MINOT – With Republicans holding the majority of political positions across North Dakota, there seems to be an ongoing divide in the party, some calling for more unity and perhaps allowing for a “bigger tent,” and some calling for a closer adherence to the party’s platform.
The Republican Women of Minot held one of their monthly meetings this past week where they talked about current issues. They hosted North Dakota’s Republican National Committeewoman Lori Hinz of Bismarck to give an update on the RNC.
Republican women gathered in a room at the Badlands Restaurant to speak on several issues happening in Minot and to hear Hinz’s report on the RNC. Several Republican women encouraged others there to attend the next City Council meeting on May 15 due to an upcoming Human Relations Committee ordinance, as well as the next Minot Public Library board meeting on May 18 over sexually explicit book disputes.
“We’ve been reading some children’s books that would make any of you blush,” said President of Republican Women of Minot Christina Wolff. “It’s repulsive. It shouldn’t be presented to children.”
This comes after North Dakota recently passed a law requiring sexually explicit books be inaccessible to children in public libraries. Opponents of the law, including some Republicans, have said this comes close to censorship. Many libraries have digital systems that already flag materials that are not age appropriate.
“You all know what is going on in your city which is amazing,” said Hinz. “That is the first, number one step, is getting engaged and hearing about that stuff. Talking to people about it. The next step after that is doing, and going en masse to a City Council meeting and making your voice heard.”
Hinz told members at the meeting how she won her position by 14 points in 2020 when the North Dakota State Republican Convention was conducted by paper ballot as opposed to in-person. She represents North Dakota at the RNC along with Republican National Committeeman Shane Goettle of Mandan and State Party Chair Perrie Schafer of Mandan. Hinz described how she voted for Harmeet Dhilon of California over Ronna McDaniel of Michigan for the RNC chair position due to changes she thought needed to be made at the RNC. Some of Hinz’s disappointments included that she believes portions of the RNC are not socially or fiscally conservative, mentioning the controversy over the RNC spending over $320,000 on flowers. Hinz also said she believes the party should be a big tent, but that leaders within the party should hold to the platform.
Hinz announced at the meeting Thursday that she plans to run for her position one more time. She has been traveling to many parts of the state to witness the GOP legislative district re-organizational meetings, many of which had contested chair races.
“With Republican politics in North Dakota, there is a class, and an ugly underbelly…and it’s really disturbing when you find that out,” said Hinz.
Several members of the Republican Women of Minot expressed dissatisfaction with Schafer as State Party Chair. Members also discussed the recent news that six legislative districts in Fargo voted in new GOP chairmen on Thursday, which are districts 10, 11, 21, 27, 45, and 46. The Republican women called it “a full sweep and a net gain of four conservative chairs.”
Schafer has said in the past that he wishes for unity within the party. Others accuse him of causing division and not holding to the Republican platform. Arguments over the nuances of unity versus platform loyalty have been an ongoing discussion within the North Dakota GOP for a few years.
The Republican Women of Minot became active again in October after several years of inactivity. They have a private group on Facebook which can be found here. More information on the North Dakota Republican Party can be found here. More information on the Republican National Committee can be found here. The North Dakota State Convention is scheduled to be held in 2024.