by Jacques Harvieux
At first, optimism filled the air on Election Day at the Fargo Billiards and Gastropub. Earlier, Cole Haymond, the political strategist and campaign adviser for Legalize ND, expressed his optimism.
Here's a rundown of what we've done in the last week:
1. Direct mail - mailed to households in Bismarck and Minot
2. David Crosby radio ad - Bismarck/Minot/Grand Forks
3. $14k in Digital ads targeting women under 40 statewide
4. Digital Ads IP address targeting previous voters statewide/college campuses statewide
5. Used the app Hustle to text over 30k North Dakotans across the state
6. SSDP National making phone calls into the state. "They made roughly 10k calls for us,” Haymond said.
Supporters gathered into the party room, shuffling about from one television screen that had the results projected from an internet page and the other screens playing WDAY or KVLY. The early vote alone has approximately 145,000 people, a record in the State of North Dakota. Only 134,805 early votes were accounted for during the 2016 election in North Dakota.
The main table next to the large screen in the party room was filled with those that had the most significant influence upon the measure itself, donors, activists, and lobbyists.
When the numbers started coming in from the polls, it was slow. Updates happened fifteen minutes to a half an hour at a time. Haymond and David Owen, the chairman and author of Measure 3 remained optimistic but visibly concerned. The more rural counties were an easy guess at the turn-outs, and the number of supportive “yes” votes that would be received. The concern came with the larger more densely populated areas of North Dakota and the early votes.
At 11 p.m. all the votes of North Dakota and Measure 3 were not counted yet, but the reservation for the party room was over. The opposition lead 60 percent to 40 percent and was closing by the minute.
According to some, it’s a loss, but for many, as the saying goes, “It’s not over till the fat lady sings,” which won’t be until the morning. But for now, HPR caught up with Dave Owen to get his thoughts on the election.
High Plains Reader: Dave, noticing the result numbers right now, how are you feeling?
Dave Owen: I’m not feeling great, but it’s not over till it’s over. There’s a lot of absentees yet to be counted. There’s a lot of movement that can still happen late, but I’m not going to lie to you, it doesn’t look great right now.
HPR: Last minute how much effort did Legalize ND put in?
Owen: So in the past week we’ve hit 40,000 phone numbers and 20,000 doors. We fought hard, we just didn’t have the financial resources to fight it as hard as we would’ve wanted.
HPR: If the Measure loses what is the plan going on?
Owen: Looks like we’ll be back and we’re going to give it one more ride.
HPR: Have you thought of any new strategy concerning the next election?
Owen: Just the get out the vote thing. Let me give you an analogy, it took Republicans two tries to beat Heidi Heitkamp. It’s what we’re always taught if at first you don’t succeed try and try again. I’m not done fighting yet.
The message was clear, Legalize ND doesn't plan on going anywhere. The fight for reform lives on and lives to fight another day. Crew and support unharmed by a simple loss, the people push forward.
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