Paul Sorum To Announce Gubernatorial Campaign Tomorrow

Back in February Paul Sorum told me there were people collecting signatures to put his name on the June primary ballot for the NDGOP’s gubernatorial nomination.

According to an email sent out by Sorum today (see below) he will be announcing a gubernatorial campaign tomorrow.

In February Sorum told me he plans to run as a social conservative.

“They’re not truly pro-life,” he said  of the other candidates in the race. “There’s not a candidate who believes in traditional marriage. The people circulating the petition want that option on the ballot in the primary.”

Sorum, meanwhile, has a strange history in North Dakota politics.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]“They’re not truly pro-life,” he said  of the other candidates in the race. “There’s not a candidate who believes in traditional marriage. The people circulating the petition want that option on the ballot in the primary.”[/mks_pullquote]

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 got a respectable turnout among state convention delegates with 29 percent.

Despite losing the convention vote, Sorum went ahead and put himself on the November ballot anyway as an independent. He and his Lt. Governor candidate Michael Coachman got a total of 5,356 votes, or about 1.69 percent of the total.

After the 2012 election, Sorum tried to overturn the outcome with a lawsuit claiming that both the Republican and Democrat candidates hadn’t been legal candidates. Sorum’s argument (more here) was that state law requires a political party’s governor and lieutenant governor candidates to be submitted as candidates on the same form. Due to a snafu in the Secretary of State’s office which produced forms with a blank for governor but not lieutenant governor both the Democrats and the Republicans submitted their candidates on separate pieces of paper.

Based on that Sorum wanted the more than 309,000 votes – representing over 97 percent of the total – cast for the Republican and Democrat candidates thrown out so that he could be named governor.

Instead Sorum’s lawsuit got thrown out. Which was proper. A minor paperwork glitch shouldn’t invalidate the will of 97 percent of the electorate.

During his 2012 run as an independent Sorum contacted left-wing activsts about using North Dakota’s grand jury petition process to try and indict Governor Jack Dalrymple on bribery charges. The idea being that political contributions to Dalrymple’s campaign from the oil industry were somehow bribes. The New York Times mentioned the zany idea in their hit piece on North Dakota last year, but it didn’t get a lot of traction in court.

The grand jury petition process allows for someone to be indicted if petitioners collect signatures equal to a certain percentage of the vote for governor in a given county. The petitioners out to indict Dalrymple shrewdly took their case to extremely rural Dunn County where that percentage calculated out to just a couple of hundred votes needed.

But, not surprisingly, they still struggled to get the valid signatures.

What impact could Sorum have on the primary? It’s hard to say. He’s probably good for about 2 percent of the vote. If it’s a close race between Doug Burgum and whoever out of Wayne Stenehjem or Rick Becker wins the convention, maybe he could make things interesting.

Here is Sorum’s email.

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Rob Port is the editor of, 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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