MINOT, N.D. — For weeks I’ve been writing about an impending shift in the control of the North Dakota Republican Party, from the sort of pragmatic and traditional conservatism that has guided the party to 30 years of dominance, to a new strain of culture war populism heavily influenced by disgraced former President Donald Trump’s political movement.
Today, that shift was completed. Sandi Sanford, the wife of former Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, a conspiracy-addled activist who has promoted book bans and other culture war ephemera, defeated Perrie Schafer to become chair of the NDGOP.
The vote was a close one, 29-28, but Sanford came out on top.
Long-time Fargo Republican activist John Trandem, who is very socially conservative, was elected vice chair by the same vote total, 29-28.
Here’s an interesting bit of trivia, given how close the vote was. Senate Majority Leader David Hogue, who did not attend the reorganization meeting, made Sen. David Celemens of West Fargo his proxy. Clemens is an ardent culture warrior, and his vote, on Hogue’s behalf, may well have been the deciding one in these races.