As 2016 comes to an end, we look back at the state’s worst politicians. There were many deserving candidates, but we limited ourselves to ten.
Sharp-eyed readers will notice several glaring omissions, but that’s because we tried to avoid a few easy targets (Congressman Kevin Cramer comes to mind) in order to highlight some lesser-known dunces. Unfortunately for the state of democracy, we could have easily expanded this list to 20 people, but nobody’s got time for that.
State Sen. David Clemens
A true gem of awfulness, this newly elected Republican from West Fargo wants to restrict voting because the state is becoming “more diverse.” He’s also on record opposing “sodomite” marriage. In the 1990s, he received an illegal loan from a Christian non-profit. He looks exactly like Captain Kangaroo.
State Rep. Randy Boehning
This illiterate Republican from Fargo is most famous for voting against legal protections for gay people while also sending a picture of his dick on Grindr. He’s also a prolific ranter on Facebook. He recently called Hillary Clinton a “lying bitch,” a “lier,” and a “bitch” (again). Boehning also made light of sexual assault, writing, “At least there are people to grop at a Trump rally no one shows up for a Hillary rally.” His spelling errors were so concerning that we set up a Gofundme fundraiser to buy him an English tutoring session. Unfortunately we raised only $5 of our $35 goal.
Governor Doug Burgum
The nouveau gov ran a nasty campaign, accusing his Republican primary opponent Wayne Stenehjem of supporting the Affordable Care Act. This is the same Wayne Stenehjem who as attorney general, sued to overturn Obamacare. Burgum also boasted of being “the only candidate for governor to endorse Donald Trump,” a badge of dishonor that showed just how low he was willing to stoop in order to win. After promising to bring innovation to the capitol, so far Burgum has assigned corporate-sounding titles to his staff, hired lawyers to figure out how he can refuse his salary, and suggested he may use a standing desk. He took no questions at his first press conference as governor.
The former governor used his final days in office to blame the Dakota Access pipeline controversy on everyone and everything except himself. Specifically, he blamed “social media.” “I try to do what I can, but I’m no match for that organization,” he complained earlier this month. He also said law enforcement, who sprayed protesters with water in subfreezing weather, showed “restraint.” A public records request by the Fargo Forum showed that Dalrymple sent zero (0) emails related to the pipeline protests from August to November.
State Rep. Matt Ruby
This young Republican from Minot was elected to the state House despite bragging on Facebook about being “such a good drunk driver.” In other Facebook posts, which we published in October, he insulted a police officer and talked about drinking booze while shooting a gun. His wife, Dana, also sent him a racist meme of Barack Obama as a chimpanzee along with the note, “Hahaa. I thought you’d like this!” Ruby was such a bad candidate candidate that his hometown newspaper, the Minot Daily News, endorsed every single local Republican candidate except him. Ruby’s father, state Rep. Dan Ruby (R-Minot), clarified in a statement to us that “Matt uses Facebook as a place to make jokes and references about actions that he thinks are dumb.”
Best known for saying “Make America Rape Again” during his unsuccessful campaign for North Dakota Insurance Commissioner, the Libertarian candidate subsequently penned a rant about PC culture. Apparently Bata didn’t understand that while he has the right to say “Make America Rape Again,” the voters also have the right to judge him for it.
Secretary of State Al Jaeger
This Republican oversaw an Election Day shitshow. Signs at polling stations told people an ID was required to vote, which isn’t true. After the Fargo Forum noticed, an election official responded: “Hopefully before too long, we’ll get that corrected.” Also, students at North Dakota State University were told they could lose their financial aid by voting without ID, which isn’t true.
This cherubic fellow was the Democratic State Senate Minority Leader until he was voted out on Nov. 8. Despite benefiting from name recognition (his uncle and cousin were legislators, his father was the Democratic party chairman and his mother is a legislator) and getting a $5,000 campaign injection from his own party, he failed to win re-election in relatively liberal Grand Forks.
State Sen. Janne Myrdal
In an interview late last year, this legislative candidate said she would not push for anti-abortion legislation if elected. “I don’t foresee, nor does any other pro-life leader in the state, any other legislation coming forth on the life issue,” she told the Grand Forks Herald. Strange…because in her campaign literature, she listed “Defend Life at All Stages” as one of her “Legislative Priorities.” This year, she also met with a Los Angeles-based conservative activist to chat about anti-abortion strategy. The activist, Thomas Schmitz, posted on Facebook that he and Myrdal were planning “a Pro-Life coup!” “When North Dakota becomes our first Pro-Life State (It’s coming), Janne is one of the main hard-working people to thank,” he wrote. Myrdal ended up winning a seat representing District 10, near Grand Forks.
Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn
This Donald Trump wannabe recently embarked on a crusade against refugees. A reporter for Breitbart.com just happened to be in the audience when Piepkorn sounded off at a meeting Oct. 10. Lately, Piepkorn has been pitching a ridiculous plan to poach Wells Fargo’s operations from Minneapolis. He also won’t say if he believes climate change is real.
Who did we miss? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: Mac Schneider was the senate minority leader, not majority leader. We regret the error.