The North Dakota Republican Party finds itself in the unique position of having an endorsed candidate that ended his campaign after the filing deadline for candidates to enter the race for the June 12th primary. That candidate, of course, was Secretary of State candidate Will Gardner.
After Gardner scored a stunning victory over long-time incumbent Al Jaeger at April’s NDGOP State Convention, news broke last month that he had a 2006 window peeping incident that almost nobody knew about. This naturally became problematic for Gardner and the NDGOP. As a result, the endorsed candidate quickly announced that he would end his campaign. This left the party in the precarious position of essentially having no candidate.
In the days that followed the debacle, we published an article in which I questioned whether it’s time for parties to vet candidates through background checks. NDGOP Chairman Rick Berg expressed it was something they would be looking at. And now, according to documentation obtained by The Minuteman, it appears the party is set to head down that road.
One of the proposed rules that the NDGOP State Committee will be considering, in a meeting on June 16th in Fargo, specifically deals with background checks. It simply reads as follows:
“Rule 13 Section 5. The NDGOP Executive Committee reserves the right to conduct a background check on any prospective or declared candidate for statewide office and to disclose the findings as it deems appropriate.”
Given the lessons to be learned from current circumstances, I think the rule is a welcome one. It has the potential of preventing headaches for everyone involved going forward.