North Dakota Democrats are fired-up about their candidates this election cycle. “We’re excited, very much, about the ticket we’re offering the voters, as a party,” said former U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND).
Adding to the excitement was the presence of a major national political figure. Former President Bill Clinton spent Saturday in Grand Forks and dropped by the State Democratic Convention. It’s the first time President Clinton has been back since the city experienced devastating floods 15 years ago.
Earlier in the day, President Clinton got to see how the city has bounced back. But flood recovery wasn’t the only purpose of the visit. “The second reason I came here is that (former North Dakota Democratic Governor) George Sinner asked me. And I plead guilty. I love George sinner. I love Jane. I love everything about them. We served together. They, Hillary and I became fast friends, so much so that I actually got a pass from the Secretary of State to be gone over the weekend to come to North Dakota. And that’s a big deal because, you know, she has this traveling job, so she only comes home on the weekend. She got home last night. She said, ‘Now you’re going to be gone all day tomorrow? And you’re going to miss all those NCAA basketball games?’ I said, ‘George Sinner asked me to come to North Dakota and I get to go to Grand Forks. I haven’t been there since the flood.’ And she said, ‘Ok. You get a pass.’ The third reason I wanted to come is to make a case for why, not just for North Dakota, but for America, you should elect Heidi Heitkamp (for U.S. Senate)…Pam Gulleson (for U.S. House)…Ryan Taylor (for Governor)…and Ellen Chaffee (for Lt. Governor),” said Clinton.
Former members of North Dakota’s Congressional Delegation discussed the Democratic ticket. “The torch is passing to new leaders and they’re good. I’m proud about the candidates that will come out of this convention,” said Pomeroy.
“We’ve got Heidi Heitkamp, Pam Gulleson, Ryan Taylor, what remarkable North Dakotans! And I think they’re going to have great success this year with the voters,” said Dorgan.
But Republicans don’t share the same enthusiasm for the Democratic ticket. “Voters are going to take a look at the record on the issues that are involved with these candidates and I think that the candidates on the Republican side,we have an incredibly strong field in all of our races. And so the people that we’ve put forward for our convention here in just two weeks are really a phenomenal choice that North Dakotans have to make,” said NDGOP Communications Director Matt Becker.
Democrats are trying to pin blame for the bad national economy on Republicans, even though Democrats currently occupy the White House and Senate. “(Republicans) can’t run on their record. They’ve got to run away from their record. But we’re not going to let them do it! We’re going to remind people. We’re going to remind them of what they did. We’re going to remind them that they took this country to the brink of collapse. They took us from budget surpluses in the Clinton years to massive deficits due to the tax cuts that they gave the wealthiest among us. And President Obama inherited that. They took us from a solid banking sector to the precipice of collapse by allowing the big banks to increase their leverage from 10 to 1, to 30-40 to 1. And President Obama inherited that. They took us from a sound fiscal sector the brink of collapse with deregulation that allowed AIG and other companies to insure hundreds of billions of dollars of deals that they couldn’t cover. And President Obama inherited that,” said U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND).
The race for retiring Democrat Kent Conrad’s seat in the Senate could become one of the most closely watched races in the country. “They have a candidate, Heidi Heitkamp, who is running mostly on her record from the 90’s. And Bill Clinton now coming from the 90’s, once again. And so they can talk about the 90’s and we’re going to talk about the future,” said Becker.
Democrats think it’s important to cite the legacy of the Clinton Administration, along with that of the Bush Administration. “(Republicans) say that our economic problems are the fault of the Democrats. Really?” said Conrad.