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Former Republican congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul provided his endorsement to Bismarck Rep. Rick Becker’s gubernatorial campaign Friday.

The endorsement is the most high-profile of Becker’s endorsements so far, which include several conservative legislators.

“He understands free market economics and has a record of fighting for civil liberties in the North Dakota House," Paul said in a release issued Friday by the Becker campaign. "We absolutely must elect strong, liberty-minded governors who have the courage to stand up to federal overreach and government bureaucrats.”

“I’m honored to have the support of one of America’s leading advocates of limited, constitutional government,” Becker said in the release. “The message of personal and economic freedom, along with the responsibility it requires, is deeply rooted in the values and traditions of North Dakotans.”

Becker is seeking the party’s nomination at its April 1-3 convention in Fargo along with Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Fargo businessman Doug Burgum.

Paul ran as the Libertarian Party presidential nominee in 1988 and for the GOP nomination in 2008 and 2012. In 2012, he campaigned in North Dakota.

Becker, a plastic surgeon, was elected to the Legislature in 2012.

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(Reach Nick Smith at 701-250-8255 or 701-223-8482 or at nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.)

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