North Dakota Republicans dominant in midterm elections
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Nationally, Republicans were expected to take back the House and Senate with a red wave Tuesday. The outcome is nowhere near what many polls indicated, and final results are yet to be determined. But there was a red tsunami in North Dakota.
North Dakota is an extremely conservative state. Just how conservative is it? Well, every statewide office — from governor to public service commissioner to all our congressional delegation — is held by Republicans. We haven’t elected a Democrat for president since LBJ. And after last night, all but 15 of the 141 legislative seats are red.
It was all smiles at the GOP watch party in Bismarck Tuesday night.
”It looks like we’ve had a tremendous red wave in the state of North Dakota, so I’m very, very happy,” said Perrie Schafer, chairman of the NDGOP.
Tax Commissioner, Agriculture Commissioner, Public Service Commissioner times two, U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator: all won by the Republicans.
But the real surprises came in several key legislative races — like District 35 in Bismarck, which flipped red for Republican Sean Cleary.
”Really, top of mind for voters seems to be property tax reform and education,” said Cleary.
There are 141 lawmakers in the North Dakota State Legislature — 47 in the Senate and 94 in the House. If you look back 15 years ago, both chambers were pretty evenly split. But as of Tuesday, only four seats in the Senate and 11 seats in the House are blue.
One result of this? Instead of political feuds between Democrats and Republicans like in the rest of the country, debates in North Dakota are between the conservative and the extremely conservative.
One example of this phenomenon? Dozens of Republicans publicly stood opposed to term limits...”I don’t think that this particular term limit measure is good for the state, I think it hurts voters,” said Schafer.but the measure was conceived of, backed, and advanced by some North Dakota Republicans.”That’s why term limits was on the ballot, it was for the people,” said Representative Jeff Magrum, R-Hazelton.Or Republican Bismarck Representative Rick Becker campaigning as an Independent - receiving nearly a fifth of all votes cast taking away from what would’ve been a commanding victory for Senator John Hoeven.”Win or lose, we did the right thing,” said Representative Becker.Now, state Republican leaders are calling for a more unified conservative movement.”I hope now with this big red wave we’ve seen in the state and hopefully in the nation, I haven’t looked at those numbers yet, but hopefully we can bring the party together and work more closely,” said Schafer.As for Republicans’ priorities this legislative session, issue number one is tax reform. As of now, there are already three tax reform proposals from all the wings of the party. The session begins on January 3rd.
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