NDGOP Executive Director Dane Ferguson Resigns

Dane and Elizabeth Ferguson, with son Xander, at their Grand Forks book store. Herald photo by Eric Hylden

This morning Dane Jeremy Ferguson, a Grand Forks businessman who was hired as executive director of the North Dakota Republican Party in January of last year, resigned his position.

“Executive Director Dane Ferguson has informed me of his intent to transition away from his role with the Party to pursue other business and family opportunities,” NDGOP Chairman Rick Berg said in a press release just sent out. “I have accepted Dane’s resignation and wish him great success in these future endeavors!”

You can read the full email below. Apparently Ferguson will remain on staff through the end of the month. It’s not clear, yet, who will take over in his position. And it’s a key position this election year. Not only are Republicans hoping to topple incumbent Senator Heidi Heitkamp but they’ve also got a competitive U.S. House race between their candidate, state Senator Kelly Armstrong, and former state Senator Mac Schneider.

That’s not to mention the developments in the Secretary of State race where endorsed Republican candidate Will Gardner has withdrawn amid scandal leaving incumbent Republican Al Jaeger to run again as an independent candidate.

Suffice it to say that this is not an opportune time for turnover in party leadership. Remember, also, that there’s already been some turnover at the top of the NDGOP. Earlier this year former Congressman Rick Berg took over as chairman of the party when Armstrong, who had been chairman, jumped into the U.S. House race.

“It was personal. My wife is expecting a child weeks before the election,” Ferguson told me when I reached him today. “I just thought it was best for everyone if I stepped out and let other people work.”

I’ve done some asking around about the development in Republican circles. There has been “growing concern that he was not as organized, and his follow through and attention was not as great as it should have been,” one prominent Republican told me this morning, adding that there has been “growing frustration.”

“He quit,” another Republican told me. “There were clearly some performance issues there, and he wanted to get more involved in his business.”

It sounds like it was a mutually beneficial split. I’m told Republicans feel confident the rest of the party’s staff can adjust and carry on.

I reached out to Berg for comment but haven’t received a response.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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