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Gov. candidate visits Dickinson Tea Party rally

Governor candidate Paul Sorum speaks during a Rough Rider Tea Party rally at the Badlands Activities Center in Dickinson Saturday afternoon.

The most repeated word was "constitution" as governor candidate Paul Sorum spoke at the Roughrider Tea Party rally held in Dickinson on Saturday afternoon.

Sorum, who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010, said he has learned from his prior "unorganized" campaign.

"I know how to run a good campaign, I know what the campaign is about, it is about the message," he said. "Our current situation, whether you are a farmer, rancher, small business owner like myself, we are in trouble, we are at risk. Our government has caused this crisis."

Sorum cited overreaching by federal groups like the Environmental Protection Agency as the cause of a "constitutional crisis."

He anecdotally gave instances where the agriculture and energy sector have been pressured to upgrade technology when it might not be needed.

"It seems like everything I see on the news is another example of them (federal government) infringing on our rights, trampling our rights, and that's why I am running," he said.

Sorum spoke after Robert Brown, regional field director for The John Birch Society, who gave his account of a "strict" and "literal" reading of the constitution.

"The way you read the constitution is a list of granted powers, and if it is not on the list, they (the federal government) don't have the power," he said.

Brown said he was in support of utilizing nullification.

"Essentially when a state stands up and says 'excuse me federal government, I can't find in the constitution where you have the authority to do this or that, therefore we will not be observing that law because we think it is unconstitutional or un-authoritated,'" he said.

Quotes from James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were consistently cited by Brown in his argument for the proper use of nullification. He said the governors in the U.S. should collectively hold more power than the president.

"Our governor is responsible for protecting us from an out of control federal government," he said. "For that reason I consider the governor race far more important than the next president."

Rally coordinator Luke Simons said the event was to bring like-minded individuals together and educate what the tea party stands for.

"Really what we are trying to do, we are not republicans or democrats, we are not liberals or conservatives, we are just fundamental constitutionalists and we are simply educating people on what the constitution is," he said. "It is a rulebook for what our government can and cannot do."

Sorum said he is hopeful about his campaign and that previous elections were plagued by an apathetic voting community. He said he will appeal to the independent voters.

"Thos independents are fed up with big government, the wealth and greed distributors, the socialists, they don't want them, they know they are destructive," he said. "They want conservatives."