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Can A Former Miss America Make North Dakota Less MAGA? A New Poll Says She Can!

A couple of days ago, I suggested that there are— at most— 70 vaguely competitive House seats… although only half of them are actually competitive. One seat I didn’t include— and that no national prognosticators include— is the at-large North Dakota seat, held by MAGA Republican Kelly Armstrong.

First of all, that seat is so red that the Democratic Party candidate, Mark Haugen, was pressured out of the race— by the Democratic Party— in order to make room for what Democrats think is a more electable independent woman, Cara Mund, a former (2018) Miss America and a pro-Choice candidate. Haugen, like Armstrong, is anti-Choice.

That Trump won North Dakota 65.11% to 31.76% barely even begins to explain how red North Dakota has become. The last time the state voted for a Democratic presidential candidate was in 1964 when LBJ won a national landslide against Barry Goldwater. The state is filled with old white rural voters and the only counties that vote blue are Rolette and Sioux, both of which are majority Native-American. 19 of North Dakota’s 53 counties each gave Trump over 80% of their vote. Meanwhile, all of the state’s constitutional and federal office holders are Republicans and the state legislature includes 40 Republicans and 7 Democrats in the state Senate and 79 Republicans and 14 Democrats in the state House.

Mund isn’t just some empty-headed beauty queen. She was her high school’s valedictorian and then graduated from Brown with honors and cum laude from Harvard Law. After Brown she interned for Republican Senator John Hoeven. N o woman has overrun for the North Dakota congressional seat previously and Mund said that “Part of the decision to run was based off the Dobbs decision. I knew now more than ever, women need to be represented. I think we all have a right to privacy. And so that that’s one thing that’s really impactful that both sides are very split on. But I think America is pretty central on the issue… [Y]ou should have the right to choose. But not just that, you should not have the government coming in your bedroom. They should not be in your doctor’s appointments, they should not be telling you how to raise your children. I just think it was time that if we’re going to overturn precedent that’s 50-plus years old. we need to have more women in office and we need to have the female voice heard… I respect Representative Armstrong. But I looked at his voting record and I don’t think it aligns with North Dakotans— voting against veterans voting against the infant formula, voting against capping insulin, voting against the infrastructure bill. I mean, these are all things that are crucial to North Dakotans. And I don’t think our voice is being heard.”

Last month the Associated Press reported that “Her run comes as North Dakota’s only abortion clinic in Fargo prepares to relocate across the border to Minnesota to avoid recrimination if courts allow a law banning all abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the pregnant woman to be enforced… Mund is seeking to present herself as independent of Republicans and Democrats, a candidate with the public’s best interest in mind who would seek common ground. She believes she would appeal to a large portion of the electorate who are fed up with the two-party system that controls politics.”

On Friday, the Fargo Forum published a column by Mike McFreely claiming, after seeing a new poll that the race is competitive. The reason, he claims, the issue of Choice. Armstrong, the DFM Research poll shows, is ahead by just 4 points— 44% to 40%. “The numbers are shocking if they accurately reflect North Dakotans' views of Armstrong and Mund,” wrote McFeely. “Armstrong won his 2020 bid for re-election with nearly 70% of the vote while Democrat Zach Raknerud received less than 30%. It's the first poll on the race to be made public. It's likely Republicans are conducting polls, but none have been made public.” If a GOP poll showed anything that close, they would never release it to the public.

Armstrong, who hasn’t reported his fundraising numbers since June 30, has raised $1,316,681. There are no numbers in yet for Mund and no outside spending for either candidate.

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