The North Dakota Republican Party’s state convention is in Fargo this weekend, and while most of the attention has been on the red-hot gubernatorial nomination contest, one lawmaker says some interesting things may happen on the lieutenant governor front.
Rep. Kim Koppelman of District 13 (West Fargo) says there is a movement afoot to draft him as a conservative choice for the position. And it seems that movement may have started with his son Ben Koppelman who is also a member of the state House from District 16 (also West Fargo).
“There definitely is a movement out there to have some conservative influence in the governor’s office,” the younger Koppelman told me, acknowledging that he began calling some folks about the issue months ago. He was quick to say that he didn’t necessarily have his dad in mind when he he began the effort, however. “If we do end up with the inevitable Wayne Stenehjem battling Doug Burgum in the primary, conservatives believe there needs to be balance on the ticket,” Koppelman, who says he is supporting fellow lawmaker Rick Becker over Stenehjem or Burgum, told me. “One of the names out there is Kim Koppelman.”
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”I haven’t initiated this or fanned the flames. It’s just a grassroots effort that has cropped up,” he added.[/mks_pullquote]
The elder Koppelman says he’s had nothing to do with his son’s efforts. “It all goes back to several months ago. I was contacted by a number of people about running,” he told me, though he declined to say who had contacted him. “I really don’t want to share any of those names,” he said. “It’s literally just grassroots folks. Just people from around the state.”
“I haven’t initiated this or fanned the flames. It’s just a grassroots effort that has cropped up,” he added.
Kim Koppelman says he supports Stenehjem for the nomination, though he said he hasn’t asked Stenehjem about being on his ticket.
“I don’t want to initiate that. That decision is up to him. I haven’t asked him to do that,” he said.
Typically the gubernatorial candidates are given the courtesy of being allowed to pick their own running mates, but technically speaking the convention can endorse someone else from the floor through the right mechanisms.
Maybe that might happen for Koppelman. Or maybe this is just a way for the long-time lawmaker – who said he has been considered for lieutenant governor before – to get on Stenehjem’s short list.
In 2012 Koppelman was one of several candidates seeking the NDGOP convention endorsement for the U.S. House.