Port: Under new leadership, the NDGOP is poised to target … Republicans?


MINOT, N.D. — You probably missed the news because you’re a normal person who spent a beautiful summer weekend relaxing and recreating and celebrating the fathers in your life, so let me catch you up.

An extreme faction of culture warriors has taken over the North Dakota Republican Party.

There’s an old saying which holds that if the watch is ticking, you don’t take off the back. The NDGOP has been ticking along just fine, winning one election after another over the last 30 years and building a brand of temperate governance and moderate leadership. But now the back is off the watch, and springs and gears are flying all over the place.

Sandi Sanford, wife to former Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, led the charge, getting elected party chair, while her allies were chosen for other leadership positions. Sanford didn’t receive anything like a mandate. The vote of the Party’s State Committee made up of local district chairs, was 29-28 in Sanford’s favor over outgoing chair Perrie Schafer. But that modest margin isn’t likely to stop these ideologues from being aggressive.

Already the consequences of this seismic shift in the NDGOP are reverberating across state politics.

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