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Port: Democratic-NPL rips leaked Roe v. Wade opinion as 'vile' but their House candidate supports it

The North Dakota Democratic-NPL may have forgotten that their U.S. House candidate is pro-life.

Mark Haugen, a student advisor at the University of Mary in Bismarck, announces his candidacy for 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. — The political reaction to a leaked draft opinion that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade precedent has set off a furious political reaction.

Much of it, here in North Dakota as elsewhere, breaking down on start partisan lines. For instance, House Minority Leader Josh Boschee, a Democratic state representative from a Fargo-area district, ripped "GOP overreach" in a tweet ripping the draft opinion.

The Democratic-NPL itself shared the Facebook version of Boschee's message on its official page , and party chairman Patrick Hart also sent out an email fundraising blast to party members ripping the draft opinion as a "vile, damning" decision that would "relegate women across the country as second class citizens."

The Democratic-NPL is asking for money to help them keep abortion legal by giving them money so they can elect a candidate who thinks abortion should be illegal.

You can't make this stuff up.


Mark Haugen was endorsed for a U.S. House campaign by the Democratic-NPL's state convention earlier this year.

Mr. Hart, as party chairman, presided over the endorsement.

I spoke with Haugen this afternoon and asked him about the leaked opinion, which has been deemed authentic by Chief Justice John Roberts , though not necessarily representative of what the court will ultimately decide.

"I support it," Haugen told me. "My convictions are very strong. My faith is very strong."

A lot of people are watching these Republican primaries. North Dakota's government is dominated by Republicans, and there is a pitched battle going on right now for the soul of the NDGOP. These legislative races are the trenches in that battle. So far, based on one of the few objective data points we have, it appears the traditional conservatives are positioned to keep their hold on the party.

As I noted in a previous column , North Dakota has some laws on the books that would limit abortions if the Roe precedent is overturned, including a 2007 law that would make all abortions outside of cases of rape, incest, or medical necessity a felony.

Haugen said he supports those "trigger" laws as well, adding that he supports the health and rights of mothers, but that the "rights of the baby are paramount."

Haugen's decision to run for the House this cycle was made the same day he received the party's endorsement. The only other candidate to come forward for the party's endorsement at the convention was Roland Riemers, a long-time gadfly in North Dakota politics who typically runs for office as a libertarian.

At the convention there weren't any objections from other Democrats about Haugen's pro-life views, but Haugen acknowledged that may change now that events have catapulted the abortion issue to the forefront in what was already gearing up to be a contentious midterm election cycle.


Haugen said there would "likely be some talk" in Democratic circles about his position, but that he would "proudly run on the pro-life label."

He also said he's running on "so many other issues" as well like access to health care and building out infrastructure that represent "core Democratic values," and he hopes Democrats consider those issues as well.

For what it's worth, his campaign website makes no mention of the abortion issue at all.

Haugen is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination in the June primary, and will be challenging incumbent Republican Kelly Amrstrong in the November general election.

Armstrong has also said he supports a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

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 Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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