North Dakota voters split their votes at the polls and the results were freshly announced during this day’s morning sun in 1988. Vice President George Bush won North Dakota as well as the nation when he defeated challenger Michael Dukakis. Bush earned 54 percent of the national vote after serving as Vice President with popular President Ronald Reagan.
But in the expanse of North Dakota, the Democratic candidates had clout to wins elections. George Sinner retained the governor’s office easily handling the challenge of Leon Mallberg 60 to 40 percent.
Democrat Sarah Vogel cemented her place in state history, becoming North Dakota’s first woman elected as Agriculture Commissioner, gathering 45 percent of the vote against incumbent Kent Jones; Republican Keith Bjerke; and independent Harley McLain.
Quentin Burdick, longtime popular senator, handily triumphed over Republican challenger Earl Strinden. The winning incumbent was 80 years old at the time.
Democratic house member Byron Dorgan triumphed over Steve Sydness two-to-one.
Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, won the state Tax Commissioner race, following in Kent Conrad’s steps after he became a North Dakota Senator two years previously.
Earl Pomeroy, yet another Democrat, succeeded in the race for insurance commissioner easily beating Margaret Bushee.
The Democrats also won the elections for Treasurer, Attorney General and Secretary of State. But it wasn’t a clean sweep. Republicans did manage one statewide victory as Robert Peterson held on to his position as state auditor.
1988 now seems very far in the past.
By Steve Stark
The Fargo Forum