Tea Party Caucus comes to NDFARGO — Several prominent right-wing conservatives in North Dakota have launched a political group that breaks from the traditional Republican Party.
By: Kristen M. Daum , The Dickinson Press
FARGO — Several prominent right-wing conservatives in North Dakota have launched a political group that breaks from the traditional Republican Party.
The North Dakota Tea Party Caucus aims to promote “individual liberty, personal responsibility, equality, limited government (and) state’s rights.”
Among the group’s organizers are notable figures in North Dakota politics, specifically within the state GOP — including Robert Harms, the current state party treasurer, and Gary Emineth, the previous state GOP chairman.
The caucus said it “is not officially a third political party but is likely to engage in fundraising activities, activist training and candidate recruitment.”
But North Dakota Democrats argue those objectives reflect the same purpose of any political party.
The formation of the caucus represents a severe fracture within the state GOP, Democratic-NPL Party Executive Director Joe Aronson said.
“That’s a serious challenge to their stability,” he said. “Clearly, there’s a large group in their party that’s dissatisfied with the current leadership they have.”
But Republican Party vice-chairman Jim Poolman said the party welcomes the caucus as a forum for different ideas and opinions within the Republican Party.
“To have a Tea Party Caucus of folks that are conservatives is not a threat to the party,” Poolman said. “It’s something that would come naturally for ones that are more conservatively bent.”
Tea Party Caucus members said they support the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution and aim to bring “common sense back to government.”
“The creation of this caucus takes the tea party movement in the state of North Dakota to a higher degree of influence,” spokesman Perry Schumacher said. “The constituency this will create will affect policy at all levels by uniting conservatives residing all over our state.”
Nationally, the tea party movement spawned from a groundswell of frustration during the contentious debate over health care reform two years ago.
The movement greatly influenced the 2010 campaign through the election of “tea party candidates” and the unofficial leadership of Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.
The Tea Party Caucus registered its trade name with the North Dakota Secretary of State’s Office on March 18 — an act which allows the group to engage in business activity in the state, such as fundraising.
Daum is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.