The race for the NDGOP nomination for House of Representatives has become a crowded one.
State Senator Kelly Armstrong, state Senator Tom Campbell, Marine veteran Tiffany Abentroth, Minot residents Paul Schaffner and DuWayne Hendrickson, as well as newcomer James Kapitan (a retired Air Force colonel from Fargo) are all vying for the nomination.
Of those candidates, Armstrong and Campbell are perhaps the most competitive, and the former tells me this morning he roughly $250,000 for his campaign in eight days.
“I put some of my own money in but I’m not counting that,” Armstrong told me of the totals. He said in addition to the money he’s raised from others he’s put $100,000 of his own money to get things started.
That’s a lot of money for a nomination campaign, by North Dakota standards. It’s also an interesting contrast with what the Campbell campaign which according to the most recent FEC report (covering contributions through the end of 2017) has mostly been self-funded by the candidate:
Given the timing of Armstrong launching his campaign he hasn’t yet been required to file a disclosure with the FEC. I believe the next report due is in April. Still, that’s a lot of money in a short period of time, matching what Campbell raised from people other than the candidate himself in all of 2017.
I reached out to the Campbell campaign for a response and they said they’d provide me with some updated figures later today. UPDATE: While Kelly Armstrong still has some catching up to do financially, Tom is focused right now on meeting and talking with the conservatives across North Dakota and sharing his plan to partner with Donald Trump and enact the President’s conservative agenda,” Campbell campaign manager Lucas Paper told me in a statement. “There’s no doubt Tom has the right resources and message to win.”
Fundraising isn’t everything, particularly in the short timeline of this nomination fight. More important than cash in the bank is support from delegates at the NDGOP state convention, the decision of which Armstrong has (rather foolishly, I think) gone on the record saying he’ll abide by.
Campbell and Abentroth are on the record saying they’ll push on to the June primary ballot if they lose at the convention. I’m not clear on what decision the other candidates would make.
Update: This Facebook commenter makes a fair point: