It was with great interest that I read a Letter to the Editor in yesterday’s Minot Daily News. Minot resident Greg Demme let loose in a letter titled, “Tired of Liberals Running as Republicans“. While it’s specific to District 3, his point is one that can be attributed to many districts across the state of North Dakota.
In fact, we’ve mentioned this issue multiple times here on The Minuteman. The articles “You Might NOT be a Republican if…” and “NDGOP Identity Crisis: Are the Wrong Republicans Being Criticized?” both come to mind.
Demme’s letter came in response to an editorial done by the Minot Daily News titled, “Competition May Liven Up Primary“. In it the Minot Daily expressed their viewpoint that incumbent Rep. Andrew Maragos’ decision to run in the primary – together with Ward County Commissioner Alan Walter – was “good” for making the House races “competitive”.
You see, the sometimes controversial Rep. Roscoe Streyle stepped down after two terms and neither Rep. Maragos or Walter received the District 3 Republican endorsement on March 27th. Those endorsements went to Jeff Hoverson and Bob Paulson. And Demme took issue with the idea of Maragos and Walter being “healthy competition”:
“The situation is exactly the opposite. Because the Republicans of District 3 are tired of uncontested elections, tired of liberals running as Republicans, and tired of candidates who refuse to even articulate any platform at all (much less a specifically conservative platform), District 3 Republicans overwhelmingly endorsed the grassroots candidates Jeff Hoverson and Bob Paulson to provide competition and provide District 3 Republicans with two clearly conservative candidates.”
Demme is right. According to their Facebook page, Hoverson and Paulson ran away with 67% of the vote, when about 80 Republicans showed up for their district convention. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement from the party faithful of either Maragos or Walter, but it’s especially an indictment on the incumbent Maragos— who, as Demme points out, isn’t a conservative.
In the 2017 Ratings of North Dakota by the American Conservative Union Foundation, Rep. Maragos scored an embarrassing 43%— a point less than his 44% in the previous Legislative Session. His performance in the 2017 session was nothing short of awful. You can take a look at the report yourself, but just to give you a sample; he voted to keep Common Core, rejected allowing Dental Therapy, agreed to Government Funding of the Arts, opposed Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform, and voted against Food Freedom. In addition, he received a D-rating from the North Dakota Watchdog’s Legislative Scorecard.
The Minot Daily News describes the backgrounds of Hoverson and Paulson as follows:
“Hoverson has 25 years of ministry experience and is currently a pastor at Living Word church in north Minot. Formerly a public school teacher, he also is a businessman operating a “LoVE Ice Cream” food truck business with his family.
“Paulson retired as commander after a 24-year career with the Navy. He moved in 2009 to Minot, where he currently is president of the Lighthouse Church board, board president for Dakota Hope Clinic, treasurer for Minot Camp of the Gideons International and participates in the New Life Fellowship ministry to inmates at the Ward County Jail.”
On the issues, Demme describes Hoverson and Paulson as fellow conservatives with the incumbent Senator from District 3, Oley Larsen. There’s no question that Larsen is the leading conservative in the not-so-conservative State Senate. He scored an 83% last Legislative Session— the highest score in his chamber.
If the North Dakota Legislature is to have what Greg Demme describes as “pro-liberty candidates who support limiting governmental overreach into the lives of citizens”, then District 3 Republicans must do their part to elect the conservative alternatives of Jeff Hoverson and Bob Paulson. Then – and only then – will we know exactly how tired they are of liberals running as Republicans.