Two days ago when we broke the news that Congressman Kevin Cramer had changed his mind and decided to run for U.S. Senate, our source to that information also mentioned that current NDGOP Chairman Kelly Armstrong was considering the possibility of a run at the seat Cramer would be vacating in the U.S. House. This morning another source told me the same thing. And after a phone call earlier today to someone close to Armstrong, it was confirmed that this is indeed the case.
In addition to Armstrong being the current chairman of the NDGOP, he is also a State Senator from District 36. We recently ran a story on him about the vital role he is playing in cleaning up some language in regards to the aftermath of the new Constitutional Carry law. As a State Senator, Armstrong had a voting record with The American Conservative Union Foundation’s “2017 Ratings of North Dakota” that placed him at a 71% — good enough for 4th best in the North Dakota State Senate.
As Armstrong lets things play out with Kevin Cramer getting ready to formally announce his bid against Senator Heidi Heitkamp, while mulling his own possibilities for U.S. House, this can’t all sit well with U.S. Senate candidate Tom Campbell. Campbell has cancelled plans to attend some district conventions and appears to be left with little choice but to switch his campaign to U.S. House. Yet, this isn’t really surprising to us here at The Minuteman. Way back in November we speculated that after everything played out, Campbell could very well be the odd man out for both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House.
Admittedly, when we published that article back in November, it was for very different reasons. At the time, the NDGOP was flirting with the possibilities of Border States Electric CEO Tammy Miller and Western North Dakota geologist Kathleen Neset being potential candidates for the U.S. Senate. Of course, the fact that those conversations even took place within NDGOP leadership allegedly didn’t sit very well with the Campbell campaign.
There’s little question that others either are or will be considering their own runs at the Republican nomination for U.S. House. But if the possibility of Kelly Armstrong jumping in becomes a reality, it could spell disaster for Tom Campbell. Not only does Armstrong have experience and connections within the NDGOP, but he’s smart. And I’m guessing that if he throws his hat in the ring, he’ll make dang sure that he has his ducks in a row while doing it.
What seemed like a mid-term election that was shaping up to be a complete bore, now may turn into one of the most fascinating election cycles North Dakota has had in some time. And to think… it’s less than two months away from the North Dakota Republican State Convention.