North Dakota Democrats Have Clearly Run Out Of Ideas


It is, admittedly, a tough election cycle for Democrats. Especially those running in states like North Dakota. They’re saddled with an unpopular President who has passed a raft of failed policies, but can’t credibly run away from that President either.

So what do you do when you’re stuck between a rock and hard place? Start manufacturing an “outrage of the day” to distract from the fact that you don’t have anything to campaign on.

It’s happened a couple of times in North Dakota’s Senate race already. First it was Democrats suggesting that an ad paid for by an independent citizen called Heidi Heitkamp a prostitute (something that is more than a little bit of a stretch, “Heidi-ho” doesn’t have anything to do with hookers).

Now Democrats have staged a moment where the ask Heitkamp’s Republican opponent, Rick Berg, what the minimum wage was. When he didn’t know off the top of his head, Democrats immediately seized on the moment with another “gotcha” moment.

According to “reporting” at the Huffington Post we’re all supposed to be like “OMG Rick Berg is such a rich out of touch fool he doesn’t know what the minimum wage is!” Though this is so arbitrary, they may as well of asked Berg to name the capital of Maine off the top of his head.

Is this really what we’re down to? Pestering candidates with random trivia questions and them making hay if they get the answer wrong? And this is certainly a Democrat gimmick. According to Huffington Post, “At a recent Missouri GOP Senate debate, the four candidates vying for a chance to challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill (R-Mo.) did not know the amount of the minimum wage.”

So, in other words, this wasn’t just some random moment between Berg and a citizen caught on camera. This is a operation by Democrats to plant questioners intended to catch Republicans off guard and make them look silly.

Again, Democrats are clearly out of ideas. But hey, whatever keeps us from talking about Obamacare, the national debt, failed stimulus policy, etc., etc.

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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  • Dallas

    Yep, I expect a candidate fo the U.S. Senate to know what the minimum wage is.  I also know Kent French and he was trying to say HO…………………..

    • Rob

      Maybe someone should pop in on a Heidi Heitkamp event and ask her off the cuff what the federal fuel tax is, or what the tariff on imported ethanol is.

      Two can play at that game.

    • sbark

      but then again,  I’d expect a President to know exactly how many States there are……..

      ………and there are not 57

      ………but hey, maybe Berg can spell Potatoe

  • Patrick R. Pfeiffer

    I employ half a dozen part-time hourly employees and I don’t know what the minimum wage is.  Reason being in this economy you have to offer far more to get anything more than someone who can fog a mirror.  I haven’t paid anyone the minimum wage in years.

    But that’s liberalism:  downsize a prospective employee’s expectations TO a minimum wage not upsize their aspirations to what they’re worth in a tight job market.

  • Rick Olson

    I predict it’s going to be a clean sweep for the GOP in North Dakota this year.  Rick Berg should have no trouble defeating Heidi Heitkamp.  I just don’t see Pam Gulleson being able to pull it out for the Democrats against whoever winds up winning the Republican primary for the lone U.S. House seat. 

    The Democrats in North Dakota are now in the same boat that the Republicans were in only 25 years or so ago.  When Conrad, Dorgan and Pomeroy were firmly entrenched in Congress; all the Republicans could do was to put up a string of unelectable candidates against the yodeling trio.

    Now, it’s the Democrats’ turn to be on the short end of the stick.  Most anyone who is running as a Democrat, especially in a state like North Dakota, is going to have a tough time this cycle, since they are going to be on the same ticket as a very unpopular president, Barack Obama.

    • Jay

      25 years ago? What about within the last decade? In 2004, 2006, and 2008, Pomeroy got 60%, 64%, and 62% respectively while Dorgan in 2004 got 68% and Conrad in 2006 got 69%. Bush trounced Gore and Kerry in the state (even prompting Byron Dorgan to laugh when asked if he supported Gore in the squabbling over the presidency following the 2000 elections). The GOP did well on the state level, generally holding wide majorities in the State Legislature and capturing all statewide nonfederal offices by 2008 but never coming close in a federal election till 2010 when Hoeven scared Dorgan out of a bid for a fourth term and won the seat by one of the most lopsided margins for ANY freshman Senator in history and Berg became the first Republican to unseat a sitting Dem federal officeholder in the state since the 1960s. Things are definitely looking good for the GOP in North Dakota after the electoral doldrums they experienced from 1982 to 2008, but Berg and the Republican nominated for his seat need to campaign like Hell for those seats. Neither can take anything for granted. Dems may be expected to lose, but I doubt Heitkamp or Gulleson will just lie down and surrender to the inevitable.

      • Rick Olson

        No, Heidi Heitkamp and Pam Gulleson definitely will not roll over and concede. Not until Election Night, anyway.  Heidi does have the bully pulpit of her brother’s statewide radio show — but he won’t be able to do much with it due to FCC rules.  Joel will push the envelope as far as it will go, but he cannot openly campaign for his sister on the air.  Then the equal time rules would come into play.  KFGO as well as KFYR in Bismarck and KCJB in Minot would be required to offer free air time to Heidi’s opponents in order for them to refute whatever she would care to say about them.  You know, the three stations don’t want to be put in the position of having to give away all that air time; so look for Joel to be on something of a leash where his sister is concerned when the real campaigning starts.

        It could wind up being a competitive campaign, who knows?  It would seem to me that the Democrats are pretty much willing to concede the Gulleson race and put all their money and attention into Heidi’s campaign for the bigger prize, keeping the U.S. Senate seat in Democratic hands.

        It will be interesting to see what happens.

        • Jay

          You have to ensure the Dems don’t succeed in that endeavor, Rick.

  • headward

    How many jobs have been lost since Democrats took control in 2007?

  • Thresherman

    The problem with this sort of tactic is that it really only plays to your base. So if Heidi is already stooping to this, what is next?  The ND Democratic version of Wellstone’s funeral?

    • Rob

      Thats a good point. Of the Dems think theyre winning over voters.with this nonsense theyd better think again.

  • melissapaulik

    It’s the democrats that worship at the altar of the minimum wage. Why on earth should Rick know it off the top of his head?

    • tomorrowclear

      You’re correct, I wouldn’t expect him to be informed on something as obscure as that. After all, why would a U.S. Congressman ever have to know something like that? 

  • tomorrowclear

    Damage control time. Start deflecting!

  • Caeslinger

    How about someone actually pointing out that he said ‘7 something’ and pointed out to the young ‘lady’ that waitresses get less because of being tipped.

    I would call that pretty accurate to be honest.

    • Guest

      Exactly.  I was thinking the same thing.  Berg’s answer was accurate.  It’s 7.25 I believe. 
      Rob is right as well.  Ask Joel’s sister one of the questions Rob mentioned and off the top of her head she wouldn’t know it.  This was amatuer hour plain and simple.