By John Celock
The Democratic ticket in a college-dominated district in North Dakota is making higher education a centerpiece of their first ad of the season.
North Dakota Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider, state Rep. Kylie Oversen and former U.S. Agriculture Department aide Grant Hauschild released an ad Wednesday focusing on their individual and collective achievements in the state’s 42nd Legislative District, centered around the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. Schneider is seeking his third term in the Senate, while Oversen is seeking her second House term and Hauschild is seeking his first term in the Legislature. Rep. Corey Mock (D-Grand Forks) is seeking reelection in a different district following a move to a different part of Grand Forks.
“Finding common ground and using common sense to get real results,” the ad describes the Democratic ticket.
The ad focuses on Schneider’s work on creating a student loan program in the state, while Oversen is touted as a “national recognized young leader” and notes her work on childcare and sick leave issues. Hauschild is noted for his work on college affordability and higher education transparency issues. Oversen, 28, also serves as the chairwoman of the North Dakota Democratic Party and is the youngest major party state chairperson in the nation.
The district centers on the University of North Dakota and has typically drawn young candidates, often with records of work on the UND campus. Schneider, 37, Oversen and Hauschild, 27, have backgrounds on the campus. Hauschild, who has also worked for U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), is a former student body vice president on campus. Both Schneider and Oversen succeeded young legislators in the district.
On the GOP side, both state House candidates, Emily O’Brien and Jake Blum are young UND connected candidates. O’Brien, a graduate student at UND, notes her service as a vice president for her undergraduate sorority, vice president of the Pan-Hellenic Council and chairwoman of UND’s Greek Advisory Board. Blum is a senior political science and criminal justice major at UND, where he has served on the executive team for the student government and he is a district vice chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party.
Schneider is facing former state Rep. Curt Kruen (R), a long time civic leader in Grand Forks. Kreun left the state House in 2014 after a single four-year term. He also served 10 years on the Grand Forks city commission and 10 years on the East Grand Forks Board of Education.
Schneider, Oversen and Hauschild’s tag line of “from Grand Forks, for Grand Forks,” harkens to other young candidates from around the country. Former New York City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Woodside), then 28, used the tag line of “from our neighborhood, for our neighborhood” in his successful 2001 campaign, while former Maryland state House candidate Jordan Cooper (D), then 28, used the tag line “from the community, for the community” in his unsuccessful 2014 campaign.