Published November 18, 2021

Senator Erin Oban Announces She Won't Seek Re-Election

Written by
Greg Demme
| The Dakotan
Erin Oban [Photo: North Dakota Legislative Assembly]
Erin Oban [Photo: North Dakota Legislative Assembly]

BISMARCK — North Dakota Senator Erin Oban, D-Dis. 35, Bismarck, announced Thursday, Nov. 18, she will not seek re-election in 2022 when her current term expires. In a detailed post on her Facebook page, Sen. Oban explained the reasons for her decision.

“This is not me quitting or giving up,” she wrote. “I’m simply giving myself permission to do what I need in order to keep going.”

Sen. Oban, also the current Assistant Minority Leader, explained, “When I ran for office in 2014, I hoped to use my combination of head and heart, of love and logic, to represent the people of District 35 if they would let me. They did, twice, and to . . . this day, seven years later, I am so humbled to have earned the trust of my neighbors to represent them in the ND Senate.”

“But in recent years,” Sen. Oban wrote, “everything, it seems, including politics, has gotten increasingly polarizing and way too personal.” She continued, “It’s obvious that the extreme rhetoric and divisiveness of the national scene have seeped into our state.”

“The depth of our debates [in the Senate] has diminished. The issues we argue are, oftentimes, inconsequential,” wrote Sen. Oban. “Logic and reason are being replaced by conspiracy and posturing, and my patience for it in general, but especially within those beautiful walls of the Senate, has worn thin.”

"Being a Democrat in a Republican city and state hasn't led me to this. The state of our politics has." Sen. Erin Oban, D-Dis. 35, Bismarck

Sen. Oban was clear that she understood the sacrifices required in public service. “The sacrifices haven’t given me pause,” she wrote. “Being a Democrat in a Republican city and state hasn’t led me to this. The state of our politics has.”

Sen. Oban urged other North Dakotans that it’s now their turn. “Set aside those fears of inadequacy (trust me, you’re more than adequate) or intimidation that might be holding you back. Our parks, schools, cities, counties, state, and country need you!”

This is the second senator from the Bismarck area within one week to announce an intention to not seek re-election. On Nov. 11, nearing the end of the recent legislative special session, Sen. Nicole Poolman, R-Dis. 7, Bismarck, also announced she would not seek re-election when her current term expires. At that time, she cited similar reasons for her decision, among other concerns, as Sen. Oban cited today.

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