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Plain Talk: NDGOP chairman says party may pull support for candidates in slurs controversy

On this episode of Plain Talk, NDGOP Chairman Perrie Schafer says Republican candidates caught up in the controversy over bigoted speech in a North Dakota Young Republicans chat group may lose the support of the party. Also, he says Rick Becker, who is running for the U.S. Senate as an independent after losing the NDGOP's endorsement this spring, a man who "can't be trusted."

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MINOT, N.D. — NDGOP party chairman Perrie Schafer says he's looking into the controversy around the use of homophobic slurs and other bigoted language in a messaging group organized by the North Dakota Young Republicans, and there may be consequences for Republican candidates who were a part of it.

"This is an organization," he said of his party on this episode of Plain Talk. "We get to choose who we're associated with."

He said he wants to be fair to the members of the group, which is affiliated with the NDGOP and has a non-voting seat on the party's governing committee, but that some of the people who participated in the group may find themselves out in the cold.

"We have a right to choose who is in our group," Schafer said.

"Personal responsibility and accountability are apparently not what these people want," he added, noting that some members of the group, including Carter Eisenberger, a Republican candidate for the state House in District 11, indicated that they were proud of the slurs being used.

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"While the comments are protected free speech, I want to reaffirm that NDSU values a community that is inclusive and collegial, and those comments are not reflective of our values," NDSU President David Cook said in a released statement sent ahead of the video's publication.

Schafer also weighed in on outgoing state Rep. Rick Becker choosing to launch an independent U.S. Senate campaign against endorsed Republican incumbent John Hoeven. "He gave up his right to run as a Republican," Schafer said of Becker's decision.

"The man can't be trusted," he added, noting that Becker had previously promised to respect the vote of Republican delegates to the NDGOP's state convention.

Also on this episode, Wednesday co-host Chad Oban and I discuss the North Dakota Young Republicans controversy, Cara Mund's independent bid for the House of Representatives, and more.

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Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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