As we inch closer to the NDGOP convention, we’re getting a sense of the lengths to which candidates who are considered the front-runners for the House will go to secure their Party’s nomination. The key component; spend money. Where they are spending the money, however, is rather telling.
The Associated Press reported that Tom Campbell is paying delegates’ registration fees. It isn’t a stretch to say Campbell is, in fact, attempting to buy votes to get the nomination. The campaign has admitted the act, they’re just not saying how big the buy was. It is a move that reeks of desperation but is perfectly allowed under the NDGOP rules.
At the same time, it is reported that Kelly Armstrong has purchased a T.V. buy. The current buy has his advertisement running through April 8th which is the last day of the NDGOP convention. It is safe to assume the ads are meant for two-fold, to persuade delegates (we can debate whether this is an efficient way of doing so), but also to raise his name ID in the state. After all, Tom Campbell has spent over $750,000 of his own money on TV ads to get people to know his name. It is unclear how much money Armstrong is spending on the advertisements.
There is a reason why Campbell is so desperately trying to get the nomination at the convention. Armstrong, as a former Chair of the party stepping down solely to run this race, has said he’d follow the convention’s outcome. Should Campbell win at the convention, he eliminates the biggest challenge he faces before the race against Mac Schneider. However, if Armstrong wins, Campbell has already declared he’ll challenge him to the primary in June.
Friends and acquaintances in the Republican Party tell me Armstrong is the favorite to get the convention nomination. The thing I cannot get a clear and direct answer to is why they dislike Campbell so much. Will his money buy friendship and support in the convention hall? Time will tell.
I’ll be curious to see how nasty this competition gets. The Republican Party already publicly dumped some of Campbell’s dirt in the press. Some people involved in North Dakota politics have speculated that Armstrong could have been behind the opposition research release on Campbell. The timeline of events lends itself to that speculation. I wrote about that earlier. How much damage to each-others’ campaigns and reputations are these candidates willing to inflict to secure a spot on the November ballot? Will it have an impact on their chances in what promises to be a highly contested general election against Mac Schneider? Buckle up, the mid-term race for an open seat to be North Dakota’s lone Congressman could get bumpy.
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