Heitkamp Primary Challenger Gathers Signatures at NDGOP Convention


Wyatt Smith, attending his first ND Republican convention, staffs the Young Republicans booth at the convention Friday afternoon at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

It’s a Republican convention this weekend in Grand Forks, but there is a left wing presence.

At the Democratic state convention last month Senator Heidi Heitkamp faced a challenge from Dustin Peyer. Heitkmap won the endorsement of the convention, but apparently there’s an effort to put Peyer on the June primary ballot.

The very nice lady collecting signatures, who had positioned herself near the entrance to the convention hall here at the Alerus Center, was asking Republican delegates to sign for Peyer. She let me take a picture of one of petitions:

In North Dakota the endorsing conventions don’t necessarily pick the candidates for the parties. The conventions endorse, but the nominee is picked in June. And anyone, including candidates who lose at the convention, can put themselves on that ballot by getting the requisite number of signatures by April 9.

Which is Monday.

How much does this matter for the Senate race? Perhaps not much. Peyer probably won’t draw a lot of votes. But his presence on Heitkamp’s left flank might not be a good sign. The Senator needs to make serious inroads into the Republican voting ranks to keep her seat in the Senate, and she can’t afford to lose many from her liberal base in the process.