Plain Talk: Former Gov. Schafer says “nastiness” of Becker campaign prompted him to endorse Hoeven


MINOT, N.D. — The North Dakota Republican Party has had a dominant, three-decades-long run in state politics, but former Gov. Ed Schafer, whose election in 1992 was the dawn of that era of success, says the sunset could be upon us.

It doesn’t have to be, he said on this episode of Plain Talk. Things can still be corrected. But the path the party is on right now isn’t one that leads to sustained success, he argues.

That was part of the reason why he endorsed incumbent U.S. Sen. John Hoeven. “A lot of it was the nastiness,” he said.

Hoeven is facing a challenge for the NDGOP nomination from state Rep. Rick Becker, who has burnished appeal to a very Trumpy, very online faction of Republicans who have no problem being confrontational, disruptive, and often just plain mean .

“It’s distributing to me,” Schafer said.

“I spent too much time trying to build up the positive, helpful, happy image of Republicans in office,” he continued.

He’s worried that if Becker’s approach to politics becomes the norm in the NDGOP, North Dakota voters will lose faith in a party whose candidates they’ve been consistently voting for over generations.

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