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Port: U.S. House candidate Cara Mund holding fundraiser at home of former Democratic-NPL chairman

Mund's campaign is advertising a fundraiser at the home of Thomas Dickson, a former chairman of the Democratic-NPL who has spent decades working to elect Democrats and defeat Republicans.

Mund
Cara Mund meets with residents as she collects signatures Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, in West Acres Mall, Fargo, to be placed on the ballot for the U.S. House of Representatives as an independent.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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MINOT, N.D. — Former Miss North Dakota, and former Miss America, Cara Mund has entered the state's U.S. House race as an independent taking on Republican incumbent Kelly Armstrong.

Along the way, she has specifically eschewed partisan affiliation. "I'm not a party — I'm a person," she told political reporter Jeremy Turley earlier this month .

That's a nice talking point, but at some point voters are going to want to know what Mund stands for, beyond being independent. North Dakotans want policy positions. They want to know who she'll vote for to be Speaker of the House if elected. Would it be someone like current Speaker Nancy Pelosi? Or a Republican, like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy?

Mund's few on-the-record policy stances so far come down on the left side of the political ledger — she's pro-choice, she's a fan of former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she was critical of the American exit from the climate stipulations of the Paris Accord.

Now her campaign has scheduled a fundraiser at the Bismarck home of a former chairman of the Democratic-NPL, hosted by a group of other recognizable left-of-center and Democratic activists.

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Cara Mund campaign fundraiser invitation
An invitation to an August 31, 2022, fundraiser for independent U.S. House candidate Cara Mund's campaign, to be held at the home of attorney Thomas Dickson, a former chairman of the Democratic-NPL, and a long-time activist in Democratic politics.
Submitted photo

Thomas Dickson served as the chairman of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL from 2001 to 2005.

Just last year he was honored by the party for decades of activism in Democratic politics, including serving as the chairman of former U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's campaign, and serving as treasurer for the One Country Fund, a political action committee founded in part by Heitkamp to raise funds for Democrats.

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Why would someone like Dickson, who has spent decades working to defeat Republicans and elect Democrats, who is the very definition of a partisan Democrat (and I'm not using that term pejoratively) endorse someone like Mund? Someone who claims she's not a Democrat?

Maybe Mund is less "independent" than she's letting on?

To be fair, one would expect that a true independent would attract support from people who, traditionally, might be Democrats or Republicans. But so far, Mund has only shown us policy positions and support that come down on the left side of American politics, and it's getting late in the game to show voters another side as well.

Early voting commences in 31 days, and it's starting to seem like Mund is the candidate for North Dakota liberals who, upset about having pro-life Democrat Mark Haugen as their House candidate after the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs, have turned to Mund as an alternative.

I reached out to Mund by phone and Facebook message but didn't receive a reply.

I also called Dickson and left a message at his law office which wasn't immediately returned.

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In related Cara Mund news, for those curious about how serious Mund's campaign is, there are some telling details from the campaign committee organizing documents she filed with the FEC late last week (see below).

In them, Mund lists herself as campaign treasurer, which gibes with statements she's made publicly about having no campaign staff. As a campaign talking point, I suppose the "I'm doing it myself" thing has a certain quaint appeal, but as a practical matter of retail politics, it's not a good sign for those hoping Mund will be a factor in this race.

Running a political campaign is a lot of work, even for experienced people with well-funded and fully-staffed campaigns who start a lot earlier in the campaign cycle than Mund did. The notoriety she enjoys from being a former Miss America running for Congress ameliorates some of that, but speaking as someone who has covered political campaigns for a couple of decades now, she'd be better off if she hired some help.

Maybe she'll be able to afford to after cashing some of the checks she gets at Dickson's house.

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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