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Three founding members of ND Tea Party Caucus resign

BISMARCK -- Three founding members of the North Dakota Tea Party Caucus have resigned.

Gary Emineth, Duane Sand and Paul Sorum, all of whom are involved in political races, have stepped down from the tea party's organizational committee.

Caucus bylaws forbid endorsing candidates for office, said Emineth, who is managing the U.S. House campaign for Republican Kevin Cramer.

Sand is seeking the Republican endorsement for U.S. Senate, while Sorum is seeking the Republican endorsement for governor.

There have been misconceptions from the public that the tea party is pushing these candidates, which is why they stepped down, said Perry Schumacher, who represents West Fargo on the organizing committee.

"It's just to make sure that the public is aware that we're not championing one particular candidate over another ... we're pushing a philosophy, not necessarily a candidate," Schumacher said

The tea party has put a lot of hard work into getting people involved in the political process and has been successful, Emineth said in a news release issued by the caucus Thursday.

The caucus formed in April 2011 and has two dozen members on its organizing committee. Schumacher said the goal is to have a member in all 47 legislative districts.

Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.