BISMARCK – Despite an hour of debate Saturday morning and nearly nine hours of tallying votes, North Dakota Republican convention-goers overwhelmingly selected the party’s 25 recommended nominees to represent them as delegates at the national convention this summer.
The ordinarily procedural decision drew a fury of objections and delays Saturday morning, after some delegates voiced concerns that the party’s recommended delegates wouldn’t fairly reflect the results of the state’s presidential caucus.
Critics said the party’s preferred nominees disproportionately favored Mitt Romney – who took third in North Dakota’s non-binding caucus. Those objecting to the process offered up a few dozen alternative nominees, who could be voted for as write-in candidates. (Read more on the debate here.)
North Dakota GOP officials announced the results of Saturday morning’s ballot at 7:40 p.m., 8-1/2 hours after Chairman Stan Stein put an end to the repetitious debate.
The 25 nominees who received the most votes were chosen as the NDGOP’s delegates to the national convention. Based on the results, the nominees had to receive 994 votes or more in order to be selected as a delegate.
The top 25 vote-getters turned out to be the same 25 individuals the party originally recommended for the slate of delegates. The most any write-in candidate received was 318 votes, party officials said.
“Our voting process for delegates to the national convention was fair and open, allowing for nominations from the floor of delegates,” NDGOP spokesman Matt Becker said. “In the end, the same slate of delegates that was vetted by our Permanent Organization committee was elected.”
The national delegates are mostly elected officials and loyal party supporters, including U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, Rep. Rick Berg, first lady Betsy Dalrymple, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, NDGOP Vice-Chairman Jim Poolman and NDGOP Treasurer Robert Harms.
Former NDGOP chairman Gary Emineth – Santorum’s state chairman who chastised party officials Saturday about a “hijacked” process – was also selected as a national delegate.
The results were announced nearly 90 minutes after the convention dispersed Saturday evening, allowing most of the delegates to go home or enjoy the night’s social events.
However, party officials and a few dozen delegates remained at the Civic Center to hear the final vote tallies. The frustrated delegates who so passionately debated over the process Saturday morning were not among those who stayed to hear the results.
Frustrated Paul supporters tried to reignite the debate at the close of the Republican convention Sunday, but NDGOP Chairman Stan Stein would not allow it.
District 47 delegate Karen Erickstad attempted to make a motion on the convention floor, but her microphone was turned off as she sought to speak.
The crowd shouted, attempting to get Stein’s attention, but he continued with a motion to close the convention over the protests.
North Dakota’s 25 delegates to the RNC:
- John Hoeven, U.S. Senator
- Rick Berg, U.S. Congressman
- Betsy Dalrymple, North Dakota first lady
- Wayne Stenehjem, state attorney general
- Robert Harms, NDGOP treasurer
- Kyle Handegard
- Clare Carlson
- Gary Emineth, former NDGOP chairman
- Joe Miller
- Margaret Sitte
- Delores Rath
- Jim Poolman, NDGOP vice-chairman
- Kelly Schmidt, state treasurer
- Paul Henderson
- Gary Lee
- Francis Klein
- Mike Schatz
- Carol Nitschke
- Shane Goettle, U.S. House candidate
- Caren Mikesh
- Karen Rohr
- Craig Headland
- Paul Owens
- Jim Kasper
- John Kerian
Those who were also nominated, but did not receive enough votes to be selected as delegates.
- Andrea Tallmen
- Bob Hale
- Brett Narloch, North Dakota Policy Council executive director.
- Chuck Walen
- David Waterman
- Bridget Ertelt
- Donna Henderson
- Jon Wagar
- Jonathan Casper
- Cindy Aafedt
- Kaylea Crawford
- Lynn Bergman
- Mike Coachman
- Paul Mutch
- Scott Louser
- Rebecca Strege
- Wayne Papke
- Connie Nicholas
- Sebastian Ertelt
- Dwight Groszs
- Christopher Olson
- David Johnson
- Michael Evinger
- Andrew Stegman
- Toby Olin
- Chris Stevens
Posted 8:35 p.m. Saturday. Updated 4:35 p.m. Sunday