Political conventions lie, or why Rick Becker’s 44% doesn’t matter as much as you think it does


MINOT, N.D. — Do you remember who Paul Sorum is?

It would not surprise me if you didn’t. Sorum is barely a footnote in the history of North Dakota politics, but about a decade ago he was raising a lot of eyebrows in state politics.

In 2010 he ran for the U.S. Senate, challenging, for the NDGOP’s endorsement, then-Gov. John Hoeven, who was fresh off winning a third gubernatorial race in a landslide and was pursuing his first term in Congress.

Sorum surprised a lot of observers by getting 21% of the delegate vote. The pundits and gossips were talking about a new conservative insurgency in the party.

In 2012 Sorum challenged another popular Republican incumbent. This time it was Jack Dalrymple, who had moved from lieutenant governor to governor when Hoeven was elected to the Senate and was, that year, running for a full four-year term of his own.

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