Democratic House Candidate Forgets to Mention That Time Voters Kicked Him Out of the Legislature

Former state Rep. Ben Hanson, a Democrat from West Fargo, speaks on the floor of the North Dakota House of Representatives during the 2016 legislative session. Hanson is now running for the U.S. House.

Ben Hanson, who announced earlier this month his candidacy for the U.S. House seat currently occupied by Republican Kevin Cramer, wrote on Medium about why he launched his campaign.

It’s titled, very creatively, “Why I’m running for Congress.”

Most of the text is the usual sort of rote talking points we get from politicians. It’s long on generalities about the economy and bipartisanship and very short on specific policy ideas. But what I did find interesting is the part where Hanson talked about his time in the Legislature:

My family has a tradition of being deeply involved in and giving back to the communities that have done so much for them. It’s a North Dakota value I embraced from a young age. And It wasn’t long before I knew I needed to carry on with this tradition. Like my grandfather before me, my path forward for engaging in my community was to run for office.

The first time I ran, I was 19 years old and I ran for the Fargo Park Board. I was unsuccessful, but undeterred. I knew I would run again, and I did. And at 25 years old, I became a member of the North Dakota State House of Representatives.

For four years I served as a Democrat representing a burgeoning West Fargo district. West Fargo isn’t a Republican or a Democratic district. It’s a place where families and young people are finding room to grow in their lives and their careers.

As their representative, I fought for greater transparency in our state elections, consumer protections that could better meet the needs of our changing world, and a pro-growth regulatory environment that would make North Dakota one of the leading suppliers of good technology jobs. I want to continue to represent the people of North Dakota and share their stories on a national stage. I want to bring the voices of North Dakotans to the halls of Washington, D.C. And I want to bring our traditions and values to bear on the decisions being made in Congress.

Hanson touts his record of public service, which is one failed run for Fargo Park Board and one four-year stint in the state Legislature which ended when the voters in West Fargo’s District 16 gave him the fewest number of votes out of four candidates last year.

Now a statewide candidate for the U.S. House, Hanson says he wants to “continue to represent the people of North Dakota,” and yet the people of District 16 sent him packing after just one term.

I feel like that fact, out of all of Hanson’s thin resume of public service, is one of the most pertinent to voters in the 2018 cycle.

What is it about Hanson which caused District 16 voters to turn on him?

That’s the question worth asking.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from 1-2pm weekdays.

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