MINOT, N.D. — Rep. Jeff Hoverson (R-Minot) had to miss the anti-vaccine mandate rally he helped organize this week because he contracted COVID-19. That's why he's attending to his duties during the special session of the Legislature remotely.

It's also why he disparaged House Majority Leader Chet Pollert (R-Carrington) during a tense debate over a redistricting bill.

Hoverson told me he may be censured for "calling him out for his spinelessness."

During the debate on House Bill 1504, Hoverson asked for permission to question Pollert. House rules require members to ask permission from the speaker of the House before asking another member a question on the floor.

Pollert agreed, and Hoverson asked if he felt the interim redistricting committee did its work fairly. Pollert answered in the affirmative, and then Hoverson continued his remarks, ending by saying he'd like to "see a little more spine" from legislative leadership.

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Lawmakers from the far-right Bastiat Caucus, which Hoverson is a member of, have objected to the redistricting plan that was before the House because it impacts three caucus members in District 26 in the southeast corner of the state. One of those lawmakers, Rep. Sebastian Ertelt, a Republican from Lisbon, offered an alternative district map, but that was defeated.

"I may be censured tomorrow," Hoverson told me when he called about the incident.

He blamed his irritability on COVID-19 which has given him a "brain fog," though he added that's "no excuse."

"I always believed it takes a bigger man to apologize. I did apologize on his voicemail tonight. I will do so publicly too if need be. If calling someone spineless rises to the level of needing to be censured, then that's OK too."

"It was stupid, but I did apologize," he continued.

Hoverson also told me he would miss at least some of his legislative work on Wednesday because he has a doctor's appointment related to COVID-19.

"I'm not going to do anything," Pollert told me. "We're in a high-stress time. Tempers flare. I hope I kept mine. I'm not going to say anything ugly about Rep. Hoverson."

"I'm not doing anything," he continued. "If someone else is, I'm not a part of it."

This isn't the first time there has been tension between the Bastiats and the rest of the Republican majority in the Legislature.

Earlier this year, during the Legislature's regular session, Luke Simons, a Bastiat Caucus member from Dickinson, was expelled after multiple accusations of sexual harassment were made public in this column. The idea that Simons was mistreated, and denied due process, has been a frequent complaint from the Bastiats and their supporters since.

To comment on this article, visit www.sayanythingblog.com

Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at rport@forumcomm.com.