Establishment Republicans in North Dakota are doing everything they can to hang on to power in the NDGOP. They might ignore the realities of an inner party “civil war” that clearly surfaced a year ago, participate in power grabs, and silence the voices of delegates at a state convention. But there’s one thing they simply cannot control— and in time it will change the face of the party. It’s Young Republicans.
Make no mistake about it, many of the establishmentarians are fully aware of this reality. It drives them crazy. Thus, it’s likely one reason there was a state party rule change just four months ago that removed the Young Republican vote from the NDGOP State Committee and gave them ex-officio non-voting status instead. It was a pathetic move— especially from those who supported it under the guise of “dual representation”. Why is that pathetic? Because every voting member of the Executive Committee — who is permitted to vote along with the district chairs — also represents dual representation. There’s one word for these people— hypocrites. If you’re going to remove the one, you must remove them all. That’s called consistency. But I digress.
Why is it that the Republican political establishment is less than ecstatic about the Young Republicans? I think I can boil it down to two basic reasons:
- They’re effective.
- They’re very conservative— something establishmentarians are not.
In December of 2017, a group of Liberty-loving Young Republicans swept into power at the organization’s inaugural state convention. Reed Christensen — who truly embodies what it means to be a limited government Republican — beat out Dawson Schefter for the chair seat. Schefter had been appointed by then NDGOP State Chair Kelly Armstrong to lead the group until it reorganized. He later went on to work for Governor Doug Burgum as campaign manager. He’s now known to represent the governor at state committee meetings and is a partner in a political consulting firm. Schefter’s defeat in 2017 soured many establishment Republicans towards those who prevailed that day.
With Reed Christensen at the helm, North Dakota Young Republicans quickly established themselves as being both dependable and effective in state-wide politics. So much so that U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer not only acknowledged their contributions to his winning campaign in 2018, but to the state and to the country as well.
Today, “YR’s” are led by State Chairman Daryle Mindeman— who also embodies the principles of limited government conservatism. Their list of accomplishments is extensive— to say the least. For example, one of their members — Sierra Heitkamp — was Executive Director of North Dakota Right to Life. State Representative Cole Christensen (District 24) — brother to Reed — is also National Committeeman for the Young Republicans. He’s now running for re-election. There are certainly other things that could be mentioned.
Overall, there are nine legislative races this year that include candidates who are Young Republicans. That number alone is impressive, though maybe by now it shouldn’t surprise us. After all, the organization’s stated mission is to “Recruit, Train, and Elect!” In other words, these young people say what they mean and do what they say.
It may well be that not all nine of those candidates survive the primary and/or claim legislative seats in November. But this much is a reality— there’s change coming for the NDGOP. The power elite can fight it and hang on for all they’re worth to the stranglehold they’ve enjoyed for so long. But that grip seems to be loosening. In fact, at this point, change seems inevitable.
The future of the NDGOP appears to be true limited government conservatism. And I, for one, am excited about that.
Thank God for North Dakota’s Young Republicans.
(Editorial Note: In the American Conservative Union’s most recent rankings for the North Dakota Legislature, three of the top ten were Young Republicans. Those are Representatives Cole Christensen, Matthew Ruby, and Claire Cory.)
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- Establishment Republicans are Ignoring the Reality of District Reorgs – The Minuteman Blog
- The NDGOP, Legislature, & Power Grab You Didn’t Know About – The Minuteman Blog
- Establishment Silences Delegates at NDGOP Convention – The Minuteman Blog
- North Dakota Young Republicans (ndyr.org)
- State Committee – North Dakota Republican Party (ndgop.org)
- Young Republican State Convention Dominated by Liberty Movement – The Minuteman Blog
- Rough Rider Ventures | Consulting
- (166) Sen. Kevin Cramer Adresses 2018 NDYR Convention – YouTube
- What We Do — North Dakota Young Republicans (ndyr.org)
- Lawmakers | ACU Ratings (conservative.org)