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Port: Democrat-NPL House candidate says Cara Mund's supporters have pressured him out of the race

"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," U.S. House candidate Mark Haugen said in a released statement.

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Mark Haugen, a student adviser at the University of Mary in Bismarck, announces his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives at the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party's state convention in Minot on Saturday, March 26, 2022.
Kyle Martin / The Forum
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MINOT, N.D. — Over the last week it's become clear that former Miss America Cara Mund, who announced an independent campaign for the U.S. House last month, has become the preferred candidate for left-of-center North Dakotans .

Now Mark Haugen, a pro-life Democrat who accepted the North Dakota Democratic-NPL's nomination for the House earlier this year, says he's bowing out of the race, and the reason is pressure he's received from Mund's supporters.

"It is with a heavy heart that I announce that I am suspending my campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives and will be notifying the Secretary of State’s office of my decision on Tuesday," he wrote in a press release. "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. 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."

He says he will be holding a press conference on Labor Day to further explain his decision.

Haugen actually survived a push from some leaders in the Democratic-NPL to have the party disavow his candidacy, and his pro-life views, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

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Mund has said she entered the race as a pro-choice candidate because of that Supreme Court ruling, though she has insisted that she's an independent candidate, despite fundraising with a former chairman of the Democratic-NPL .

But one of the big obstacles Mund faced, given her appeal to Democratic-NPL voters, was that she'd split that vote with Haugen. And the size of that voting bloc was already too small to win a statewide campaign.

Now Mund won't be facing Haugen, and that should make her race even easier, though now her claims of independence ring hollow in a race against a popular Republican incumbent, Kelly Armstrong, in a very Republican-leaning state.

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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