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Port: Rick Becker's political super hero schtick wasn't enough

Hoeven wins the NDGOP's convention endorsement.

Sen. John Hoeven delivers a speech to delegates at the NDGOP's 2022 state convention in Bismarck, North Dakota, on April 2, 2022.
Sen. John Hoeven delivers a speech to delegates at the NDGOP's 2022 state convention in Bismarck, North Dakota, on April 2, 2022.
Photo by Kyle Martin
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Minot, N.D. — Imagine the level of ego it takes for a politician to stand in front of a group of voters and, after spending a half hour ranting out an almost dystopian view of America in 2022, tell those voters that the only way to save America is to elect them.

That's precisely what state Rep. Rick Becker did at the culmination of a stormy speech to the convention.

America needs to be saved. Rick Becker, apparently, is the only person who can do it.

It's been a long and strange trip from when Becker began in the legislature a decade ago as a thoughtful, libertarian-minded policymaker to the screeching culture warrior who took the stage in Bismarck today in front of the 2,321 credentialed Republican delegates.

Along that path, Becker discovered that a smug sort of chest-thumping populism was a good way to get attention. It certainly attracted a lot of boisterous activists to his cause (they booed Sen. Cramer when he delivered a speech in favor of Hoeven's candidacy).

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Today Becker is the sort of libertarian who thinks only electing him to the Senate can save the world.

In the end, the NDGOP's delegates preferred the known-quantity pragmatism of Hoeven's leadership over Becker's delusions of being some sort of political superman who can right the ship.

State Rep. Rick Becker delivers a speech to delegates in support of his campaign for the U.S. Senate at the NDGOP's 2022 state convention in Bismarck, North Dakota, April 2, 2022.
State Rep. Rick Becker delivers a speech to delegates in support of his campaign for the U.S. Senate at the NDGOP's 2022 state convention in Bismarck, North Dakota, April 2, 2022.
Photo by Kyle Martin

That's probably because Hoeven's approach is rooted in reality, and Becker's is rooted in the overwrought fabulisms that flow from the fever swamps of social media and cable news programming.

Becker made it close. Closer than many would have ever expected. But in the end, he only got 1,037 votes to Hoeven's 1,234.

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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