MINOT, N.D. — On May 11, the District 30 Republicans held a reorganization meeting at Solheim Elementary in Bismarck. At the meeting, the existing district leadership was replaced by candidates aligned with the Legislature’s Bastiat Caucus.
These contentious reorganization competitions have been happening all over the state, and I’ve written about them extensively. They speak to some gaping political and cultural divides in North Dakota’s dominant political party.
Now, weeks after that meeting in Bismarck, an NDGOP leader from a Minot area district is alleging that a lawmaker acted inappropriately at a restaurant after the meeting.
“After a short celebration dinner at The Pier Bar & Grill in Southport, I said my goodbyes and headed for the door,” Mike Blessum, who serves as vice chairman in District 5, wrote to me in an email. “I decided to visit the restroom before driving back to Minot. As I exited the restroom I was confronted in the hallway by outgoing executive committee member Sheri Haugen-Hoffart and another female from their group. They wanted to know who I was and why I was there causing trouble in their district.”
After this confrontation, Blessum says things got “uglier.”