Voters across North Dakota are now in the process of a mail-only primary election. And with that, contested races are heating up. One of those is the race for State Treasurer.
As you’re likely aware, on the Republican side, this race pits State Representatives Dan Johnston (R – District 24) and Thomas Beadle (R – District 27) against one another for the party’s nomination. While this race is about becoming State Treasurer, I think it’s important that voters consider the stark differences between these two candidates on some very important issues.
As I mentioned in a previous article, the American Conservative Union (ACU) has both these candidates pretty well pegged. During the 2019 Legislative Session, Rep. Johnston scored an 85% (Lifetime is 88%) on the ACU’s ratings. Rep. Beadle came in at 50% (Lifetime is 56%).
To give that some perspective, the most liberal Republican in the House was Rep. George Keiser (R – District 47). He scored a 48% (Lifetime is 49%)— just 2% less than Beadle. The most conservative Democrat in the State House last session was Rep. Tracy Boe (D – District 9). He had a 62% ranking (Lifetime is 43%).
So, with that, let’s take a look at some key issues.
There’s little question that there’s significant differences between Rep. Beadle and Rep. Johnston when it comes to the issue of guns.
When Johnston was voting in favor of legislation to reduce the penalty for possession of a firearm or dangerous weapon to an infraction, Beadle joined nine Democrats in voting against it.
When Johnston was voting in favor of expanding a person’s ability to defend themselves with Stand Your Ground legislation, Beadle was voting against it.
When Johnston was voting in favor of banning the use of taxpayer dollars for Gun Buyback Programs, Beadle was voting against it.
On the abortion issue, we again find a significant difference between Rep. Beadle and Rep. Johnston. As you can see here, Beadle openly admits to being pro-choice. Johnston is a staunch advocate for life and has even been endorsed by the Family Policy Alliance.
The records back it all up. Whether it was placing limitations on abortions after a heartbeat is detected, banning abortions after 20 weeks (with exceptions), or mandating a woman be notified of the possibility of reversing a chemical abortion, Beadle voted against all of it— and more.
Thomas Beadle first came into the legislature in 2011. Just two years later (2013), the legislature set a record for General Fund Appropriation with a whopping $6.86 Billion (Total Budget Appropriation was $13.74 Billion). In the short span of two sessions, the legislature had more than doubled the General Fund Budget.
By August of 2016, lawmakers were called into special session, by then Governor Jack Dalrymple, to address a projected $310 million budget shortfall. While the excuse for the shortfall was depressed prices for crude oil and agricultural commodities, let’s be honest— a huge part of the problem was that the legislature was spending way too much.
In November of 2016 — just three months after the aforementioned special session — Dan Johnston was elected to the State House in District 24, along with some conservatives from other districts. And while Johnston and his conservative colleagues saw a reduction in spending their first session (2017), they couldn’t stop the increases of 2019. In fact, it should be noted that a record Total Budget of $14.69 Billion was passed.
So, where was Beadle when this record spending was taking place? Was he railing against it? Was he sounding a warning voice? Nope. (Feel free to check his Video History here, here, here, and here if you don’t believe me.) Was he voting against the spending? Not so much.
In fact, while Beadle was voting for Government Funding of the Arts, Johnston was voting against it.
When Beadle was voting to put our tax dollars — to the tune of $15 Million — at risk by loaning money to the tech industry, Johnston was voting against it.
We could go on. Suffice it to say, that Thomas Beadle is no fiscal conservative.
There’s much more that could be said about the differences between these two candidates. Surely some might argue that certain issues aren’t related to the office of State Treasurer. And that might be a fair statement. But should Republicans vote for a candidate like Beadle when he has a record that resembles something more of a Democrat than it does a Republican?
Furthermore, let’s not forget that the State Treasurer sits on some very important boards. When decisions are made — and votes are cast — on the State Board of Equalization, State Investment Board, Teachers Fund Retirement Board, or the Board of University and School Lands; do you want a proven fiscal conservative casting those votes? Or do you prefer a big government spender?
The differences between these two candidates is striking. For the sake of North Dakota, I hope voters get it right.
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