoder -- showed up, too, and started to show the state's major newspapers what investigative reporting looked like. Suddenly -- mysteriously -- Republican scandals started to show up every now and then. Unfortunately, the party lost its communications director a few months ago and has failed to replace him, noting "other priorities." If North Dakota Democrats don't do well in November, this will be one of the big reasons why.
Today Republicans hold 26 seats to Democratic-NPLers holding 21 seats in the state Senate. If Democrats pick up three (3) senate seats, they will have a majority in the state senate. Some Senatorial districts look very available to the Democratic senatorial candidates.
Across the hall in the state capitol, Democratic-NPLers are outnumbered 60 to 33 in the House of Representatives. It would take a modern miracle for Republicans to lose that majority in November of 2008. DakotaPolitics.com has a good breakdown of the current legislative status here: http://www.dakotapolitics.com/legis_2007.
In the 2006 election the Dem-NPL picked up more legislative seats (by percentage) than any other state party picked up in any other state legislative body. Here's an excerpt of an analysis written by North Dakota's former DemNPL executive director, Jim Fuglie, right after the 2006 election:
Tuesday's election was a bit unusual [ ]. There were a total of 51 incumbent Legislators on the ballot Tuesday, and 11 of them lost. 40 were re-elected. About 80 percent. Interestingly all 11 were Republicans. No incumbent Democrat lost (okay, to be fair, the GOP had a lot more incumbents running than we did, but still . . .).
So if you get elected to the Legislature here in North Dakota, the odds are at least 4 in 5 that you will be re-elected. So these people get to know each other, become friends, and there's much less acrimony in the Legislature than most other places, I think.
There will be an unusually high number of new Legislators in the capitol this winter, however. Because of retirements and the 11 Legislators losing, there will be 23 new Legislators in the next session. Sixteen of them Democrats and 7 Republicans (Oooohhh, it was fun to write that).
It can be expected that the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party will target senate seats in districts like District 42, a university district in Grand Forks, where there were no legislative races (because even numbered legislative districts didn't have legislative races) in 2006 but where Democrats won every statewide race in 2006 except for the A.G.'s race in which a former Grand Forks legislator, Wayne Stenehjem, avoided the scandals he's been unable to avoid since. There were similarly Dem favorable results in District 42 in the 2008 Primary and there are strong Dem-NPL candidates running for all three legislative seats. District 18, also in and around Grand Forks, is another example of a district where Democrats did well in 2006 and have some hope of picking up legislative seats. District 18's numbers also looked pretty good for Democrats in the 2008 Primary. There are other districts where Democratic legislative candidates are hoping to find supportive voters.
During the past 18 months or so, North Dakota's Republican Party leadership has been plagued by scandals relating to our Workers Compensation Bureau (Workforce Safety and Insurance [WSI]). Our current WSI scheme has been constructed over the past 15 to 20 years by Republican legislators, with the support of our Republican governors, to provide kick-backs in the form of "dividends" and "safety grants" to big business and Republican-friendly organizations. The Exec Director -- recruited out of the fall-out from Ohio's workers comp scandal -- resigned amid his own various scandals (e.g. criminal charges relating to alleged misspending of public money, etc.) earlier this year and the Chairman of the Board also resigned when the newspapers could no longer ignore the scandals being exposed here on NorthDecoder.com in a blog post I entitled "Why Bob Indvik Should Resign." The E.D.'s criminal charges were dismissed by a district court judge, appealed by the prosecutors to our Supreme Court, the dismissal was reversed and the felony criminal case is still pending. The former board chairman avoided criminal charges probably by resigning from the board, his county government job and by moving some money around in a way that might also have been illegal. Both of these Work Comp resignations -- and an assortment of other departures from WSI -- happened, in part, because of public records exposed here on NorthDecoder.com. The State Auditor's Office is currently looking into another issue that could potentially blow the lid off a multi-million dollar illegal government handout shrouded in secrecy by Republican-favored exceptions to our state's open records laws.
Many are expecting a report from Republican State Auditor Bob Peterson laying out the problems with the program, but the word on the street is that State Auditor Bob Peterson (R) is being pressured by the Governor and the Attorney General to stall the report or to water it down for obvious (and some not-so-obvious) reasons. After decades of holding most of the statewide elected offices and supermajorities in the legislature, more than anything else, North Dakota's Republicans are afraid of being held accountable.
One of the many victims of North Dakota's WSI scandals is Jim Long. Long was a top-level official at WSI. He blew the whistle on the corruption he witnessed and, along with three other insiders, Long was fired after seeking whistleblower protection. Long is running for a state Senate seat in District 14, is working hard to replace his entrenched opponent and is working hard for small donations to help his campaign.
Another Republican party scandal involves our former Insurance Commissioner, Jim Poolman (R), who resigned about a year ago and went to work in the insurance industry after lobbying for legislation that was beneficial to one particular New York company called Inscap. I broke this story on NorthDecoder.com and the state's media -- though they read this website every day -- knew about it but ignored it for months but eventually picked it up when out-of-state news entities started covering it. An Inscap executive and the exec's wife donated something like $35,000 to Poolman and the ND GOP during the period of time when Poolman was lobbying for the pro-Inscap legislation in North Dakota and as a model law supported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Poolman resigns and... guess who he goes to work for!!!
The NAIC has since enacted a watered-down ethics rule purporting to stop state regulators from doing what Poolman did. I like to call the new rule "the Poolman Rule." Poolman's Governor-appointed replacement -- a political newcomer/hack -- was caught, recently, abusing federal dollars to produce and broadcast "public service announcements" to elevate his name I.D. in T.V. and radio ads. The states' TV stations have agreed to give his opponent, Jasper Schneider (D), equal time under the FCC's "equal time" rule. Schneider, a strong Dem-NPL legislator is using that "equal time" but -- unlike the Republican -- he can't use tax money to pay for his ads. Schneider has to raise money to catch up. Aside from the taxpayer money he's spending, the Republuican's campaign is being bankrolled, primarily, by Poolman's insurance industry buddies and by the Republican's parents.
The Cost of North Dakota Campaigns
Political campaigns in North Dakota are relatively inexpensive. The word I get from inside the Dem-NPL party is that the average state legislative campaign runs on a budget of about $8,000 to $12,000 per candidate. An incumbent's race in a rural area might be a little less expensive than that, but in bigger towns an aggressive challenger's campaign might cost $40,000 or $50,000. A legitimate challenger's statewide campaign will cost at least $100,000, and probably twice that. Entrenched Secretary of State Al Jaeger (R) was able to win his re-election two years ago after reporting only 18 donors totaling $16,400 in contributions. Radio and TV ads are relatively inexpensive here, compared to many other states. Compared to other states, North Dakota is a cheap place to run a campaign. Democratic-NPLers here haven't done very well at tapping into small online contributions so far, but they've told me they're working on that. If the party did better at small-donor fundraising, it would help deflect the big criticism the party gets from right-wingers; that the party has historically gotten much of its operating budget from donors whose contributions come through our federal congressional delegation. Without more small dollar donations, the party will continue to depend on the congressional delegation. Political contributions under $200 don't have to be reported in North Dakota. The party accepts small donations -- $5, $10, $20 and up to $200 -- online.
Polling and other recent N.D. info regarding Obama/McCain:
Sept 1, 2008 – Last weekend, the North Dakota United Transportation Union (UTU) released data from its recent poll showing Obama leading in North Dakota, currently, by 3 points, with a margin of error of +/- 5%. I received the press release as I was typing this summary to you. (I can forward it to you if you're interested.) Governor Hoeven (R) leads in the poll by 63% to 19% over state Senator Tim Mathern, a long shot.
Aug 25, 2008 – Jamestown Sun – McCain seems to have abandoned North Dakota's Republicans, having announced he will not open any offices in North Dakota. (click here). By comparison, Obama's campaign has announced it intends to have 12 offices opened in the state by October 1st, in 11 towns/cities, including 2 offices in Fargo. The smallest town on the list of likely Obama office towns in October is Linton, a great little town in southcentral N.D. with a population of about 1,300. Five of the nine currently opened offices had their Grand Openings this week.
July 10, 2008 – Rasmussen Reports – "North Dakota is as safe a Republican state as any in Presidential elections. George W. Bush carried the state by twenty-seven points in Election 2004 and twenty-eight points four years earlier. The state has voted for a Democratic Presidential candidate just once since 1936 and three times since 1916. Despite that history, John McCain and Barack Obama are tied in the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of North Dakota voters. Both men earn 43% of the vote. When leaners are included, McCain holds a statistically insignificant one-point advantage, 47% to 46%" (Click here )
July 2, 2008 – NorthDecoder.com – at a 4th of July picnic (on July 2), Sen. Kent Conrad spoke. During his talk, Conrad said internal polling numbers were, at that time, showing Obama leading in North Dakota by 1%. (Click here ).
Mar 6, 2008 – Survey USA – North Dakota 3 electoral college votes McCain – 42% /////// Obama - 46% 3 EC votes for Obama.
North Dakota is in play, but it will take a lot of work and some new financial support and some state party legwork to turn the state blue. The Obama campaign is doing great work. They have a solid team on the ground here and are building and growing every day. The Obama campaign organized fifty-nine "watch parties" for Senator Obama's acceptance speech in Denver, compared to the McCain campaign's four. There are currently 1,000 active volunteers working for the Obama campaign and -- with no offices -- one could guess there aren't 20 McCain volunteers in North Dakota.
The real question in North Dakota isn't whether the Obama campaign can do the job (yes, they can); the question is does the the rest of the Democratic Party here have the resources to provide the foundational support the Obama campaign needs. That remains to be seen.
You may have seen the letter about Sarah Palin written by fellow Wassiliak Anne Kilkenny that's making the rounds. You really need to read the whole thing, but here's an excerpt:
Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000 (at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about 670,000 residents.
During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.
Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.
The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later–to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.
While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once.
When I first heard the snippets of information about Palin that the Republicans were jamming down the mainstream media's throats, I thought maybe her greatest attraction for the "real" republicans out there would be her credentials as a so-called "fiscal conservative." Sure there's the "gun nut" appeal and the "hot for teacher" appeal, but I thought those two pools of voters were fairly shallow. It's the fiscal conservatives that concerned me. Fiscal conservatives don't like McSame, but they might still vote for him because of Palin.
I'm not concerned about them anymore. The "real" conservatives will see how she irresponsibly ran up Wasilla's debt, remodelled her own office repeatedly and run from McSame/Palindrome like cockroaches scattering when the lights are turned on.
In Denver last week, North Dakota Congressman Earl Pomeroy was busy snapping photos from the floor of the Democratic convention. Last night Congressman Pomeroy spoke here in Bismarck at the United Tribes International Pow Wow and presented United Tribes Technical College President David Gipp with one of the photos he had taken last week. Here are some photos...
Photos by JL
While walking around the outside of the Lone Star Arena checking out the exhibits, I heard someone speaking over the public address system, but didn't recognize the voice. It was a man's voice and he was talking about how every year the Republicans have been defunding United Tribes Technical College and every year our congressional delegation has to go in and claw and scratch to get this important college the funding it needs to continue it's critical educational programs.
I didn't know who it was that was talking as I checked out the display booths and signed the health care petition, but I think I know who it was now.
I'm going to come right out and say it: John McCain used the GOP convention audience as a crutch tonight. He lost the crowd about 3 minutes into his speech. You have to give the crowd some credit though. Even though McSame's talk was incredibly lame and un-inispirational, many in the crowd -- besides the yawning people -- really worked hard to make it sound like they were fired up. That's acting.
And how about the guy with the signs?!? How did that guy get in the building?
And the two -- yes two -- Code Pinkers. I love how the Republicans have figured out that the way to drown out peaceful demonstrators is to chant "U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A." Does anybody else see the irony in Republicans using the name of our country to suppress what our country stands for?
Prediction: underwhelming bump in the polls through next week. After that, game on.
Update: X1 --Adam
Joe Biden decided to go shooting his mouth off at the Republicans...
And that, my friends, is why Barack picked Joe Biden to be his running mate. To go out there and take a sledgehammer to the "Republic" attack machine
At the Pentecostal church where Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin worshipped for more than two decades, congregants speak in tongues and are part of a faith that believes humanity is in its "end times" -- the days preceding a world-ending cataclysm bringing Christian redemption and the second coming of Jesus.
The Rev. Ed Kalnins, pastor of the Pentecostal church, Wasilla Assembly of God, says he has told church members that God put President George W. Bush in office and that America is locked in a "holy war" with terrorists.
Mr. Kalnins's views and the teachings of his church provide a glimpse of the religious upbringing of Gov. Palin, 44 years old, whose Christian credentials and antiabortion views have been lauded by social conservatives. Gov. Palin hasn't discussed her personal and spiritual beliefs since she was named to Sen. John McCain's ticket on Friday, and the campaign hasn't been eager to discuss them.
"I am not going to get into that. I think talking about where she worships today and how she characterizes herself speaks for itself about where she is today on this issue," says Maria Comella, a campaign spokeswoman.
There's lots of stuff out there already on Palin's religious beliefs. (Click here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here, for example.) Part of me thinks this whole "what's his/her religion?" thing has gotten blown way out of proportion during this election. The other part of me thinks that the American people should know whether Sarah Palin is an "end timer." But Republicans made a big deal out of the pastor at Barack Obama's old church, and we've had to hear about some of the crazy things McCain's religious advisors believe. Being a Christian myself, I've got no problem with electing Christians as President and Vice President, but we've had these end-timers in power now for the past 8 years and look where it's gotten us. Bad economic policy. Bad environmental policy. Bad foreign policy. Bad domestic policy. I suppose to them it's not a bad thing to have a nation that isn't earning the respect of the rest of the world. "The world is going to be gone next week anyway, right?"
Watching Mitt Romney, Man, I wish he could have been the nominee! Biden would have slaughtered him!
Terrorists should never be afforded constitutional rights!
Work requirements were taken out of welfare by none other than Bill Clinton.
8:17--How many times do I have to explainthat Offshore oil drilling will do nothing--3% of the reserves, 25% of the demand. Drop. In. The. Bucket.
8:20--So was Palin proud of her country when she attended a secessionist convention at least twice? I don't question Michelle Obama's patriotism or Palin's patriotism, shut up about a butchered comment already...
8:28--That Elite Liberal Media again...
8:29--It is about you--you want something to change.
8:30--You know, I disagree with him, but Huckabee is a good speaker. Had he been nominated, it would have been a different ball game, and a lot more exciting.
8:35--talking about experience, Palin got more votes for mayor than Biden got for President--because votes = experience...
8:41 Olbermann Fact Check-- Biden got votes in Florida and California that on their own would have given him more votes than Palin would have recieved in both elections in Wasilla. Also, Lincoln did not found the Republican Party, he managed to get their nomination on the third ballot of their second ballot. Apparently speechwriters did not know how to use the Google.
8:56--May I say that Pat Buchannan has a terrible combover?
Saint Rudy of 9/11
9:03--There's that Left Wing Media again!
9:05--wait, wait, wait, I thought the applicants name was crossed off?
9:09--a few years later...try 8.
9:14--Drill, Baby, Drill!!!
9:16--AAAAHHH!!! My head is starting to hurt with all the stupidity!!!
9:20--so Rudy's idea of a strong, informed position is "Today, we are all Georgians?" but nuance, and understanding of a complex situation that does appear to have been fueled by both sides is waffling...interesting...
9:26--I think I just say Rudy Giuliani manufacture an attack on Palin to attack the manufactured attackers for attacking Palin... What Democrat has asked about Palin being able to take care of her family?
9:29--I expect a rousing speech...I will actually be disappointed with a weak one. She should be able to get quite a few applause lines.
9:33--there was no hope for that candidate...until the lobbyists revived it with money from K street...
9:37--A very nice looking family!
9:43--Who the heck is the lady that they were taking out of the arena???
9:44--Washington elite liberal media...
9:47--since Bush left the country better than HE found it...
9:50--so if she said "Thanks, but no thanks" to the bridge to nowhere, why is it there?
9:54--Checking over at Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis , the credentialed DNC blog from Alaska--"'Our state budget is under control...we have a surplus.' OMG...she's taking credit for oil prices?????"
9:55--No major legislation...except that ethics package...
9:57--Obama is definitely against strengthening America...and what the hell does the Gateway Arch have to do with Palin?
9:59--I hate to tell you something, but that debt has to be paid off somehow...
10:01--if lobbyists don't want to have a McCain presidency, then why did they run his campaign when it was in the gutter that year ago...
10:03--She is an attack dog, I will say that...
10:08--As much as I thought a lot of it was a load of crap, it was a very good speech on its merits. a lot of tough jabs to the jaw of Obama. A lot of them were unfair, but they were harsh attacks. That was exactly what I expected.
10:10--Holy Crap, its John McSame! Nobody saw that coming!
10:22--Wait, Alaska's delegation is in the back of the hall...at the DNC, the Illinois delegation and the Deleware delegation were in the front...
That didn't take long. The Obama campaign has announced a preliminary list of some of the Republicans who have recognized that the best thing for America and for North Dakota would be for the entire country to unite behind the Obama/Biden campaign. Here's the press release:
Obama Campaign Announces
“North Dakota Republicans for Obama”
FARGO, ND – Obama for America today announced “North Dakota Republicans for Obama,” an organization of committed North Dakota Republicans who are supporting Senator Obama. The organization will spearhead efforts to mobilize support for Barack Obama among Republicans in North Dakota. Senator Obama has developed a broad coalition of support among Democrats, Republicans and Independents in North Dakota who have responded to his message of bringing America together to deliver the change we need.
"I've been a Republican my entire life, but I strongly believe that Senator Obama is a leader who will get our country back on the right track," said Ellen Dehn, a retired small business owner from Hatton, ND. "With the challenges that our middle class families are facing here in North Dakota, this election presents a clear choice: more of the same failed economic policies of the Bush administration or the change we need."
Initial members of “North Dakota Republicans for Obama” include:
Juliane Wilkinson, Lakota, Registered Nurse
Aaron Weston, Langdon, Former Truck Driver
Becky Braathen, Tolna, Insurance Agent
Carolyn Berdal, Petersburg, Tech Coordinator
Joann Larocque, Saint John
Ellen Dehn, Hatton, Small Business Owner
Laurel Johnson, Hatton, Registered Nurse
Lavonne Beach, Carrington, Homemaker
Barbara Loe, McHenry, Retired
Linda Babinski, Minot, Retired Social Worker
Kathy Holter, Grand Forks
Richard Ziniel, Grand Forks, Retired Postal Worker
Contact: Jan Messerschmidt, firstname.lastname@example.org
It was just a matter of time.
I've had other North Dakota Republicans tell me they're supporting Obama for President. I've also had a number of them tell me they're supporting Jasper Schneider for N.D. Insurance Commissioner. They'd never put their names on a list like this for fear of being retaliated against by the retaliators who lead North Dakota's GOP, but there are apparently a bunch of you guys out there.
I suppose I need to take back some of the bad things I've said about Republicans now.
Question for our many Republican readers: Why isn't your name on that list?