Paul Sorum Has Republicans Scratching Their Heads


North Dakota political activist Paul Sorum has always had something of a combative relationship with the North Dakota Republican Party.

In 2010 Sorum emerged from the state’s tea party protests to challenge then-Governor John Hoeven from the right for the NDGOP’s nomination for the U.S. Senate race. Hoeven won easily, but Sorum got a respectable 21 percent of the delegate vote.

In 2012 Sorum again ran for statewide office, this time challenging Governor Jack Dalrymple for the NDGOP nomination. Sorum lost again, but again got a respectable turnout among state convention delegates with 29 percent.

But then Sorum sort of went off the rails, at least in the eyes of many Republicans in the state. Rather than abiding by the outcome of the convention Sorum put himself and running mate Michael Coachman on the statewide ballot for governor as an independent.

He garnered less than 2 percent of the vote, and then more than a year after election day launched a quixotic legal effort to have the roughly 98 percent of votes cast for the Republican and Democrat governor candidates dismissed – leaving himself the victor – because the R’s and the D’s used two Certificate of Endorsement forms for their governor and lieutenant governor instead of one.

No, really, that was the thrust of the suit which was ultimately unsuccessful. Sorum was also mixed up in an unsuccessful effort to indict Governor Jack Dalrymple via petition (that’s actually allowed in North Dakota) for allegedly taking bribes (and by “bribes” they were referring to legal, disclosed campaign contributions).

But now Sorum seems to be trying to make amends. He’s got a letter in the Jamestown Sun today singing Senator John Hoeven’s praises, a man he once said wasn’t conservative enough to be Senator.

I’m also told that Sorum has been making overtures to the NDGOP, asking to do some fundraising for the party and suggesting a candidate for the open executive director position.

Clearly, Sorum wants to make amends with Republicans, but that’s going to be a rocky road after two lawsuits against Republican candidates and an attempt at an indictment against the sitting Republican governor.

And what does Sorum have to offer the NDGOP? One might look dubiously upon offers for fundraising given that Sorum raised less than $10,000 for his last statewide campaign.

Still, Sorum has proven that he can┬ábe effective at giving the people he targets headaches. Republicans have to be wondering what he’s up to this time.