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Commentary: North Dakotans have a choice between Democrats who say they’ll govern like Republicans and actual Republicans

Former state Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider announced his bid for the U.S. House of Representatives in Grand Forks on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. Sam Easter / Forum News Service

Over the weekend the Associated Press had an interesting article about the crop of Democratic U.S. House candidates – former state lawmakers Mac Schneider and Ben Hanson, alongside current state Senator John Grabinger – who have emerged since incumbent Republican Kevin Cramer announced his candidacy for the Senate.

“North Dakota’s Democratic U.S. House hopefuls are taking a page from party star and U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s playbook by painting themselves as independent-minded politicians who will buck national party leaders if their policies veer too far from the state’s right-leaning electorate,” reads the lede in the AP article.

You really have to question how authentic all this is. After all, Heitkamp’s self-styled independence seems to be a product of electoral politics. As vote pattern data from Congressional Quarterly (paywall, unfortunately) shows us, Heitkamp voted with her fellow Democrats and President Barack Obama’s positions nearly all of the time for the first two years of her term.

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