FARGO – Three founding members of the North Dakota Tea Party Caucus have resigned from the party’s leadership board, due to their involvement in competitive state and federal elections this year.
Bismarck Republican Duane Sand is running for the U.S. Senate, Fargo Republican Paul Sorum is running for governor and former Republican Party chairman Gary Emineth is working as the campaign manager for Republican U.S. House candidate Kevin Cramer.
The resignations come in between two debate nights the caucus is hosting for candidates in the U.S. House, U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races. The first debate was held last month in Bismarck, while the second is slated for Feb. 25 in Fargo.
The caucus said Emineth announced his resignation in an email to its members:
“The NDTPC has put a lot of hard work and effort to get people involved in the political process and have been extremely successful doing so. We also wrote by-laws that strictly forbid the Caucus from endorsing any candidates for office,” Emineth said. “I didn’t want my involvement with the Cramer campaign to be a distraction to their efforts.”
Sand said in a statement from the caucus that “it is time for someone else to step forward.”
“There are plenty of capable people in our state, and I think they all deserve a chance to serve on the committee,” Sand said.
Sorum agreed, saying: “They are in good hands. There is a lot of intelligent, hard working people on that committee.”
Caucus President Leon Francis said the group will have no problem filling the three positions on the organizing committee.