House rejects measure to add party ID to local government candidates

Feb 21, 2019

Rep. Austen Schauer (R-West Fargo)

Rep. Scott Louser (R-Minot)

The House has rejected a bill that would require candidates for local elected office to declare a party affiliation.

Normally, local candidates run without a party ID. And local government officials want to keep it that way.

"Local leaders want to avoid partisanship, and remain bi-partisan," said Rep. Austen Schauer (R-West Fargo). "The committee viewed HB 1375 as picking a fight with the locals, and we decided not to do that."

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Scott Louser (R-Minot), said he introduced the measure in the name of transparency, so local voters could have an insight into candidates’ ideologies.

"All politics is local," Louser told his House colleagues. "Let's stop hiding behind an outdated law, and pretending that it's not. In small towns, everybody knows somebody's political affiliation. So there shouldn't be a problem here."

The bill failed on a 53 to 37 vote.