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Minority leader meets with local democrats

It has not been the best year for North Dakota Democrats. Democrats lost 10 seats in the North Dakota House in 2016, going from controlling 23 seats to 13. They lost six seats in the Senate, dropping from 15 to nine. Republicans now have a strang...

Rep. Merrill Piepkorn (D-44) and Rep. Corey Mock (D-18) listen to Dickinson airport manager Kelly Braun's presentation. (Grady McGregor / The Dickinson Press)
Rep. Corey Mock (D-18), right, listens to a presentation at the Dickinson airport. (Grady McGregor / The Dickinson Press)

It has not been the best year for North Dakota Democrats.

Democrats lost 10 seats in the North Dakota House in 2016, going from controlling 23 seats to 13. They lost six seats in the Senate, dropping from 15 to nine.

Republicans now have a stranglehold on state government, with 81 House seats, 38 Senate seats, the governor's office, and every statewide office except for Democrat Heidi Heitkamp's U.S. Senate seat.

On a visit to Dickinson this week as part of a tour with the Energy Development and Transmission Committee, House Minority Leader Rep. Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, urged local Democrats to keep fighting in the face of an increasingly difficult political climate.

"These districts (in western North Dakota) are tough, but we don't run from that. We embrace the challenge," Mock said to about people. "It was difficult year, but we regrouped, we built, we persevered. That's where we are today."

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Mock described the difficulty of election night last year when, though he held his own seat, he watched Democratic colleagues from the Grand Forks area lose their seats one by one.

Mock said he's optimistic about the upcoming election cycle and encourages Democrats in western North Dakota and elsewhere to run for office.

"2018 is a very exciting year," he said. "In the House we have 48 seats, 24 seats in the Senate. We need to be competitive in all of them."

Mock also listened to the concerns of Dickinson-area residents about education, infrastructure and oil-impacted development.

"We are building our state's prosperity and we're mortgaging the lives and good fortunes of people in western North Dakota," he said. "You shouldn't have to bear the brunt of the development. You deserve so much better."

Mock argued that this low point for Democrats in North Dakota should be viewed as more of an opportunity than a challenge.

"When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose," he said. "We're like that squad from the Mighty Ducks. (Republicans) are so used to winning, they don't even know what they are fighting for. We're the team that's lucky to get a couple wins in a year."

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