Changes in GOP convention process possible, after infighting

BISMARK, ND ( Associated Press) – North Dakota Republicans held their best convention ever Once over the weekend, and one that featured a rare public display of infighting between delegates. Vitriol between rank-and-file Republicans and the far-right faction of the GOP could alter future gatherings, including delaying conventions and candidate endorsements until after June’s primary elections.

The move to hold a post-primary convention in North Dakota is nothing new. The idea is that the voters’ favorite candidates will automatically receive the party’s support, rather than candidates fighting for the support of GOP workers before the election. Many states already do the same and post-primary conventions have been carried forward by the GOP government. Doug Burgum, say party workers.

In December, the idea of ​​a post-primary convention fell short of the required two-thirds majority among leaders in the state’s 47 districts to three votes, said GOP President Perry Schaefer.

Schaefer said the change hasn’t formally changed in the days following the conference, but if it does, he’s unlikely to support it. Instead, he said, he would like to see better behavior than to restart the long-standing convention process.

“I want people to act like they expect their kids to act,” Schaefer said.

A record 2,321 delegates attended the Bismarck Event Center’s conference on Saturday, highlighting the intrapartisan fight for delegates’ support. for the US Senate between incumbent John Howen and State Representative Rick Baker, who heads an ultra-conservative wing of the party. In the end, Hoeven narrowly won support. And Baker has promised that he will not run in the primary.

The general good-natured, upbeat rally-type mood was deepened by a notable lack of decorum at the recent GOP convention, with mockery and catcalls at times from Baker supporters.

Former Governor Ed Schaefer said Tuesday that the convention, advertised as “United as One,” hardly lived up to its billing.

“It was the most acrimonious convention I’ve seen,” said Schaefer, who served from 1992 to 2000.

Schaefer said he almost never took the stage to endorse Hoeven in a speech due to the party’s “splinter and tough manners from the rogue group”, many of whom called on US Senator Kevin Cramer during his fellow US senator’s support speech. provoked. ,

Both North Dakota Republicans and Democrats typically choose their preferred statewide candidates at party conventions. Candidates who are endorsed at political conventions are guaranteed a spot on the primary ballot, as well as guaranteed access to party mailing lists and fundraising resources. However, any candidate can run in any party’s primary by collecting petition signatures from at least 300 North Dakota voters.

To receive the Republican or Democratic nomination in November’s general election, a candidate must win the primary.

In most elections, this has not been an issue as the respective statewide candidates of political parties have run unopposed in the primary.

There have been notable exceptions on both sides. In 1992, when two Democratic Convention rivals for governor, Attorney General Nicholas Spaeth and the state Senate’s Democratic majority leader, Langdon’s William Haggard, closed down in the June primary after Haggard defeated Spaeth for Democratic Convention support.

Spieth won the primary, but lost to Ed Schaefer in the November general election. Republicans have since held the position of governor.

More recently, Burgum is the GOP example of an unapproved candidate who won both the primary and general election six years ago.