WASHINGTON -- North Dakota Republicans have sent mail to voters in legislative districts across the eastern part of the state saying that only Republican legislators will be able to make decisions in the state.
The mail piece, which has brought anger from Democrats, asks if residents want their state legislator to have a seat at the table to make decisions. The text explains that Republicans control the state government and will be making decisions. The mail piece has been sent out in at least four competitive districts in the eastern part of the state and was paid for by the Republican caucuses in both the state House and Senate.
The mailer reads:
It is an important question. Will your members of the North Dakota House of Representatives or Senate be at the table when decisions are made about tax relief, education funding and investment in roads, law enforcement and healthcare? You will be heard if you vote Republican. The voters of North Dakota have entrusted Republicans with both houses of the state legislature and the governor's office. It is Republicans who will set the agenda and make decisions of the future of this state.
A copy of the mailer sent to voters in the 42nd District in Grand Forks can be seen here. The mailer was also sent to voters in the 16th District in Fargo, the 18th District in Grand Forks and the 20th District, which is located between Fargo and Grand Forks.
North Dakota Republicans have also sent the mailer to voters in the 46th District in Fargo.
The spokeswoman and executive director for the North Dakota Republican Party did not return requests for comment.
North Dakota Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) told The Huffington Post Wednesday afternoon that the mail piece was targeted at Republican voters as a way to tell them that they needed to vote in order to elect like-minded legislators.
"This means if you don't get out and vote and support your candidates, then your people won't be in those chairs," Wardner said. "Someone else will be."
Democrats are outspoken against the mailer, with Gail Mooney, a House candidate in the 20th District calling it "absolutely absurd and obscene" in a blog post on her campaign website and characterizing it as a call for a dictatorship.
Rep. Corey Mock (D-Grand Forks) told The Huffington Post that Democrats have been able to work with Republicans on a number of issues, including increasing education funding, property tax reduction, tuition caps and infrastructure investment. Mock, who is running in the 42nd District, called the GOP message either "partisan arrogance at its best and voter intimidation at its worst."
"Furthermore, their tone insinuates that only Republicans are welcome at the table during North Dakota's legislative process." Mock said. "This is not only arrogant, but insulting to those who've fought to create and preserve our democracy. Their tone should offend every teacher, veteran, civil servant, and every North Dakotan that believes in the founding principle that we are governed by the will of the majority while preserving the rights of the minority."
Wardner, who said someone else developed the theme of the mailer, said he did not understand how Mock and Mooney could think it diminished Democrats' role. He said that there are "good people" on the Democratic side in the state legislature and that they have been working with Republicans. He said that the mail piece does not mean that Democrats will be shut out of the decision-making process.
"I don't see this as being arrogent or trying to intimidate the Democrats," Wardner said.
North Dakota Republicans have wide margins in both houses of the state legislative, which they are likely to maintain in next week's election. Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) has been leading his Democratic opponent, Senate Minority Leader Ryan Taylor (D-Towner), in the polls.
Last week in western New York, Republican congressional candidate Chris Collins conveyed a similar message in a debate against Rep. Kathy Hochul (D). Collins said he'd be more effective than Hochul since he'd be in the majority and "in the room." Hochul said she was bipartisan and accused Collins of aligning with "extreme" Republicans.
This post has been updated to include additional information about districts receiving the mailer, and to include comment from state Sen. Rich Wardner.