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Armstrong declared early winner in Republican governor race

In World
June 12, 2024

U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong speaks to delegates during the 2024 NDGOP Convention at the Sanford Athletic Complex in Fargo on April 5, 2024. Armstrong had a strong early lead Tuesday ahead of Tammy Miller. (Michael Achterling/North Dakota Monitor)

Kelly Armstrong, who chose to give up his seat in Congress for the chance to be North Dakota’s governor, bested Republican rival Tammy Miller in Tuesday’s primary election. 

Armstrong will face Democratic governor nominee Merrill Piepkorn in the November general election. 

Armstrong was pulling nearly 70% of the votes to Miller’s 30% in early unofficial results. The Associated Press called the race in his favor at 8:21 p.m.

In a speech at North Dakota’s Gateway to Science in Bismarck, Armstrong thanked his supporters and pledged to put Republicans, the agriculture industry and small businesses at the center of his term as governor if elected in November.

“We’re going to fight every single day,” he said to applause. “And we’ll fight the federal government, Democrats — we’ll fight anybody and everybody who wants to take away what we have.”

Armstrong has served in the state Legislature, on the North Dakota Petroleum Council and has led the North Dakota Republican Party as its chairman. He was elected as North Dakota’s U.S. representative in 2018. 

He was endorsed at the North Dakota Republican Party convention, which Miller chose to skip

Miller was appointed to be Gov. Doug Burgum’s lieutenant governor in January 2023. 

She cast herself as a political outsider, as Burgum had done in his run for governor. 

She pointed to business experience, including her family’s lumber and hardware business in the small town of Brockett and later rising to CEO at Fargo-based Basin Electric. 

Armstrong, originally from Dickinson, campaigned on less government regulation and growing the North Dakota economy. 

Armstrong chose state lawmaker Michelle Strinden of Fargo as lieutenant governor. 

Both candidates rallied behind former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Armstrong

Miller was endorsed by Burgum. Her choice for lieutenant governor was state Commerce Commissioner Josh Teigen. 

Miller congratulated Armstrong in an emailed statement. 

“Throughout this campaign, I loved traveling our state, meeting with voters and listening to their suggestions and concerns,” Miller said. “I’m endorsing Congressman Armstrong and encourage my supporters to get behind his campaign this fall.”

A poll conducted May 20-22 for the North Dakota News Cooperative, showed Armstrong leading Miller, with 57% of the 500 people polled said they would vote for Armstrong in the primary. Miller had the support of 19%, while 24% were undecided.

Piepkorn, at a Democratic-NPL event in Fargo, said he recently did a weeklong tour in western North Dakota and plans to get out in front of as many voters as possible in the coming weeks at summer festivals, parades and through business and civic groups. 

He said he feels a positive association with his name recognition through church broadcasts, Prairie Public Radio and performing in bands. 

“It’s been really encouraging,” he said. 

At Armstrong’s party, former Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker attended at the invitation of North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley.

U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., also attended. He called Armstrong his “legislative best friend.”

The post Armstrong declared early winner in Republican governor race appeared first on North Dakota Monitor.

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