In a post earlier this week I talked about the public backstabbing of Tom Campbell. Republicans had dumped allegations of his past into a right-wing Washington publication. It was all a part of the orchestrated effort to get Kevin Cramer into the Senate race against Heitkamp.
This opposition research dump on Campbell served a couple of purposes. It would give Cramer the appearance of being the party’s savior. Cramer is in. I wrote earlier today my suspicion of what changed that decision. It can also be used by other Republicans in a contested convention. This may be coming true as well.
Almost immediately following my published post, I received calls from area political friends. They weren’t so certain it was just national Republicans who were involved in the public dumping of Tom Campbell as I had written. They suggested this may have been an inside job assisted in part by NDGOP Chair Kelly Armstrong. That Armstrong’s comments in the Washington Examiner about Campbell may not have been genuine. The rumor mills have been churning out that Armstrong has immediate ambitions for higher office himself.
Kevin Cramer’s reversal will obviously leave the House seat wide open. Campbell will likely announce he’s seeking the NDGOP nomination for the House instead. He’ll do it with a smile because he never really cared which federal seat he was running for anyway. However, open Congressional seats don’t come around that often. Expect others to jump in the race very soon.
It has been no secret that the NDGOP has not been overly thrilled with the prospect of Campbell. He clearly has baggage and now some of that has been aired by his own party. It was hung out to dry after Campbell had already spent $750,000 of his own money and now he’ll likely be challenged for the House in no way guaranteeing him his chance in November.
If NDGOP Chair and State Senator Armstrong moves on the House seat, would it be a mere coincidence how this all played out? Or, is there something more? Armstrong is well connected, personally wealthy, intelligent, and full of ambition. He’d make for a stronger candidate. His involvement with the oil industry will certainly be to his advantage. With Cramer out of the way, it will be interesting to see the gamesmanship and maneuvering for this open seat play out in the NDGOP.
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