I wrote yesterday about the fact that the NDGOP is considering a rule that will allow the party to conduct background checks “on any prospective or declared candidate for statewide office”. I think it’s a good move in the aftermath of the problematic situation regarding endorsed Secretary of State candidate Will Gardner. A situation that resulted in Gardner ending his campaign and leaving the NDGOP with no candidate.
But in addition to the rule concerning background checks, the NDGOP is also proposing a rule – to be considered at its State Committee Meeting on June 16th in Fargo – that will allow it to issue a Letter of Support to another candidate. You see, while Will Gardner ended his campaign, he is technically still the endorsed candidate of the North Dakota Republican Party. His name is on the June 12th primary ballot and because of that he will end up with the party’s nomination after results come in on Tuesday night. Yet, Gardner has already said the he will formally decline the party’s nomination after June 12th, which will result in his name not being on the November ballot.
With Gardner out – and no way to replace him – the NDGOP is left in the unique position of having to support an Independent candidate in November. Of course, that candidate will be current Secretary of State Al Jaeger. The same Al Jaeger who was beat by the aforementioned Will Gardner in April’s NDGOP State Convention for the party’s endorsement. After Gardner ended his campaign, Jaeger saw the opportunity and immediately announced he would get back in the race by collecting the required 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot as an Independent.
But in order for the NDGOP to issue a Letter of Support in favor of Jaeger, the State Committee must approve the proposed rule that will allow it to do so. The rule reads as follows:
“Rule 22 Section 7. In the event that a candidate endorsed by the State Convention later
withdraws from the race, citing circumstances outside the scope of death, incapacity or residency
out of state, the State Committee may offer a letter of support to another candidate. The process
for selecting the candidate to receive the letter of support shall be executed as follows:
i. The voting members of the NDGOP State Committee shall comprise the body which
shall determine the recipient of the party’s letter of support.
ii. Notice to the voting body shall be provided at least 15 days in advance of the State
Committee Meeting at which the letter of support may be granted.
iii. Candidates for the letter of support shall be placed into nomination and seconded by
no fewer than two voting members of the NDGOP State Committee.
a. Each candidate shall be allotted 15 minutes for nomination, seconding, and
iv. Voting shall be conducted by secret ballot.
v. A simple majority of votes cast will be required to secure the letter of support. If two
rounds of balloting have been completed and no candidate has reached a majority, the
candidate with the lowest tally shall be eliminated from any subsequent ballots until a
majority is achieved. If only one candidate has been placed into nomination a motion
to vote by acclamation shall be in order.”
While others are free to collect 1,000 signatures, run as Independents, and even contend for the Letter of Support from the NDGOP on June 16th in Fargo; I’m not aware of anyone doing so. So, unless something more unexpected happens between now and then, in November voters will have the choice of Democrat Joshua Boschee, Libertarian Roland Riemers, and the Republican-turned-Independent Al Jaeger for Secretary of State.
The deadline for candidates to file their petitions for Independent campaigns is Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 4:00pm.