Pro-life Democrat congressional candidate Mark Haugen said over the weekend that he would step aside from his House race in North Dakota after the party made it clear that it would support pro-choice candidate Cara Mund, who managed to get on the ballot as an independent.
“Over the past several days, I have received pressure from many Democratic-NPL Party leaders and other activists on the far left to step away, since Cara Mund has entered the race,” he said in a statement to the Bismarck Tribune. “Much of the far left’s concern is my pro-life position for which I have refused to compromise. Knowing this, without the support from the Democratic-NPL party, I don’t see a viable path forward to winning this race.”
Haugen notified the Secretary of State’s Office of his decision on Tuesday.
“Mark’s decision to suspend his campaign could not have been easy,” Mund told the Tribune. “His willingness to step up for his party while also staying true to himself is something I admire greatly about him. I wish Mark the best as he continues to be a true leader in the ND Dem-NPL for years to come. As an independent, I am committed to fighting for the people of North Dakota. It’s time we finally put the people over the party.”
Only as far back as June, Haugen ran unopposed for the House seat. Still, party leadership cited the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V. Wade and leave abortion decisions to the states as the reason for Mund, a former Miss America, getting into the race at this late hour.
“Mark stepped up during convention for this race,” Democratic-NPL Party Chairman Patrick Hart said, adding that he didn’t tell Haugen to drop out. “At that time his views were well known but since then the landscape has changed due to the Dobbs (Supreme Court abortion) decision.”
Republicans were quick to point out what had happened.
The state GOP issued a statement saying, “Dem-NPL is finally saying the quiet part out loud: Cara is a radical Democrat who is more in tune with their agenda.”
It won’t matter
In all likelihood, it won’t matter which Democrat candidate faces Republican incumbent Rep. Kelly Armstrong, whom Cook Political Report favors to win the race by 20 points.
Armstrong, a pro-lifer, won her race in 2020 with 69% of the vote.
Democrats are just hoping against hope that Republicans have gone too far on abortion and that voters will rebuke them, but it’s probably not going to happen in North Dakota.
The state had a trigger law to ban most abortions that went into effect when Roe was overturned, but a judge has temporarily blocked the law from taking effect while it is challenged in court.