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Other Views: You can’t play without players

If the North Dakota Democratic NPL Party were a baseball team, it would be struggling in the minor leagues. Or the little leagues. Spin it until they themselves are dizzy, party leaders are not convincing when they paint a happy face on the situa...

If the North Dakota Democratic NPL Party were a baseball team, it would be struggling in the minor leagues. Or the little leagues. Spin it until they themselves are dizzy, party leaders are not convincing when they paint a happy face on the situation.

The latest indication of decline came last week when the party lost a potentially good candidate to challenge for the state’s open governor’s seat. Former state ag commissioner and

Bismarck attorney Sarah Vogel bowed out after a lengthy flirtation with a possible candidacy that even included raising money. Party officials were surprised and disappointed. But

Vogel analyzed a decidedly Democrat-unfriendly political landscape and concluded her time and energy could be spent in more productive pursuits.

She’s right. Recent history underscores the Democrats’ plight. When excellent candidates such as former legislators Jasper Schneider (insurance commissioner candidate in 2008) and

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Ryan Taylor (ag commissioner candidate two years ago against a flawed Republican incumbent) can’t win, Vogel’s decision looks sensible. And when Vogel, who was prominent on the political stage 20 long years ago, has to be convinced to at least consider a run for governor, it’s painfully clear the bench in the party’s dugout is bereft of major league talent.

Not only are Democrats without a candidate for governor, they also have no one seeking endorsements for U.S. Senate against John Hoeven and U.S. House against Kevin Cramer, the

Republican incumbents. And the party’s endorsing convention in Bismarck is less than two months away.

If Democrats want to play political hardball, they at least have to field a team. It ain’t happenin.’

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