Over the weekend, I visited with a few people who are delegates to the Dem-NPL convention. I wanted to get a sense of what people were thinking going into the contested nomination for the U.S. House race. I visited briefly with people from different parts of the state and in different age groups. Keep in mind, this is a very small sample, but there seemed to be a trend.
A delegate with western North Dakota roots suggested John Grabinger would probably be the most relatable to them. The delegate thought Grabinger’s blue-collar approach would match well with ranchers and industrial workers. The delegate finished by saying, though Grabinger would relate, Mac Schneider was likely a stronger contender come November. The delegate seemed uncommitted to a candidate at the time of our conversation.
Delegates from north central North Dakota and West Fargo echoed the same sentiment regarding candidates. Both highlighted the fact that Ben Hanson had been announced and working hard since August of 2017. One had even donated money to Hanson’s campaign. That Hanson was an early entrant was clearly hanging on the minds of these delegates even as they acknowledged they thought Schneider may give them the best chances in November. One suggested they’d vote Hanson on the first ballot. They weren’t familiar enough with Grabinger yet. The others wouldn’t tell me for certain who they’d be casting their vote.
Another delegate currently in Fargo who was raised in western North Dakota was adamant about their support for Mac Schneider. The delegate expressed appreciation for Hanson’s campaign but said in no uncertain terms that though Mac announced his candidacy later than the other two doesn’t mean he hadn’t been working hard for the Dem-NPL and for this opportunity for years. They pointed to fundraising and candidate recruitment up and down the ballot for more than a decade as proof that nearly nobody had done more to keep the party going for more than a decade.
Here is the pattern I sense with less than a week from the convention, there is some uncertainty but it appears people are trying to find a way to get behind Schneider if they haven’t already done so. It is evident there is some mixture of sympathy and appreciation toward Hanson who some had given support to in the past. People were the least familiar with Grabinger at the moment. At the end of the day, they said Schneider was their best shot in November. Will that be enough for them to check the box behind Schneider’s name? That question remains open.
These three candidates have six days to convince them one way or another. It looks to be an exciting convention as people may be making their decision on the floor of the hall after nomination and seconding speeches.