Thursday, August 17, 2006

North Dakota’s Presidential Visits

Like many small population states, North Dakota has seen few presidential visits. With only 3 electoral votes, it often gets skipped over. So who has been to North Dakota?

According to the Bismarck Tribune, 11 sitting presidents have visited the state of North Dakota. Three more came before statehood. So what brings presidents to small states like North Dakota? Flooding works – that’s what brought Clinton in 1997. Eisenhower came to the tour the Garrison Dam in 1953. FDR came twice – but then he had longer than most! Nixon came for the opening of the Bismarck airport in 1970.

North Dakota State University’s Institute for Regional Studies has more information on some of these “visits.” According to them, Woodrow Wilson was in Fargo in 1919 to push the League of Nations and some North Dakotans boarded the train to see the president, but he stayed in bed so they never saw him! This site even provides how long the president was in the state – not very long in many cases!

This can probably be extrapolated to many small states - it takes a lot to get a presidential visit and those that do come are only there very shortly!

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