If you’ve been following along, the hidden fault lines of the NDGOP are becoming clear. That political tremor you may have felt over the weekend was President Donald Trump claiming his stake in one side of the divided state party. Trump weighed in on the NDGOP race for Treasurer. A rather obscure down-ballot office. The reason? A laughable use of photoshop from an inexperienced PAC funded by a Republican Governor and a request from Republican U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer.
Cramer confirmed his role in getting Trump’s attention days after I suggested it was he who raised the party’s conflict to the President. Credit to Jeremey Turley for getting the confirmation on that speculation. Cramer is right in his reasoning. The photoshopped flier paid for by Doug Burgum -through his Dakota Leadership PAC – was, “a gross misrepresentation.”
How did anyone feel it was wise to photoshop the President next to a candidate as though to represent support? Additionally, why would you choose a photo of the President when he is meeting with the North Korean dictator? It simply wasn’t necessary. The amateur move has backfired in the most public way possible. Do you really blame Cramer for tattling?
Cramer committed 100% to Donald Trump. He declared it before thousands at the Scheels Arena in Fargo. That commitment came after constant whining by Cramer to White House staff that Trump wasn’t doing enough to help him beat Heidi Heitkamp. It paid off. Cramer won his election. Now, he is calling in similar favors to the same White House in hopes to win another race in ND. Will it build his influence within the NDGOP?
Though Cramer’s reasoning for calling on Trump may be legitimate, is backing Daniel Johnston for Treasurer really the hill? Cramer is calling in favors to the White House on this candidacy? Undoubtedly, there is a reason many – many – NDGOP would rather Johnston not only lose this race for Treasurer but also no longer serve in the Legislature. Go ahead and ask them why. Better yet, perhaps the Dakota Leadership PAC and Doug Burgum should explain it to voters instead of whispering about it to others. No photoshop needed on that ad.
RELATED: Burgum Invests Heavily into Dakota Leadership PAC. NDGOP In-fighting Spills into Elections.
Imagine how Thomas Beadle feels knowing the Dakota Leadership PAC and their shitty photoshop got the President of the United States to weigh in against his candidacy. That is not exactly a reason you would send a thank you card. As campaign spending has become blurred between candidate and Political Action Committee, the general public bombarded with these fliers will believe it was him and his campaign that was trying to pull a fast one in campaign ads.
There are a couple of things we will find out in a matter of days. Does unlimited money buy elections in North Dakota? Will Donald Trump’s evident popularity in the state overcome the ads?
There are at least two Republican parties in ND. Doug Burgum’s NDGOP and Kevin Cramer’s NDGOP. Ironically, both of them went around that party to get where they are now. Does Rick Berg as Chair even really matter anymore? 2020 may decide which one controls the direction of the party going forward.