Can North Dakota Democrats Still Count On Ticket Splitting In North Dakota?
Associated Press reporter Dale Wetzel has a feature story today about something Democrats very much want to be part of the narrative in North Dakota’s Senate race, which is “ticket splitting” between Republican and Democrat candidates. Democrats know that the Senate race is their only real opportunity to win on the statewide ballot, and so they want to promote the idea that it’s ok for North Dakotans to vote for Republicans like Mitt Romney and House candidate Keivn Cramer and gubernatorial candidate Jack Dalrymple, and then for a liberal Democrat like Heidi Heitkamp too.
And that’s certainly how things have worked in the past. Over the last decade North Dakotans haven’t minded giving big-margin election victories to former Republican Governor John Hoeven and other Republican candidates as well as Democrats like Senators Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan.
The question, though, is whether or not the North Dakota electorate is still up for that.
I wrote previously that the “ticket splitting” North Dakota is so famous for didn’t manifest itself in 2010. A majority of North Dakotans voted the straight Republican ticket in 2010. Now, one election cycle doesn’t establish a trend. That’s true. And 2010 was a midterm election rather than a presidential election, and you could argue that may change how voters make their calculations.
But to that last point, does anyone really think adding the hugely unpopular (in North Dakota especially) Barack Obama to the top of the ticket is going to help Heidi Heitkamp?
I think in 2012 we’re going to see again what we saw in 2010, which is that North Dakotans aren’t as likely to split the ticket any more. And that has a lot to do with just how far left Democrats have moved nationally.
Which, of course, is why Heidi Heitkamp has spent so much time pretending like she’s really just a member of the Democrat party in name only.Tags: election 2012, Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota News, Rick Berg