ND Governor Dalrymple wins Republican convention fightBISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Gov. Jack Dalrymple easily won North Dakota GOP convention delegates' endorsement Saturday for his first elected term in office, defeating Fargo architect Paul Sorum, who argued the incumbent Republican has governed as a liberal spendthrift.
By: DALE WETZEL, Associated Press
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Gov. Jack Dalrymple easily won North Dakota GOP convention delegates' endorsement Saturday for his first elected term in office, defeating Fargo architect Paul Sorum, who argued the incumbent Republican has governed as a liberal spendthrift.
Separately, U.S. Rep. Rick Berg was endorsed unanimously on Saturday for a U.S. Senate run after his expected convention opponent, Bismarck businessman Duane Sand, withdrew from the convention fight in favor of running against Berg in the June GOP primary election.
Republicans are expected to wrap up their convention Sunday by choosing a U.S. House candidate from among a group of five competitors and deciding which of two candidates to support for North Dakota superintendent of public instruction.
The superintendent contest, between state Rep. Dave Monson, R-Osnabrock, and Kirsten Baesler, a school administrator who is president of the Mandan school board, had been scheduled for Saturday. It was delayed when the proceedings went past 6 p.m.
The Republican U.S. House candidate is assured of a June primary race. A sixth House candidate, Kevin Cramer, declared in January that he would bypass the convention and seek the nomination by the statewide ballot. Cramer, who is a state public service commissioner, unsuccessfully ran twice for the House in the 1990s.
Also on Saturday, state Sen. Randy Christmann, R-Hazen, the assistant majority leader in the North Dakota Senate, defeated state Rep. Blair Thoreson, R-Fargo, for the Public Service Commission endorsement.
Delegates unanimously supported state Auditor Robert R. Peterson, Treasurer Kelly Schmidt and Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm to run for re-election this fall. Dalrymple's lieutenant governor, Drew Wrigley, was picked to continue as the incumbent governor's running mate.
Dalrymple was Hoeven's lieutenant governor for 10 years. He took over the governorship in December 2010, a month after Hoeven was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Sorum targeted the governor during his speech, holding up a series of color charts as he argued that North Dakota's business taxes were too high and the state's spending growth unsustainable.
Spending has grown much more rapidly than North Dakotans' personal income, Sorum said.
"It's unacceptable. That is not a Republican principle," Sorum said. "This is fueled by massive taxing, massive spending, and we need to put it back in perspective."
Dalrymple acknowledged a rise in state spending in his speech, but said much of it was for one-time projects and to make up for smaller shares of federal support for social service programs.
As North Dakota's energy-driven prosperity continues, the federal share of Medicaid and other assistance programs falls, which requires the state to increase its own spending to keep services at current levels.
North Dakota's budget has been balanced in the face of increased spending demands, Dalrymple said. Lawmakers have approved income tax cuts for individuals and companies, and provided subsidies to school districts that finance local property tax cuts, he said.
"We have struck the right balance by investing in our priorities, saving for the future and cutting taxes," Dalrymple said, echoing a line often used by Hoeven.
Democrats have endorsed Ryan Taylor, a Towner rancher and the North Dakota Senate's Democratic leader, to run for governor. His running mate is Ellen Chaffee, a former North Dakota university president.
Heidi Heitkamp, a former North Dakota attorney general and tax commissioner, is running against Berg, who is seeking a Senate seat after serving only one U.S. House term.
Peterson will face Rep. Scot Kelsh, D-Fargo, for auditor. Mandan businessman Ross Mushik is the Democratic challenger to Schmidt.
Brad Crabtree, a Kulm rancher and renewable energy advocate, is the Democrats' candidate to run against Christmann for the PSC. And Democrat Tom Potter, a retired finance professor at the University of North Dakota, is will run against Hamm.