Election Results & Credit Unions
by Jeff Olson

Election Perspective.

As I sit here at my laptop perusing through election results in our two states I can’t help but think of the opening poem in Mary Poppins movie, “Winds in the east, mist coming, like something is brewing and is about to begin. Can’t put me finger on what lies in store, but I feel what’s to happen, all happened before.”   


So, what does that mean for credit unions and our advocacy agenda” It really is, as Yogi Berra famously said, “Déjà vu all over again.” By that, I mean North Dakotans giving Measure 1 the thumbs-up with nearly 54 percent of the vote, we now again must rethink our advocacy strategy and how we work with lawmakers and participate in the political process moving forward.


Impact of Measure 1 in North Dakota.


You have probably already heard that Measure 1 passed. CUAD strongly opposed the measure. On the surface, Measure 1’s “anti-corruption” message presented an appealing image; however North Dakota voters were hoodwinked by its out-of-state supporters and funding. Legislatively, similar to what occurred in South Dakota with IM22 in 2017, Measure 1 contains a provision assuring that it cannot be found unconstitutional – and overrides all other articles of the state’s constitution.


We are very concerned with Section 1.2 of the measure, which will now require the disclosure of the “ultimate and true source of any funds over $200, spent in any medium to influence an election, ballot measure, or action of state government.”  At face value, this language seems straightforward and hard to argue with, and therein lies the problem. Section 1.2 is so broadly written it requires private individuals, businesses, charities, trade associations, labor unions, religious organizations, the media, and other groups to disclose member lists, advertisers, sponsors, donors, and even customer lists. As written, these groups now have to report amounts spent if any of them are engaged in public policy.  


This goes beyond political campaigns and the legislative process. This impacts any state planning effort, public commenting process, advisory committee activities, and public hearings where individuals or organizations are either asked or encouraged to participate. Think of how onerous this requirement is, especially for a state with a citizen legislature and where organizations, like ours, encourage members to travel in to attend socials and engage with policymakers, and to testify before legislative committees.


More to come as we begin the process of determining how deep the impact will truly be on our organization. Specifically, we will be looking at our political engagement in North Dakota, including contributions and sponsorship of legislative activities, such as our legislative social.  

Expect More Gridlock in DC.

Most of you already know what transpired on the national political front. The Democrats claimed the House majority after eight years of a Republican majority. However, even as two Senate races remain undetermined, the Republicans increased their majority in the Senate Chamber.

North Dakota Election Recap.

Here in North Dakota, for the first time in nearly 50 years Republicans will hold all three of North Dakota’s congressional seats. In a hotly contested race in a national spotlight, Congressman Kevin Cramer (photo left) unseated Senator Heidi Heitkamp with 54 percent of the vote. The margin of victory was a little surprising as many thought the outcome would be tight.  

Cramer’s old seat in the House will now be occupied by Kelly Armstrong (photo right), a State Senator from Dickinson. Armstrong easily defeated a former State Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider garnering nearly 60 percent of the vote.

In the state legislative races, the big news was the defeat of Al Carlson, the longtime House Republican Majority Leader from Fargo’s District 41. Carlson finished last in the four-person race and was out-distanced by his Republican running mate, Michelle Strinden, a first-time candidate, and by Democrat incumbent, Pam Anderson. 

The Democrats also picked up a seat in the Senate, and for now, a seat in the House with the election of Ruth Buffalo who knocked off Republican Randy Boehning in Fargo’s District 27. However, the Republicans maintained a super majority in the State House by 67 seats.

In the State Senate, that could change slightly as there is a mandatory recount in District 25 (Wahpeton area) where incumbent Senator Larry Luick, Republican, leads his Democratic challenger, Perry Miller by just 24 votes. That’s too close to call and it could come down to canvassing of late absentee ballots.  

South Dakotans Reject Amendment W.

First and foremost in South Dakota, voters rejected Amendment W by a clear margin and turned back a constitutional grab similar to the IM22 in 2016. Thankfully, the Ballot measure went down with 55 percent voting against adoption. CUAD strongly opposed the amendment.

South Dakota Election Recap.

South Dakotans have made history by puting the state's first-ever woman in the Governor’s Mansion. Congresswoman Kristi Noem slightly out-paced State Senator Billie Sutton with 52 percent of the vote. Taking Noem’s place in the House of Representatives in DC will be former state legislator Dusty Johnson (photo below), a Republican from Sioux Falls. Johnson won his race handily with 61 percent of the vote over Judge Tim Bjorkman.

In the State Legislative races, the Republicans came into this election cycle with a 23 seat advantage in the Senate and a 50 seat advantage in the House. It appears that Republicans have increased their majority in both chambers with a 28 seat advantage in the Senate and 55 seat advantage in the House. That could change as there are a couple of districts where recounts may occur.

Have a great rest of your week.




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