Earlier this month, we reported that former Congressman Rick Berg was looking to become the new State Chairman of the NDGOP. Berg ended up being the lone candidate for the job. While I’m not aware of anyone else that expressed interest in the position, I’m told that Berg likely cleared the field of anyone else even thinking about it.
Last night the NDGOP State Committee met and cast a unanimous ballot in favor of Berg. His election to the chairmanship came exactly one month after State Senator Kelly Armstrong (R – District 36) resigned the position in order to seek the party’s endorsement for U.S. House.
With his experience in the Republican Party as a state legislator, Speaker of the House, House Majority Leader, and U.S. Congressman; Berg should be well-positioned to lead the party for years to come. But his most pressing task will be to hit the ground running as the party heads into its State Convention April 6th – 8th in Grand Forks. In fact, Berg alluded to this in an e-mail to the State Committee earlier this month:
“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.”
Without question, the most high profile race going into the convention, and onto November’s general election, is the U.S. Senate race between Congressman Kevin Cramer and Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp. As expected, Heitkamp secured her party’s endorsement last weekend at the Democratic-NPL State Convention.
Cramer will be vacating the seat he filled in the U.S. House when Rick Berg decided to take on Heitkamp in 2012, but lost by a margin of less than 3,000 votes.
Aside from the U.S. Senate race, the U.S. House race is picking up steam as well. While it’s a crowded field of five candidates, State Senators Tom Campbell (R – District 19) and the aforementioned Kelly Armstrong lead the pack. Armstrong is especially gaining notoriety in a short period of time. He raised in eight days what it took Campbell to raise in six months. And in addition to that, Campbell has been exposed as not being conservative, buying delegates, and trying to cover up his voting record.
It’s interesting times for North Dakota’s Republicans. And now Rick Berg is tasked with the job of leading them.