Published January 27, 2024

Tom Campbell pivots to US House race against Becker, Hammer

Written by
The Dakotan
| The Dakotan

BY: MICHAEL ACHTERLING - JANUARY 26, 2024 (North Dakota Monitor)

Former North Dakota state senator Tom Campbell now plans to run for the state’s at-large U.S. House seat instead of governor.

Campbell said in an interview Friday he had been planning on running for governor in 2024, but when current North Dakota U.S. House Rep. Kelly Armstrong announced his bid for governor on Tuesday, Campbell decided to set his sights on Washington, D.C., instead of Bismarck.

“I feel the combination that it would get very expensive and very ugly, and North Dakota people don’t need that or like that,” Campbell told the North Dakota Monitor. “It would be a waste of energy and resources that we could devote to me in the House and (Armstrong) in the governorship and work together for the people.”

Campbell, who splits his time between West Fargo and Grafton, served in the North Dakota Senate from 2013 to 2018. He ran against Armstrong in 2018 for U.S. House but he dropped out after Armstrong secured the endorsement at the state convention.

In a social media post, Campbell stated: “North Dakota needs a Congressman who can be effective and can work with President Trump. We have to be pro-oil, pro-farmer, pro-business, and pro-people.”

Campbell has been a potato farmer since 1977, when he started with 130 acres. His potato operations have grown over the years to more than a few thousand acres and his brother, Greg, manages the day-to-day operations.

Conservative Republican Rick Becker announced on Monday he’s running for House, while Democrat Trygve Hammer announced his campaign in early January.

Gov. Doug Burgum announced on Monday he would not seek a third term, prompting Armstrong to jump into the governor’s race a day later. As of Friday, Armstrong is the only candidate to officially announce a campaign, but others have said they’re considering a run.

“Some farmers in North Dakota said they were a little frustrated with (Armstrong) leaving the House, and Rick Becker, and they are concerned about the Farm Bill,” Campbell said. “I think they are looking for someone with ag experience to maybe help draft up that Farm Bill.”

Campbell said he doesn’t plan on underestimating any of the candidates.

“I’m going to give it 110% and work hard, and cover the state. I look forward to meeting people, that’s what I do best,” Campbell said. “And, nobody can outwork my love for North Dakota.”

Becker, a former member of the North Dakota House, said he won’t be able to secure the NDGOP endorsement for the U.S. House at the state convention in April due to state party rules. Becker ran as an independent in 2022 against U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, a Republican. Becker added the NDGOP Executive Committee could make a rule change prior to the convention, but he has not been in contact with anyone about that process.

“My plan has been because of that rule all along to go straight to the primary,” Becker said. “Naturally, I would prefer to go to the convention and I feel very confident I would get the endorsement, but the rule is in place.”

He also said, regardless of the official GOP endorsement, he arguably has a more conservative voting record than Campbell.

According to the Center for Legislative Accountability, in 2017, the last session both lawmakers served together in the state legislature, Becker received a 100 voting rating from the conservative group while Campbell posted a rating of 54.

“I imagine that he (Campbell) determined that he has a better chance of winning a race against someone who is not currently a statewide incumbent,” Becker said. “Whatever his reasons may be, what it comes down to is, he’ll just go to whichever race is easiest.”

Becker also is leading a conservative group that’s trying to get a property tax reform ballot measure to North Dakota voters in November.

In response to Becker’s characterization of his moderate voting record, Campbell said: “I think I would fall in that line of conservative, but not the extreme of (Becker). He’s so conservative to the extreme that he would cut everything.”

Stay connected to the latest news
Subscription Form (#3)

About the Author

Trending Now
The Dakotan Newsletter
Subscribe to get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox
Newsletter Form (#4)
© AndMuse, LLC 2024 Login Email
LIVE: 2022 Minot Mayoral Forum
Click to Watch Live
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram