Shaw: Cara Mund's strong showing and other election thoughts

Columnist Jim Shaw shares his analysis of the recent election results.

Jim Shaw
Jim Shaw
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Here’s hoping that Cara Mund runs for office again in North Dakota. Only losing by 25% was quite remarkable considering she got into the House race late, ran against an established Republican incumbent, ran as an independent, had little money, and had no staff to help her. It should be noted that she outperformed all the statewide Democratic Party candidates by about 10%.

With more than 235,000 votes counted, Armstrong had 62.0% of the vote, compared to Mund's 37.7%.

It should also be noted that North Dakotans have a history of electing people after they have lost. Republican Ed Schafer lost a race for Congress in 1990 by 30%, only to be elected governor two years later. Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer ran for Congress twice against Earl Pomeroy and lost both times. The gold standard for perseverance goes to Democrat Quentin Burdick, who lost six races over 22 years, before finally being elected to Congress.

Possible options for Mund include running against Cramer for the Senate, running for a possible open seat for governor or running for a possible open seat for Congress. Rumor has it that Rep. Kelly Armstrong is looking at running for governor, if Gov. Doug Burgum does not seek a third term.

If she does run again, Mund should consider taking money from PACs (political action committees). It was admirable that she didn’t accept money from them this time, but voters don’t really care about that. Also, if allowed, she might want to consider running as a Republican in a primary.

Cara Mund is smart, poised and passionate. North Dakota would be well-served if she was elected to statewide office.


Probably the biggest loser in the election in North Dakota was Senate candidate Rick Becker , who underperformed with just 18% of the vote. He finished a distant third. Becker badly wants to be elected to statewide office, but it’s hard to see a path forward for him.

Incumbent Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., seeking his third Senate term, faced challenges from independent Rick Becker on the right and Democrat Katrina Christiansen on the left.

Good to see the term limits measure was overwhelmingly approved by North Dakota voters. Some say we don’t need term limits because we have elections. In North Dakota, that’s not necessarily true. We didn’t have real elections in more than half the legislative races, as candidates ran unopposed. The only way for some of those entrenched legislators to leave is by term limits. Even with the new term limits, state legislators can still serve for 16 years, which is long enough.

Congrats to Republican Steve Swiontek for being elected to the North Dakota House after serving there 38 years ago. That has to be some sort of a record. Steve is a very good man, and is a strong addition to the House.

Congrats to Hamida Dakane for being the first African American elected to the North Dakota Legislature. That was long overdue.

Good things could happen in Minnesota now that Gov. Tim Walz has been re-elected and Democrats control the Legislature. Those things include $1,000 or $2,000 rebate checks to taxpayers, legalized recreational marijuana, and death with dignity.

Congrats to Rob Kupec for being elected to the Minnesota State Senate . I worked with him at KVRR-TV. Rob is smart, articulate and compassionate.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.


Bills in the ND Legislature are aimed at banning books at local libraries, telling cities how they must hold elections, telling universities what they can’t teach, and telling school districts to teach fetal development.

Opinion by Jim Shaw
InForum columnist Jim Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.
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