MINOT, N.D. — Outgoing state Rep. Rick Becker, who was rejected as a U.S. Senate candidate by delegates to the North Dakota Republican Party’s state convention this spring, and who opted to deny rank-and-file Republican voters the opportunity to cast their ballots on his candidacy in the June primary race, has now decided to re-launch his Senate campaign as an independent .
The conventional wisdom is that this is a headache for Republicans and their candidate, incumbent Sen. John Hoeven, and there’s truth in that, but there are also other truths to consider.
The NDGOP is fractured, with fault lines between the party’s traditional conservatives and a new breed of conspiracy-minded populists. Becker, who has served in the state Legislature for a decade as a Republican, is one of the figures central to that divide.
Agree with it or not, he has postured himself as a capital-T, capital-C True Conservative who is fighting back against the evil Republican establishment who has governed North Dakota so effectively for three decades that citizens of our state line up to vote for them in landslide numbers in one election after another.
To that extent, Becker, who has leveraged the chaos of this deplorable moment in American politics to draw a not-small following on social media, really has been a headache for the NDGOP.
Now he may have handed the party some Tylenol.