Article by Justin Labar,
After a blistery day of cold and questionable road conditions, the District 2 and 4 Republicans met in a combined convention last Thursday at Stanley High School. The purpose of the convention was to hear from statewide candidates and to elect delegates to the NDGOP State Convention to be held April 6-8 in Grand Forks.
The mood of the convention appeared to be quite different than it might have been. Just two days before, the news broke that Congressman Kevin Cramer had decided to jump into the U.S. Senate race in hopes of securing the Republican nomination to take on Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp. The importance of Republicans supporting Cramer in his campaign was mentioned a number of times throughout the evening.
The keynote speaker for the event was Lt. Governor Brent Sanford. District 4 Chairman, Chuck Walen, introduced Sanford as “the best Lt. Governor in the country”—a phrase often repeated by Governor Doug Burgum.
Sanford referred to 2017 as “the year of thank God for Republicans.” He hearkened back to the 2016 election of Donald Trump and reminded those gathered of how different things might be if we had a Hillary Clinton administration.
One of the bigger challenges of 2017 came in efforts to resolve issues resulting from the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Sanford expressed his gratitude for Governor Doug Burgum and his role in helping bring things to an end.
Other issues mentioned by the Lt. Governor was his gratitude for having a Republican majority in the North Dakota State Legislature to deal with the budget crunch of the 2017 Legislative Session, drought conditions that plagued the state, the need to reinvent education, dealing with behavioral health issues, and the “number one priority” of beating Heidi Heitkamp.
Due to weather conditions, it was a difficult night for many candidates to attend in person. Nevertheless, we heard from:
- Don Longmuir (District 2) on behalf of Tom Campbell, who has since switched his U.S. Senate campaign to U.S. House.
- Paul Schaffner, who was running for U.S. Senate, but announced he would be switching to the U.S. House race as well.
- Daryl Lies spoke on behalf of Congressman Kevin Cramer for U.S. Senate.
- DuWayne Hendrickson, who is running for the fifth time for U.S. House.
- Bill Oliver (District 4) read a letter from Secretary of State Al Jaeger, who is seeking re-election.
- Will Gardner, who is challenging incumbent Al Jaeger for the NDGOP endorsement for Secretary of State.
- Tom Bodin spoke on behalf of Doug Goehring, who is running for re-election as Ag Commissioner.
- Justin LaBar spoke on behalf of Brian Kroshus, who is finishing out the term he was appointed to by Governor Doug Burgum as Public Service Commissioner. He is running to retain that seat.
- State Senator Jordan Kannianen spoke on behalf of Randy Christmann, who is running for re-election as Public Service Commissioner.
To finish out the evening, NDGOP Chairman Kelly Armstrong spoke to the convention about the importance of the upcoming election and of becoming delegates to the State Convention. After the conclusion of his remarks, the two districts split up to conduct business and to elect delegates.
There are many delegate spots still available. If you’re interested in attending the NDGOP State Convention, please contact your District Chairman—Justin LaBar (District 2) or Chuck Walen (District 4).
Labar currently serves as the Chairman for District #2 Republicans.
*Ian Grande is the Editor of the Stanley Gazette. If you have any comments or concerns please email StanleyGazette@gmail.com
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