The Tuesday, June 14, 2016 election was a gut shot for several “establishments” in North Dakota. The establishment of the Republican legislative super-majority took it in the shorts from the voters who crushed the corporate farming bill. One of the legislators who had sponsored the corporate farming bill complained to the media about the “lies” of his adversaries. Such post-mortem whining usually falls upon deaf ears. Don’t be surprised if the losers challenge their loss to court hoping to find a judge to overturn the wishes of the people. Wait! Isn’t that what they are accusing Democrats of doing? Could it be that the super-majority in the legislature is living in an echo chamber of sameness? Are people who don’t share their ideologies liars?
The state Republican establishment in general also took a severe body blow. Its own primary voters crushed their convention-nominated gubernatorial candidate by a two to one landslide. The present governor’s endorsement of the Republican party’s nominee was more or less ignored. It is doubtful that crossover votes from Democrats were a factor. Neither Republican candidate said enough about the specific issues confronting the state to show a dime’s bit of difference between them. The establishment favorite probably stepped in it, however, when he told everyone how good things were going when there is over a one billion dollar state budget deficit. Talk about a disconnect with the person on the street. The originator of that tactic is an unlikely candidate for the media consultant’s hall of fame. It reminded one of Baghdad Bob in the first Iraq invasion. If you can’t connect that dot, google it.
Finally, the establishment of the City of Minot received a loud and clear wakeup call. It is apparent that they made the fundamental error of having underestimated the #MakeMinot movement. 75% of the Minot voters voted to reduce the number of city council members and to elect council members at large rather than by wards. 60% is considered a landslide in politics. 75% is a kick in the pants. The individual ward races for city council were brutal for incumbents. In Ward One, newcomer Shannon Straight received 60% of the vote in a three-way race that included a longtime incumbent. In Ward Two, George Withus defeated an incumbent, though narrowly. In Ward Three, Dr. Stephan Podrygula defeated an incumbent. In Ward Four, incumbent Rick Hedberg ran unopposed. In Ward Five, #MakeMinot spokesperson Shaun Sipma won with an 80% majority. In Ward Six, incumbent Mark Jantzer ran unopposed. In Ward Seven, since no one was on the ballot, there were two write in candidates.
The only incumbents who won ran unopposed. Was that due to apathy or something else? The three incumbents who ran with opposition were all defeated. One ward had no announced candidates. Based upon the election results, it clearly was determined by the voters that changes are in order.