BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has donated $195,000 of his own funds to a political action committee that election watchers say is working to unseat Jeff Delzer, chairman of the North Dakota House appropriations committee, in the June primary election.
The Dakota Leadership PAC that Burgum made his contribution to is run by Levi Bachmeier and Robbie Lauf, both former policy advisors to Burgum, who, like Delzer, is a Republican.
A spokesman for the governor said Wednesday evening, May 13, that Burgum was on his way home from a trip to Washington and was unavailable for comment.
Lauf has said the Dakota Leadership PAC was formed to help elect conservative Republicans who share the governor’s vision and that it is supporting candidates in a number of campaigns.
Mike Jacobs, a columnist for the Grand Forks Herald, said categorically in his most recent column that one goal of Dakota Leadership PAC is to defeat Delzer as part of its mission to advance the governor’s policy goals.
Jacobs also shared tidbits from an interview with Chet Pollert, leader of Republicans in the North Dakota House of Representatives, who said the involvement of a political action committee tied to the governor would make things "very difficult" next session if Delzer were to be defeated.
Delzer has been a member of the North Dakota Legislature since the early 1990s.
Dina Butcher, a Republican from Bismarck who ran for state agriculture commissioner in 1996, said Wednesday if the Dakota Leadership PAC does have Delzer's House seat in its sights she is saddened by it.
"I think it's ill advised," Butcher said, adding: "What the Republicans don't need is a civil war at a time when they really need to pull together."