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Port: Here's 12 minutes of Senate candidate Rick Becker whining about how Republicans don't like him any more

At a recent event put on by the District 7 NDGOP, they honored outgoing Sen. Nicole Poolman, but they didn't heap the same praise on Rep. Rick Becker, and Becker would really like you to know that he's not upset about it.

Rep. Rick Becker
State Rep. Rick Becker, who left the North Dakota Republican Party to run for the U.S. Senate as an independent candidate, speaks during a Facebook live video in which he complains about Republicans not properly honoring his service in the Legislature.
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MINOT, N.D. — One of my favorite genres of social media umbrage is "I'm not bothered by this thing I'm ranting about" rant.

You know what I'm talking about. It's a person who is going on and on about some topic while simultaneously insisting that they aren't upset about it.

Independent U.S. Senate candidate Rick Becker just made one of those videos.

The occasion was a banquet event held by the District 7 Republicans. At this event, Sen. Nicole Poolman, who announced her retirement from the Legislature earlier this year, was feted for her service by her fellow Republicans. There was even a video played of Congressman Kelly Armstrong honoring Poolman with a statement on the floor of the U.S. House.

Poolman is a widely respected lawmaker, among both Democrats and Republicans, which is something even Becker himself acknowledges.


So why is Becker piqued? Because he didn't get the same sort of send-off from his district party as Poolman did, and now his feelings are hurt.

Like, really hurt. Also, they wouldn't let him tout his independent campaign for the U.S. Senate, and that got under his skin too.

In a 12-minute video, filled with disclaimers about how he's not intending to disparage anyone, and how this whole thing, like, isn't really a big deal or anything, he accuses his fellow District 7 Republicans of being "blue-pilled" establishment types who just don't, like, get it.

You know?

It's not my place to speak for the District 7 Republicans, but it's pretty obvious why Becker wouldn't be honored in the same way Poolman was, even if Becker himself lacks the self-awareness to understand it.

Poolman didn't spend 10 years in the Legislature alienating her fellow lawmakers.

Poolman didn't start a rump caucus aimed at dividing the party.

Poolman hasn't used social media, and a cable access television show, to sling indignant opprobrium at her fellow lawmakers, including her fellow Republicans.


And, most importantly, Poolman didn't leave the NDGOP behind to run the U.S. Senate as an independent, betraying a promise made to Republican convention delegates to respect the process through which they chose a different candidate for that race.

"I would never and did not advocate for any sort of end-run shenanigans. I wanted to push to make sure that shenanigans weren't being pushed in either direction," North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley said in response to a report that he advocated for recounts in the 2020 election in a message that reached former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows.
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This strategy playing nice with lunatics will eventually blow up and start costing Republicans elections.

Becker loves playing hardball with those he demeans as "the establishment." He's all rough-and-tumble with them. The name of his low-rent TV show is literally "No Apologies."

But now Becker thinks he's owed an apology, he thinks he's a victim of "the establishment," because the District 7 Republicans wouldn't let him tout his independent campaign against John Hoeven, the Republican incumbent in the U.S. Senate race?

And because they didn't give him the praise they gave Poolman?

Can Becker honestly say that he's earned it?

Becker used his seat in the Legislature to serve himself. He used it to garner a modicum of local celebrity for himself. He used it to divide North Dakota's dominant political party, threatening to undo a supermajority built on the back of three decades worth of pragmatic, moderate governance.

He disagrees with all this, obviously, but this is also the guy who didn't realize he might get the cold shoulder from the political party he's actively campaigning against on the ballot.

Maybe Rick Becker's distended, overweening opinion of himself isn't the lens through which we should be viewing his political career.

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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