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N.D. GOP energize at convention

Jack Dalrymple will never forget the 2000 North Dakota Republican state convention. The last thing he expected was to end up on the ballot as lieutenant governor. Now here he is asking the state to grant him and Gov. John Hoeven a third term. The...

Jack Dalrymple will never forget the 2000 North Dakota Republican state convention.

The last thing he expected was to end up on the ballot as lieutenant governor.

Now here he is asking the state to grant him and Gov. John Hoeven a third term.

The Republican state convention kicked off Friday with politicians from across the state flocking to Fargo to energize the party and endorse candidates.

With his party's endorsement all but in the bag, Dalrymple wants to spend the weekend sharing what he and Hoeven hope to accomplish. He also plans to catch up with old friends.

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"It's just fun to get together with everyone again and see so many familiar faces," Dalrymple said.

Hamming it up

North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm also got off to a good convention start, cracking up the crowd with a story about a senior citizen voter.

A woman approached him and said she liked what he had to say. She told him she would vote for him if he did one thing: a kiss on the cheek.

Hamm said he told her that she probably gave the same line to his opponent, Jasper Schneider of Fargo. She denied that was the case.

"If I ask a candidate to give me a kiss and they do it, I'm voting for them," Hamm recalled her saying.

"Early vote totals are in. I'm up one to nothing," he joked.

The party faithful

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No one can say Dave Nething isn't a true Republican.

The Jamestown senator attended his first state convention in 1959 and still loves the event.

"Seeing old friends is the real attraction, meeting new people," he said.

After all these years, the conventions still have the same functions but are now better organized, Nething added.

Young Republicans

Young Republicans want to make sure their voices get heard throughout the convention.

About 35 College Republicans plan to attend the weekend's activities, said Erik Nygren, the state chairman and a senior at North Dakota State University.

"We're just here to be a part of the process, part of the party," he said. "We want our interests to be heard as college students."

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The NDSU College Republicans and other student groups are coordinating a Support the Troops event today, with a goal of sending packages to North Dakota National Guard soldiers overseas.

Twin governors

The governors of North Dakota and Minnesota shared more than a state border during Friday's opening convention events.

Both looked identical wearing dark suits and gold ties. Asked if they preplanned their dress code, Hoeven joked, "Great minds think alike."

Not going red

State Sen. Joel Heitkamp was a startling sight at the Republican convention.

Democrats can breathe easy, though. The Hankinson politician merely set up his radio show at the Holiday Inn for the afternoon. Heitkamp is not turning Republican.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Teri Finneman at (701) 241-5560

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