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Saturday, July 2, 2022

ND governor hits out at fellow Republicans for mixed results

BISMARK, ND ( Associated Press) — North Dakota Republican Gov. Doug Burgum’s costly effort Influencing the GOP primary to reshape the Legislature with more people who supported his spending and policy goals was a mixed bag, removing one of his main political enemies, but A few others had won their race.

Burgum, a wealthy former Microsoft executive, gave more than $1.2 million over Tuesday’s primary to a political action committee it spent against lawmakers, including some from the North Dakota GOP’s ultraconservative wing. The second-term governor also gave more than $3 million to the PAC in 2020, with similarly mixed results.

Burgum has declined to be interviewed with the Associated Press to talk about his campaign spending. In a statement Wednesday, Burgum congratulated the winning candidates and said the election saw “healthy and spirited competition that is a win for North Dakota voters.”

Burgum’s PAC designated eight districts it was targeting. Based on advertising paid for by the PAC, three of Burgum’s likely favorite Senate candidates won, while three lost. At least seven House candidates supported by the governor in those districts will advance this fall, while four will not.

Burgum’s biggest victory – and perhaps the costliest campaign ever – came with the defeat of State Representative Jeff Delzer, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, which clashed with the governor over policy and spending priorities.

Burgum supported political newcomers Anna Novak and Mark Pierce for two seats in the district, one occupied by Delzer and one held by Republican Bill Tweet, who is not part of the ultraconservative Bastiat caucus. Nowak and Tweet were the highest-grossing votes and would go on to represent the rural area extending northwest of Bismarck in the November election unopposed.

Burgum’s spending flooded the airwaves, the Internet, and mailboxes with advertising supporting his candidates.

Tviet called Burgum’s spending “unfair and immoral – it was garbage.”

“He was trying to get both of us out of there,” the tweet said on Wednesday.

Farmer Delzer, who has served in the Legislature since the early 1990s, did not return messages seeking comment on Wednesday.

This isn’t the first time Burgum has successfully spent money beating Dazzler. He also lost two years, but Bargum’s chosen candidate died after winning the election.And Republicans chose Delzer to fill the seat.

In the other race Tuesday, Republican state Representative Jeff Magrum, a plumber and rancher, won a Senate seat over a Burgum-backed candidate. Two GOP-backed House members also dominated the moderate candidates supported by Burgum.

Magram is one of the most conservative members of the legislature. He has contested the masked mandate and falsely claimed that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election. He unsuccessfully pursued an abortion ban and successfully moved legislation that allows someone to use lethal force in certain circumstances without backing down.

Magram said that Burgum’s attention and advertising for his favorite candidates in the rural district south of Bismarck was a turnoff for many voters.

“So many people were very upset about having too many fliers in their mailboxes,” Magrum said. “The older guys were really irritated.”

“People don’t want to be bought and paid for by their legislature (Burgum),” Magrum said.

Magram last year sought to stop the North Dakota governor from giving cash or endorsing a member of the Legislature, but his bill failed.

Burgum and his supporters say spending is a form of freedom of expression.

North Dakota Republican Party Speaker Perry Schaefer said the makeup of the legislature would remain largely the same, with ultra-conservatives making far less intrusions into the GOP-dominated chamber.

“Certainly, some right-wingers won and some moderate Republicans won,” he said. “I’m not sure the calculus has changed in the Legislature.”

World Nation News Desk
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