Democrats Already Planning Legal Challenge For ND Senate Race Outcome


At Slate they’ve been talking to Democrat operatives who are already making noises about legal challenges to the outcome of the Berg/Heitkamp Senate race, questioning specifically the influx of oil workers in the western part of the state.

Which is hilarious given that, in the voter ID debate, Democrats are quick to assure us that voter fraud doesn’t happen.

Imagine Heitkamp v. Berg having all of the legal machinations of the epic eight-month Minnesota recount that eventually sent Al Franken to the Senate, laced with the partisan vote-fraud paranoias that have hovered over this election cycle. This time, however, it is Democrats who are imagining buses of ineligible voters streaming to polling places, particularly arriviste oil-field workers in the booming northwest corner of the state who could cast affidavit ballots even if not they’re not permanent North Dakota residents.

“If you are challenged at the time, all you need to do is sign something saying you are a qualified elector,” says one Democratic operative familiar with the party’s plans in case of a post-election legal battle. “If we can prove that an affidavit ballot was inappropriately cast we have no recourse.”

First, these concerns over a potential legal battle don’t sound like they come from a political party that’s confident of victory. These complaints sound like they’re coming from people who are already searching for a rationalization for losing.

And why wouldn’t they be? While Democrats have touted a stream of partisan polling showing their candidate leading, the reality of the independent polling is that Berg has a substantial lead. I’d be very surprised if Berg won by anything less than 5 points.

But North Dakota Democrats are in desperate straights. After election day they aren’t likely to hold a single statewide office or a federal office.

Maybe inventing conspiracy theories about vote fraud in western ND will comfort them as they lick their wounds,

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Robert Portly

    Mayor Bloomberg just endorsed Obama. Bloomberg is concerned about global warming, of course in the creationism world of Rob Port and the Republicans there is no such thing. Also Republicans are insisting a report be taken down by the library of Congress which indicates tax cuts for the rich don’t work. It is a bad day when reality intrudes into the Fox Crowd. Of course Rob will not mention any real news that destroys the tax cut fantasy world.

    • Jay

      Right, Portly. A bunch of rich lefties such as Gore, Bloomberg, and Huffington who frequently fly on private jets are really concerned about global warming. Idiot.

      • $8194357


    • Patrick R. Pfeiffer

      You’re so wrong Robert. I believe in Global Warming 100%. Also Global cooling, Global dry cycles, Global wet cycles, and all the other vast geological forces that have been at work unceasing for billions of years.
      It’s just your phony-baloney “man-made” Global Warm Hoax we don’t accept.
      Quick question-does it hurt; being as ignorant and/or wilfully blind as you are?

      • $8194357


    • Patrick R. Pfeiffer

      p.s. Einstein: Secretary Mellon in the 20’s; JFK in the 60’s; Reagan in the 80’s; Bush in 2000….reductions in the rates of taxation increase personal wealth; stimulate the economy, create jobs and more taxpayers and increase the revenue to your precious Federal Treasury.

      • Onslaught1066

        Please, don’t confuse Lime with the facts.

        It’ll only drive him crazy and he’ll have an aneurism and dieeeeee eeeuh… never mind.

    • Lianne

      What does this have to do with the topic of the conversation, except to be a feeble attempt to change the subject.

    • Dennet

      In May of 1934 it was 115 degrees in ND. Was it the multitude of cars on the road or heavy industry that spewed CO2 into atmosphere that caused this global warming?

    • Albert Dunderfinch

      “Mayor Bloomberg just endorsed Obama”

      So did Castro, Chavez, Ahmadinejad and the Muslim Brotherhood.

  • yy4u2

    Wow. Good thing we aren’t along the southern border. Would they want to allow the illegal aliens to vote and not the legal workers that moved in from another state in the Union. The Democrat Utopia of feelings.

  • Elizabeth K

    Isn’t it incredibly ironic that the ND voting law requiring you only to live here for 30 days before being considered a “legal resident”, will actually help Republicans this election cycle. I’d assume that it normally helps the Dems because of the large population of college students that can vote in ND while attending UND or NDSU.

    • The Whistler

      I was going to comment that I doubted that Heidi was going to object to the UND and NDSU students from out of state that voted for her next week.

  • Jay

    Well, if Dems are going to sue to get Foghorn Leghorn into the Senate, I say do it. Ensure you don’t win another election in that state for a LOOOOOOOOOOONG time to come with such a shameless tactic doomed to fail.

  • Jay

    Oh, I almost forgot. How can Dems need to do this when Dfm has already assured me Heitkamp’s internal polls showing her up are the only accurate ones in the race?

    • dfm

      The only thing I have assured you about is that this race is within the Margin of Error (pretty much always has been), and that the Forum poll is pure junk. Time will tell.

      • Jay

        Actually you tried to make a correlation between Mellman’s 2010 poll for Harry Reid and his recent poll for Heitkamp, trying to imply the same turn of events would come about. Well, all signs now point to a Heitkamp loss regardless of your high hopes for a close race she can win. I’m calling it now: She loses.

        • dfm

          Actually you have been calling that from the get-go, so nothing new there. As for Mellman, all I was saying is that he hit it spot-on in NV. He is good, that’s all I’m saying. Discount him at your own peril.

          I was taking a defense of internal polls. Sure, some are biased … but the good firms know that is just for short term gain, not long term credibility. I can’t speak for him, but I’m pretty confident (better than a normal polling error) Mellman would never risk his reputation (nor would I) for one campaign.

          Question, how sure are you about the victory? What probability do you give that HH wins?

          • Jay

            Mellman tried to say the Wisco recall was going the opposite way of how it went just five months ago. That probably didn’t help his reputation much. Realistically barring a Berg meltdown, I don’t see how Heitkamp wins at this point, but if we’re quantifying things, I say 85% chance Berg wins and 15% chance Heitkamp wins. You?

          • dfm

            I’ll tell you on Election night, after the ballots are counted (wink). But I’ll give you credit for 15% (although that is what 538 says too …but in this case, I know more about ND than Nate).

            The recall was a tough race, the problem was trying to gauge how many Ds would vote for Walker, not because they liked Walker, but because they did not like the recall. I did some work there, suffice to say, WI is a mess. And hold on to your hat, WI will have another election this April for control of the WI Supreme Court (as the Walker law goes through the appeal process).

            Mellman’s final numbers were within the MoE, but barely. Some of the R firms were not, way too high. The problem with polling is that we take the data as a precise instrument … they are not. They have a lot of value, we just usually see the horse-race numbers, which are actually the least exciting of the batch.

          • Jay

            Now I see why you became a pollster. You exhibit the cowardice of every pollster I ever had to deal with when I still worked in the political field. You always claim to have your fingers exactly on the pulse of the American people (within a certain MOE of course), but the moment someone asks you a straightfoward question, you start obfuscating and refusing to answer. Bunch of damn spineless jellyfish.

            As far as Mellman, while his final numbers were coyly within the MOE, his trendline–which as a pollster you should know about–was the opposite of the way the race went. It was an attempt on his part to claim Barrett had a chance to beat Walker, and I honestly doubt Mellman himself believed his polling results.

            One final thing: You know as well as I Heitkamp’s going to lose. You just don’t want to admit it despite all your bluster and braggadoccio about an MOE race and covert knowledge you coyly refuse to divulge telling you why Heitkamp will (actually won’t) win. That’s why you gave me the cowardly answer on your prediction. You know an admission that she’s not going to win undermines every post you’ve made on here. Don’t even try to lie to me and say otherwise. I’ve dealt with too many pollsters in my time not to have picked on the trade lingo accompanying the inevitable nonanswer.

          • dfm

            Jay, you’ve dealt with too many pollsters? Now I understand your game, which I always assumed. You are/were too civil to be part of the normal crowd on this blog.

            You have me at a distinct disadvantage, and you know it. Your attempt to browbeat me on the hopes that I will take the bait failed; I’m smarter than that. I’m in a no win situation, so I choose not to play that game … I just want to point out the facts with regards to polling (since it is so misunderstood). Salut.

          • Jay

            I’m not trying to browbeat you into anything. Your answer told me all I needed to know. You’ll dent that, I’m sure, but the nonanswer gave me inditrectly the answer I was looking for: You expect Berg to lose just as I do. I guess because of your trade with invariable accompanying fear of either being wrong or being unable to set a narrative, you really had no choice; regardless I got the nswer I wanted, just not in the way I wanted to get it.

          • Jay

            As for internal polls, I’ve never cared for them regardless of pol they’re done for. You’ll notice I sometimes cite hapless New Mexico Senate candidate Heather Wilson’s internals alongside Heitkamp’s as reasons for my dislike of them. It’s over for both her and Heitkamp. Each will be delivering a concession speech to a much less charismatic opponent in just over five days. It is what it is.

  • nimrod

    I think the margin will be wide enough (5 points or more) to where legal challenges will be disposed of rather quickly.

    • Rob

      I agree.

  • DelawareBeachHouse

    Arriviste oil-field workers? Quelle horreur!

    • DelawareBeachHouse

      HH: I’ll FIGHT for oil and gas. But not oil and gas workers.

  • Roy_Bean

    Yet another fundamental difference between liberals and canservatives. Liberals don’t trust the wisdom of the masses. They will use the courts, if necessary, to “correct” the bad choices made by voters. They have no respect for the people, the system or the law of the land.

    • $8194357

      Facist tyranists never have huh.

  • Mildred Midlefinch

    Please be advised, the purpose of this blog is to promote right wing fantasy. If you are going reinforce a right wing fantasy and be part of the mutual admiration society, please take the pledge to believe what ever Rob says and only make comments that agree with him. Otherwise refrain from anything that might bust the bubble. Right wing fantasies are delicate and even the slightest truth can ruin them. Keep that in mind when interjecting facts into any conversation. It is not a fact unless Rush or Fox has labeled as such. Do not count on those other guys like MSNBC, PBS, CBS, NBC, NYT, or any other respectable news outlets.

    • Robert Portly


    • Dennet

      Was the pulling of Heitkamp ad paid for by Harry Reid’s PAC for inaccuracies a factual event or just another of YOUR fantasies?

  • Thresherman

    “If we can prove that an affidavit ballot was inappropriately cast we have no recourse.”
    Because nothing says reasonable like dragging the state into a protracted and expensive legal battle over one ballot. Personally, I think when ever an attorney says something this selfserving and stupid, it should be grounds for immediate disbarment.

  • sbark

    That is the Dem’cats entire premise of these pre-election Polls that show Heitkamp ahead………..therefore, then after she looses it cements, in their illogical brains then there must have been voter fraud………
    it was the same strategy and thought process in Ohio after the 2004 election GW over Kerry……… not that Heidi can come up with any new strategy, as with Bill Clinton, they just re-use the old crap over and over….
    If they can just get it into a legal battle and recount, that is when they can find trunkloads of ballots in Chevy volts thru out the state on a “as needed” basis.

    • $8194357

      It was the same strategy used by Barrys cousin Odinga in Kenya in the 06 dry run for 08’s Hopey Changey “forward to communism” that resulted in 1500 plus dead and thousand burned out…Pre planned riots for voter fraud acusations…
      go figure, huh..

    • dfm

      I’m curious, do you actually believe this … or are you just on a rant because it sounds good? I don’t expect you to answer honestly, you don’t want to lose your credibility on this site amongst your peers.

      But seriously, do you actually think your political opponents (and that is all we are, political opponents) are that (I can’t come up with the right word, juggling too many balls in the air) awful?

      • sbark

        You doth protest too much….must have hit a vein huh?
        I know leftists………they are all same historically, they all just plaugeize Marx or Alsinsky…..its all they’ve got other than 100% failure of their ideology.
        We are more than “political opponents”……..just in the last few years has the right now come to realize the Left has been waging war on this country for decades………..We should’ve realized it after JFK was offed and the radical left turn taken by LBJ…….it was basically a hostile takeover.

        Liberalism is the problem……..the rest are just symptoms of Liberalism and its 100% track record of failure.

        • dfm

          Not sure how to respond, I’ll leave it at that.

        • $8194357


  • siouxfanatic

    maybe this is controversial, but i see this from both perspectives… living in Williston now, and going to UND for the last 4 years. Maybe we should make the burden of citizenship more strict in ND. I wouldn’t want to make voting less accesssible to those eligible, but I’m worried about people voting who have no skin in the game. I think this should apply to freshman who have been in ND for 2 and a half months, and the part time oil workers who do the 2 week on and 1 week off in a man camp bit. Thoughts?

    • nimrod

      The oil workers most certainly have skin in the game, as they are paying income taxes here.

    • Rob

      I think the oil workers have a lot more skin in the game than students do. As Nimrod points out, they’re paying income taxes on what they earn here. And their jobs are based on state policies.

      And I’m less concerned about residency than I am about people voting in more than one place.

      • siouxfanatic

        i heard that they are doing a deal with minnesota now to cross reference whose voted to try and stop that

  • Stuart

    I don’t think that Republicans should get too cocky or sure of themselves as we already have voter fraud out east with voting machines. These machines have given a Obama value when Romney is voted for. Ed Schultz did the same thing on his poll on his site a while back.

    Just want to warn all you who are so sure and confident.

  • Stuart

    Speaking of global Warming caused by humans. Were the dust bowl days in the 30 ’caused by humans?

  • Goon

    If they are talking lawsuits they basically saying that they lost.

  • Rick Olson

    North Dakota, despite the fact that it’s the only state which does not have voter registration, as well as a very loosely interpreted definition of “legal resident,” our state has a solid record of conducting honest and squeaky-clean elections.

    What could the Democrats possibly base a challenge on? Every county now employs the optical scanner ballot system. A voter completes his or her ballot and then feeds it into the scanner/ballot box at the polling site. If a voter has made a mistake (overvoted, or the system cannot read one of the ovals they darkened, the ballot is rejected and the voter is instructed to obtain another ballot and re-do their choices).

    So, North Dakota counties not only have a paper trail of all of the marked ballots, but there is also a computerized box attached to each ballot scanner/ballot box which is removed when the polls close and all of those boxes are hand delivered to the site where the ballots are being counted.

    It’s virtually impossible to cheat that kind of a system, because the voter’s intentions are clearly marked on each ballot, and the vote totals recorded by each scanner/ballot box is a double-check on the ballots which have been cast.

    Besides, most folks are basically honest in North Dakota. You won’t see stacks of ballots going missing and later winding up in people’s car trunks (like we saw in the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Minnesota. “Missing” ballots kept turning up for days. The secretary of state of Minnesota wanted his guy to win, so he manipulated the system until Alvin Franken was on top and beat Norman Coleman. The state supreme court affirmed the recounted results and declared Franken the winner after weeks and weeks of recounts and challenges.