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Port: Becker Encourages Delegates to Withhold Votes from Balazs

Rick Becker (Credits: AP News)

At the North Dakota Republican Party’s state convention, an unconventional endorsement battle unravels, featuring former lawmaker Rick Becker, Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak, and newcomer Alex Balazs.

Yet, an interesting twist limits the race to only Fedorchak and Balazs due to party rules preventing Becker, who ran as an independent in the last cycle, from seeking the endorsement for six years.

Speculation had been rife that Balazs might edge out Fedorchak due to a pro-Becker sentiment among the delegates, potentially aiding Becker indirectly.

Former lawmaker Rick Becker (Credits: AP News)

However, Becker’s strategy involves advising his supporters to write his name on the ballot—a move that wouldn’t count towards the official tally but is intended to make a statement. Becker’s aim is clear: to prevent Balazs from gaining momentum and splitting the conservative vote, which could inadvertently ease Fedorchak’s path to victory in the June race.

Becker’s maneuvering seeks to minimize Balazs’ exposure while ensuring any endorsement Fedorchak might receive doesn’t boost her campaign, suggesting a tactical play to maintain influence over his base without directly contributing to Balazs’ visibility.

Ex-lawmaker Rick Becker (Credits: CNN)

In response, Balazs’ campaign has criticized the divisive tactics, emphasizing Alex’s outsider status and commitment to integrity, contrasting it with the political gamesmanship of career politicians and party elites. The campaign asserts a belief in voter integrity and democracy, expressing confidence that such strategies to marginalize conservative voices within the party will not succeed.

While it’s debatable how much these internal dynamics will resonate with North Dakota voters come June, Becker’s concern over Balazs as a formidable contender is palpable. Given Becker’s polarizing nature and the potential for Balazs to dilute his support base, the stakes are high in a race that’s already proving to be anything but predictable.

Though considered a longshot, Balazs has emerged as an important factor, ensuring the race remains tightly contested and filled with strategic maneuvering.

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