Last week, State Senator Kelly Armstrong resigned his post as Chairman of the NDGOP. This, of course, was because Armstrong decided to throw his hat into the ring for a shot at the U.S. House seat being vacated by Kevin Cramer.
With the State Republican Convention set to take place April 6th – 8th in Grand Forks, time is short for the NDGOP to find a replacement for Armstrong. Last week there were whispers in Republican circles that Congressman Rick Berg is interested in the position. We can now confirm that is indeed the case.
On Friday afternoon, Berg e-mailed the NDGOP State Committee and announced his desire to be the new chairman:
State Committee Members;
Thank you for your service on the State Committee of the North Dakota Republican Party. This year’s election cycle will be critical for North Dakota. We have a tremendous opportunity to elect three Republicans to Congress. It would be a historic accomplishment, one that would set America’s future on the right course.
With the current vacancy in the state party chairmanship, several people have encouraged me to fill that role. To achieve success in November, It’s important our state convention is well-run and fair to all candidates. It’s important that the party unites behind our Republican nominees and successfully coordinates through the campaign process with our endorsed candidates for victory this fall. As a former candidate and elected official, I believe I can help position our party for success in November, providing North Dakota taxpayers with the efficient government they deserve. Therefore, I’d consider it an exciting honor to fill the role as chairman if elected by the State Committee.
There has never been a better time to be a Republican in North Dakota. Now is the time to make the GOP even stronger by electing Republicans to our state and federal offices.
I’m ready to get to work.
As mentioned in his e-mail, Berg has extensive experience in the Republican Party. He served as a member of North Dakota’s House of Representatives from 1985 – 2011. He was Speaker of the House for the 1993 Legislative Session and Majority Leader from 2003 – 2009.
Though he served in the State Legislature for those many years, Rick Berg is best known for unseating Democratic incumbent Earl Pomeroy in the 2010 U.S. House race and then narrowly losing a bid for the U.S. Senate seat in 2012 to current Senator Heidi Heitkamp by 2,936 votes.
After months of speculation that Berg may seek a rematch with Heitkamp, in January he announced he’d decided against it. Once Congressman Kevin Cramer jumped into the U.S. Senate race, speculation sparked again that Berg may look to get his old seat back. But just three days ago, he took his name out of consideration for that office as well.
According to one NDGOP party insider, the State Committee will vote for a new chairman on March 20th, and it’s expected that Berg will not be challenged.