Can ND’s Fractured Republican Party Leadership Ever Get Along?

NDGOP Chairman Rick Berg

The State Committee for the North Dakota Republican Party (NDGOP) is set to meet this weekend in Medora. And after a tumultuous season of district reorganization meetings, it’s shaping up to be a very contentious event.

In the case of the aforementioned reorganization meetings, there were reports that some districts did things like:

  • ignore or made last-minute changes to bylaws
  • failed to provide bylaws to district members upon request
  • failed to notice meetings according to the law
  • made last minute changes to venue
  • and shut Republicans from other districts out from observing the proceedings of their reorganization meetings.

Each one, if true, is embarrassing— to say the least.

According to our sources, party in-fighting hasn’t stopped there though. In the time since reorganization meetings have wrapped up, tension leading up to this weekend has manifested itself in a variety of ways. The more prominent ones came in the form of Resolutions (Note: Resolutions are submitted by individual district chairs to the entire State Committee for consideration.):

  1. Proposed Resolution to Establish the Word “Nazi” as Hate Speech – Why was this submitted for the State Committee’s consideration? It’s alleged that while having a disagreement, some time during the reorganization process, that a conservative Republican referred to District 7 Chair Claus Lembke — who is not only regarded as an establishment figure on the State Committee, but has a German accent — as a Nazi.
  2. Proposed Resolution to Censure National Committeewoman Lori Hinz – During the district reorganization meetings, some districts moved to censure establishment Republican legislators. The reasons were somewhat varied, but it boiled down to the grassroots being dissatisfied with their representation in Bismarck. For Hinz — a member of the Executive Committee and not a legislator — the claim is that she supported a pro-life Democrat (Mark Haugen) over the pro-choice Republican (Thomas Beadle) in the 2020 Treasurer’s race. On top of that, apparently her role as co-host on Rick Becker’s TV show and organizing a “Stand with Trump” rally without permission have rubbed some fellow Republicans the wrong way. To be honest, the move to censure Hinz — who is widely regarded as a grassroots conservative herself — seems more retaliatory to the aforementioned district censures than anything else.
  3. Proposed Resolution to Censure 2nd Vice Chair Carma Hanson – Hanson — who is also seen by many as an establishment figure on the State Executive Committee — allegedly admitted to voting against adopting the party’s Resolutions in 2020. Thus, the argument is that by voting against them — and admitting to it — that she’s violated the purpose of her office, which is to promote Republican ideals. This resolution came about after the proposal to censure Lori Hinz. In other words, it’s very likely that it was retaliatory as well.

We’ve been informed that, as of today, each one of these proposals has been rescinded from consideration at Saturday’s meeting. But does that indicate some form of unity is on the horizon in North Dakota’s Republican Party? I’d say that’s doubtful.

Why do I say it’s doubtful? For starters, I’m told that the reason given for rescinding the censures had to do with time constraints of the meeting. Meaning, those proposing them could bring them up again in the future.

In addition, there’s other issues still floating around that are potentially divisive. Here’s a few:

  1. Angst of Some Towards the College Republicans and Young Republicans Having a Vote on the Committee – I wrote about this last month. The College Republican aspect of this has some twists and turns to it. Recent developments over who will be recognized as the State Chair of that organization are intriguing— to say the least. I’ll write more on those developments at a later time, but suffice it to say that some folks aren’t going to be happy when the dust settles. How outgoing NDGOP State Chair Rick Berg leads on this issue will speak volumes to whether he favors power or principle.
  2. Proposal to Form a Committee that Sets a Legislative Agenda – Let’s be honest. Some folks in the party think its purpose is to win elections and little more. Others believe winning is important, but that it should be done on the basis of the platform and resolutions. In other words, a party that puts its money where it’s mouth is. This proposal suggests forming a committee that will develop a legislative agenda, propose legislation, notify members of status of bills, and publish a report of how each legislator voted. In other words, it’s about advocacy and accountability. Some folks don’t like that.
  3. Proposed Changes to the State Bylaws – There’s a move to revamp the State Bylaws. There’s some concerns over this. Quite frankly, there’s too much to discuss here. But what’s frustrating some folks is that the powers that be are allegedly going to try pushing the changes through before election of officers even takes place at the meeting. In other words, candidates who are vying for spots on the Executive Committee are campaigning under one set of rules when they might be elected under a new set. For example, the chairs of the College Republicans and Young Republicans are currently voting members of the committee. If the proposed changes are adopted, they won’t be. Why? Because one of the changes makes them non-voting members. As a result, some candidates could potentially lose two votes by considering the changes before election of officers, rather than after.

We could go on. There’s certainly other aspects to all of this worth discussing. Suffice it to say, there’s not only very strong philosophical differences on the State Committee, but there’s some hard feelings too. It’s highly unlikely these will come anywhere close to being resolved on a Saturday in Medora.

Indeed, it seems the war rages on inside the North Dakota Republican Party.

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Sources:

  1. State Committee – North Dakota Republican Party (ndgop.org)
  2. Establishment Republicans are Ignoring the Reality of District Reorgs – The Minuteman Blog
  3. (4) ND SBHE Member Claus Lembke Talks About Decision To Step Down – YouTube
  4. NDGOP Meeting Could be Rough for ND Young Republicans & College Republicans – The Minuteman Blog
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About T. Arthur Mason 859 Articles
T. Arthur Mason is a native North Dakotan who has spent nearly all of his life in the Peace Garden State. As the third of four children in Western North Dakota, Mason grew to appreciate family and the outdoors. Some of his fondest memories are annual deer hunts with family and friends. In his early teenage years, faith became a central part of T. Arthur Mason's life. He and the majority of his family attend church together on a weekly basis and find this a fulfilling aspect of their lives. Through the influence of his father, T. Arthur Mason became intrigued with politics. As a boy, he attended political events with his father and enjoyed the friendships that resulted as a byproduct of those political associations. As Mason grew older, he became convinced that the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson was true, "That government is best which governs least." Today, T. Arthur Mason enjoys time with his wife and children, an occasional hunt, and an increasingly active life on the political scene. This blog is the fulfillment of a dream to design a web site in the realm of politics and to advocate for the principles of Liberty and constitutionally limited government. On behalf of all those that contribute to The Minuteman, we hope you enjoy your time on the site and will share the message with others.