On January 11th, we broke the news – while he was on the air with radio talk show host Scott Hennen – that Congressman Kevin Cramer had decided against a run at U.S. Senate. This left many Republicans across the state wondering if they were going to be stuck with Tom Campbell as the only choice for the party’s nominee to run against incumbent Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp.
Then on January 17th, we broke the news that Bismarck businessman Gary Emineth’s candidacy for U.S. Senate was beyond consideration and that he had made the decision to run. So, it was no surprise when we were contacted over the weekend and made aware that while Emineth’s official announcement was still to come, he is planning on attending Republican District Conventions that are yet to take place across the state.
In addition to this information, we were also told that Emineth was laying all the groundwork necessary for the campaign. This includes plans of not only going to the State Republican Convention, but to the June Primary. All of this comes as no surprise, because it’s been no secret that many in the party aren’t satisfied with a Tom Campbell candidacy– for a number of reasons. One of those being that he’s not really a conservative.
As a former NDGOP Chairman, Emineth understands politics and what it takes to run a campaign. He’s been involved in plenty of them at the state and national levels. This is unquestionably one of the reasons it’s taking him some time to make an official announcement. When he does it, I’m told, he’s going to do it right.
Aside from his conservative credentials, Emineth is no pushover. And to be honest, that’s what a lot of people like about him. Not only would he be more than willing to go toe to toe with Senator Heidi Heitkamp on the issues, but he’s already shown he’s not afraid to differentiate himself from Tom Campbell.
Emineth also has an uncanny ability to work with different factions within the Republican Party.
At the 2012 State Republican Convention, Mitt Romney surrogates were on hand to carry out a plan against other candidates’ delegates – namely Rick Santorum and Ron Paul – to hijack slots to the Republican National Convention. On principle, Emineth – a Santorum supporter at the time – took to the mic on the convention floor and spoke out against the “railroad job” taking place. One attendee told me this was a moment that won Emineth the respect of delegates from all three presidential camps.
Leading up to the 2016 State Republican Convention, Emineth was a supporter of Rick Becker’s run at the party’s endorsement for governor. After Becker lost in a close vote to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Emineth supported the eventual Primary/General Election winner Governor Doug Burgum. Considering this, he may be able to tap into the strong number of “Becker Backers” – and even some Burgum supporters – en route to his own convention run this coming April.
Additionally, Emineth was an early supporter of – and National Delegate for – President Donald Trump. You can see him here on CNBC, in May of 2016, speaking in support of Trump’s energy policy. In short, all of these things together could bode well for him at both the State Republican Convention and the June Primary.
At the end of the day, Republicans of all kinds will be left with one simple question– Who is best equipped to beat Heidi Heitkamp in a head to head General Election matchup? Between now and June, it will be up to the Emineth Campaign to convince North Dakotan’s of what many of us know already– that man is Gary Emineth.