Two North Dakota Candidates Both Named Ben Hanson Run for Seat in Same District

Not only do they have the same name, they look a lot alike.

Hi, I'm Ben Hanson, and this is my other candidate, Ben Hanson. The case of two men with the same name running for the same North Dakota district sounds a lot like the classic "Newhart" schtick, "This is my brother Darryl, and my other brother Darryl."

But the real-life tale of Ben W. Hanson and Ben M. Hanson isn't the stuff of TV fame, though it has generated a considerable amount of amused publicity. 

They not only share the same first and last name, they are both Democrats, running for seats in the state legislature for District 46. Both are in their thirties, both grew up in Fargo, both graduated from the same college and both wear glasses and have beards.

So what's the difference?

"Well, Ben M. Hanson clearly has a superior beard to me," Ben W. told

There are two open seats from their district, so voters don't really have to choose between the two.

"It's North Dakota nice, vote Ben Hanson twice," said Ben M.

"Name recognition is a huge huge battle," Ben M. told Inforum. "So right of the bat, we're kind of one in the same, same team." The Hansons are running against two Republican incumbents. All four are expected to pass the June 9 primary because they're uncontested within their parties.

There's also "sitting representative, Carla Rose Hanson, and there's another Hanson running up in Mayville," Ben W. explained. "I can't remember his first name. So we may just form a whole Hanson caucus when we get out there."