ICYMI: GOP Adds North Dakota to List of Primaries After Failing “To Land a Top-Tier Recruit”

Grand Forks Herald: GOP’s “search for a strong candidate to oppose U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp appears to have foundered”

National Journal: Neither Campbell nor Emineth Viewed as Top Tier Candidates

Candidate recruitment has gone so poorly in North Dakota that after first trying to keep Congressman Kevin Cramer out of the Senate race, the GOP made an all-out push to get him in. It didn’t work and Republicans were left with a state senator who Cramer refused to endorse. Now, after scrambling to find another candidate – any candidate – North Dakota Republicans’ search for a strong candidate has foundered, as GOP insider Gary Emineth’s entrance to the race has been met with “resignation” from the party.

What To Know About the Growing North Dakota Primary

  • Cramer’s decision to not run for Senate – nationally noted as a recruitment failure – left North Dakota Republicans scrambling for a candidate.
    • HEADLINE: GOP, Trump Suffer Recruiting Setback as N.D. Rep. Kevin Cramer Will Not Run for Senate. [Washington Post, 1/11/18]
  • HEADLINE: Cramer: Not Ready to Endorse Campbell; Hopes Others Will Run. [Associated Press, 1/11/18]
  • Emineth’s announcement “came with a whiff of resignation from Republicans.” “Earlier four highly touted candidates turned down the opportunity to run.” [Grand Forks Herald, 2/6/18]
  • Tom Campbell is “generating little enthusiasm among Republicans.” “Not all national Republicans are sold on his campaign.” [National Journal, 1/30/18; National Journal’s Hotline, 1/31/18]
  • Neither Emineth nor Campbell have “the experience, dynamism nor popular appeal that a successful campaign requires.” [Grand Forks Herald, 2/6/18]
  • Rob Port: Republicans “seem pretty underwhelmed by” Campbell, didn’t want him to run and were actively recruiting other candidates. [Say Anything Blog, 7/5/17]
  • Gary Emineth “isn’t viewed as a top-tier candidate.” “Many party strategists are also not yet convinced that Gary Emineth, who’s likely to run, would provide a stronger challenger to Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.” [National Journal, 1/30/18; National Journal’s Hotline, 1/31/18]
    • After an unsuccessful run for the state legislature in 1984, Emineth is viewed by some in the party as “unqualified.” [Bismarck Tribune, 1/31/18]
  • “Potentially bruising primary” underway. “Campbell has announced his candidacy, but he is not as well known as Cramer. Other Republicans could be tempted to challenge him, triggering a potentially bruising primary.” [Washington Post, 1/11/18]
    • Asked about Campbell, Emineth replied: “I’m a stronger candidate.” [West Fargo Pioneer, 1/29/18]


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