For some reason, State Senator Tom Campbell (R – District 19) really wants to be in Washington, DC. That, of course, is no surprise to those of us involved in political circles. Campbell made it clear – long before he ever officially announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate last August – that he would run for whatever office Congressman Kevin Cramer didn’t.
Before switching his campaign to U.S. House – after Cramer did a 180 and decided to run for U.S. Senate – reports showed that of the $1 million the Campbell campaign was boasting to have raised, that $744,000 of that was Campbell’s own money. A ratio that many feel confirms his insatiable desire to be in DC.
Aside from Tom Campbell being a poor candidate in the eyes of many, it’s his vanity campaign that rubs a lot of Republicans the wrong way. And now reports that he’s “buying delegates” for the upcoming NDGOP State Convention in April is reflecting poorly on him as well.
In the last week, I’ve heard from multiple sources – including a NDGOP insider – who allege that the Campbell campaign is paying the way for people to be delegates at the April convention. One report had Campbell bringing College Republicans from NDSU and UND to his hockey suite and that he was offering to pay fees – and more – for them to attend the convention.
Now, to be clear, if these allegations are true, I’m told that such actions aren’t a violation of state party rules. But does that make it right? There’s no question that attending a NDGOP State Convention is expensive– a fact I pointed out recently. Yet, where does one draw the ethical line between helping someone who’s down and out participate in the process and buying delegate support at a convention?
There’s little doubt that Campbell intends to go on to the primary, regardless of whether he wins the NDGOP’s convention endorsement. But there’s no question that winning that endorsement makes his road to Washington, DC much easier. He knows that. A loss at April’s convention could deal a blow to his campaign that would require even more money to recover from.
Tom Campbell’s aspirations for higher office actually predate his U.S. Senate/U.S. House run. He considered a run at governor in 2016. What convention delegates – and ultimately primary voters – are going to have to decide is if they want someone representing them in Washington who’s not only a poor conservative, but seems to crave the prestige and power of office. To me, it makes for a bad combination.