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North Dakota May See Its Most Contested U.S. House Primary Since 2018

Credits: The New York Times

North Dakota is gearing up for a potentially competitive Republican primary for its U.S. House seat, a rare occurrence since Rep. Kelly Armstrong’s election in 2018.

With Armstrong running for governor, the seat is open, and North Dakotans will choose from several Republican candidates in June to face Democrat Trygve Hammer in November.

The current Republican candidates include Rick Becker, Tom Campbell, and Julie Fedorchak. Armstrong’s path to the House began in 2018 when he won a competitive primary against Campbell, Tiffany Abentroth, and Paul Schaffner, ultimately securing 66% of the vote in the general election against Democrat Mac Schneider.

U.S. House Primary (Credits: Pew Research Center)

The upcoming primary will be preceded by the NDGOP state convention in April, where the party will endorse a candidate. Campbell and Fedorchak are eligible for endorsement, while Becker, who ran as an independent in 2022, is not eligible under current party rules.

However, winning the endorsement is not a requirement to win the primary, as demonstrated by previous candidates like Cramer and Burgum.

Campbell, the only candidate with prior U.S. House election experience, placed second to Armstrong in the 2018 primary. Despite not receiving the party’s endorsement, Campbell garnered approximately 27% of the primary vote.

The general election in November is expected to heavily favor the Republican candidate, given North Dakota’s history of voting Republican in recent years.

The state hasn’t elected a Democrat to the U.S. House seat since 2008, and Republican candidates typically receive between 54% to 68% of the vote. In the last three cycles with Armstrong, the Republican candidate secured at least 60% of the vote.

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