Carlson, Sand clash at NDGOP’s pre-convention reception

Al Carlson

BISMARCK – North Dakota Republicans’ philosophical in-fighting bubbled to the surface Friday evening, about 12 hours before the state party convention was set to begin here at the Bismarck Civic Center.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Duane Sand and his guest, former presidential candidate Herman Cain, were asked to leave an informal reception for candidates and delegates last night at the Ramkota Hotel, where delegates are staying.

Sand is not seeking the convention’s Senate endorsement today, choosing to take his chances in the primary against the party’s presumed candidate, Rep. Rick Berg.

Duane Sand

Nonetheless, Sand brought Cain into the state this weekend to help him raise funds in Fargo and Bismarck, a move that upset some party leaders.

At about 9 p.m. Friday, Fargo legislator and state House Majority Leader Al Carlson told Sand he was not welcomed at the candidates’ reception and asked him to leave.

“He’s the one who was very critical of the system and chose not to participate,” Carlson said this morning. “So if you’re not going to participate, then don’t show up and parade around.”

Sand’s campaign manager Joe Meyer responded to the incident, saying “The attitude presented by House Majority Leader Carlson is an example of the animosity within the party that led us to make the decision to forgo the convention.”

Carlson said Cain was welcomed to stay and meet with the candidates and delegates last night, but Sand’s presence particularly wasn’t received well by state Republicans.

Cain’s spokeswoman Kathy Hoekstra said Cain and Sand attended the social event at the invitation of U.S. House candidate Bette Grande.

“It was as simple as that,” she said on behalf of Cain, who was en route to Wisconsin after leaving North Dakota this morning.

“It is unfortunate that some people seem to have lost their focus on the bigger mission – that is winning Congress and defeating Barack Obama,” Hoekstra said. “Asking Mr. Sand to leave last night’s event only distracts from this mission, which we should all be on together.”

She added, “This event was at a public venue. It was a social event. Mr. Sand is a dues-paying member of the Republican Party, a delegate and even paid for space at the convention.”

However, NDGOP spokesman Matt Becker echoed Carlson’s concerns about Sand’s presence at the reception Friday night.

“It was odd for Duane to come to the same convention that he took himself out of, and it was odd for him to seek the support from the same people he said he didn’t need it from,” Becker said.

Kevin Cramer

U.S. House candidate Kevin Cramer, who also isn’t seeking the party’s endorsement here, is being received without any apparent incident.

Cramer plans to make an appearance today at the actual convention, including an address to the convention in his role as one of the state’s public service commissioners.

Becker said the difference with Cramer is (a) he’s a statewide official and (b) he showed respect toward the delegates where Sand appeared to snub them.

Cramer announced his plans to bypass the convention in January, while Sand announced his decision on Tuesday, after the 1,940 delegates had registered for the convention.

“Kevin made his announcement in a much more respectful way,” Becker said.

Carlson – who supports Berg’s bid for the U.S. Senate – is one of the Republican leaders who hasn’t appreciated Sand’s handling of the convention process this year.

“He’s just been in your face the whole time, and if that’s the way he wants to play it, that’s fine,” Carlson said.

21 thoughts on “Carlson, Sand clash at NDGOP’s pre-convention reception

  1. Carlson is once again displaying his self-perceived anointed status. Apparently,
    the Fighting Sioux conflict has not been able to feed his ego enough, thus headlines are being sought at the Republican Convention. One day he may have
    to answer for his actions or hide in seclusion.

    • There is so much truth in this statement nothing else really needs to be said other than his district needs to recall him. When one person thinks that he is more than those who placed him into office, it is time for a reality check and for them to become a private citizen once more.

  2. All of these morons are full of themselves and are about power and ego. Having said that, I would plug my nose and and throw a dart to see which one I would pick over any democrat in the state. This of course while not being able to eat another meal unless I voted for someone. Used car salesman and other professions with a bad rap, are leaps and bounds above politicians. They are indeed the scum of our society.

  3. The arrogance of Representative Carlson again bubbles to the forefront. I’m no fan of Mr. Sand, but Mr. Carlson is a bully and a demagogue and this shows the point one more time. I wish his district had the good sense to re-elect him again and again. He is not a leader in the North Dakota tradition.

  4. I am surprised that Carlson and Berg could fit in the room at the same time being they both have such big heads. Carlson needs to be taken out behind the building and have someone give him a two fisted education about manners. He is such a fake, looser and needs to shut up. I am 67 years old and the republican keep getting worse and worse, no wonder the majority think we need to hang them out to dry.

  5. So Cramer is welcome, even though he was the first to say he was snubbing the endorsement of the convention. Cain, who is stumping for Sand is welcome. But Sand isn’t welcome.

    Guess Al Carlson just doesn’t like Sand. I can understand that, but Carlson has to always hide behind some story or the other. Was Carlson appointed the Sergant at arms for the convention? If not, I’d say the organizers should have thrown the troublemaker, Carlson, out.

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  7. I have always thought Carlson was a moron – read my many posts regarding the nickname issue – but I never realized he was petty & vindictive as well. Now more than ever:

    Recall Uncle Al: It Does a Body Good

  8. Carlson was a crook when he ran his construction business and he’s a crook at the state level as well. Sand should have told him to go to hell and attended the event.

    Carlson attitude and behaviors definitely warrants a recall.

  9. Jose had a good headline, except that Neanderthal Al would likely try to twist the catchy phrase to: “Republicans tell Rebel candidate to pound Sand.” In any event, Carlson would look good tied to one of those monster “Sand” bags next time there’s a flood and, thereby, serve a purpose far better than he ever has as an elected official. It is very refreshing, I might add, to see so many people tell it like it is. Republicans are so afraid of Mr. Loudmouth they can’t even defend him!

  10. Apparently Al Carlson’s vision of the ND Republican party is that of the chosen few who tow the line drawn by Al himself.

  11. Duane Sand is a candidate for the Republican nomination. The law gives him the option of submitting his name for the general election ballot. He exercised that legal option. There is no reason to ask him to leave a ‘candidate reception’ unless he wasn’t a Republican. I generally support Al Carlson but anyone who thinks this behavior towards candidate Sand looks anything but loony doesn’t quite understand civility and manners. Are they really concerned about Duane Sand beingi at his own party’s convention? I guess so.

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  13. He should have just just flipped Al off and told him to go to hell and said “your wife has just been in your face the whole time, and if that’s the way she wants to play it, that’s fine since we are going to ask ugly people to not show up. Please let your wife know that we are asking her to leave because she is not welcome here by people who agree with me. You are also free to join your ugly wife and leave since we are also asking stupid people to leave.”

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