NDGOP Asks District 14 Chairman To Resign

When I posted my round up of candidates for the Legislature earlier this week, after the April 11 deadline to file with the Secretary of State’s office, I noted that the NDGOP would have a primary battle in all three races in District 14.

House incumbents Jon Nelson and Robin Weisz are being challenged by Albert Krueger and Dennis Fred. Senate incumbent Jerry Klein being challenged by Glen Baltrusch.

But the NDGOP’s statewide leadership had a problem with one of these challengers. In addition to being a candidate, Fred is also the chairman of the NDGOP’s District 14 party organization, and state party chairman Kelly Armstrong says his candidacy conflicts with his duties as chair.

Fred sent out a resignation letter to District 14 Republicans last night (see below) in which he quotes a request for resignation from Armstrong.

The letter was forwarded to me by a SAB reader in the district.

“We didn’t feel he could serve in his capacity as district chair and run against the endorsed candidates in the primary,” Armstrong told me last night after confirming he did ask for Fred’s resignation. “Dennis is a good guy and I really like him but our convention process has been just awesome this year and we can’t have a district chair challenging his own endorsed candidates.”

“I requested that he step down and he agreed,” Armstrong added.

In his letter, Fred blasts the party leadership over the resignation request, and accuses them of doing the bidding of the incumbent Republican lawmakers. An excerpt:

I have been asked why we would challenge the endorsed Republican legislators in our district. Well, the establishment has just shown you a very good reason. It is sad that our legislators can influence our state party to take it to this extreme, simply because I wanted to exercise my right to run for this position with the hopes of bringing the GOP back to the conservative principles smaller government, lower taxes and fewer regulations that your Republican Party once stood for.

We as a team (that is myself running for State house, Glen Baltrusch running for State Senate and Albert Krueger running for the other State House seat) believe, as do many others in District 14 believe the status quo branch of the GOP has left their conservative roots. It’s no wonder the NDGOP is having difficulty raising money, has seen participation at the district level across the state shrinking, as we’ve seen with the Democratic Party. State NDGOP as well as our incumbent representatives have become a party of elected elite that say, “do it our way or stay out of the way”. Unfortunately they represent “special interests” when it comes to spending our money – not the citizens of District 14.

Unfortunately, “doing it their way..” has grown the size of state government, taxes, rules, regulations and has effectively frozen out more and more who wish to become involved. It is no wonder that so many throughout the nation are leaving the GOP and burning their credentials.

Read the whole thing below.

Fred, Baltrusch, and Krueger certainly have every right to challenge the incumbent lawmakers in their district on the primary ballot, but I’m not sure it’s fair to accuse Armstrong and the state party leadership of collusion with the incumbents.

Armstrong is standing behind the candidates chosen by the delegates at the endorsing convention Fred presided over. He states, rightly, that it is the local chair’s responsibility to back the candidates chosen by the local party members. Which includes organizing local activists to do things like make phone calls and knock on doors and put up signs.

It’s hard to imagine Fred being an effective organizer for candidates he is simultaneously challenging.

If Fred, Baltrusch, and Krueger had been the winners at the endorsing convention I’m sure they’d want the state party standing behind them, and would probably be crying foul if it were any other way.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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