Democrat-NPL U.S. House candidate Mark Haugen has suspended his campaign, citing pressure from within his own party to step aside in favor of former Miss America Cara Mund, who is making a late bid for Congress as an independent.
Haugen opposes abortion, while Mund says one of the reasons she's running is because of her desire to preserve abortion rights.
Haugen said he will notify the Secretary of State’s Office of his decision on Tuesday.
"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," he said in a statement. "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 said.
People are also reading…
Mund in a statement to the Tribune said: "Mark’s decision to suspend his campaign could not have been easy. His willingness to step up for his party while also staying true to himself is something I admire greatly about him. I wish Mark the best as he continues to be a true leader in the ND Dem-NPL for years to come. As an independent, I am committed to fighting for the people of North Dakota. It’s time we finally put the people over the party."
Haugen, a University of Mary graduate adviser in Bismarck who has long worked as a paramedic, faced no opposition in the Democratic primary in June. He was seeking to unseat Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, who also opposes abortion. Armstrong is seeking a third term. He won his second term in 2020 with 69% of the vote.
Mund, a Bismarck native, Harvard Law School graduate and 2018 Miss America, announced her bid for Congress about a month ago, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturning the constitutional right to an abortion. She faces a Tuesday deadline to submit the 1,000 petition signatures needed to make the November ballot as an independent.
Democratic-NPL Party Chairman Patrick Hart said in a statement that "In my role as chair I don't tell anyone what to do," but that "I will support Mark’s decision to withdraw from the race."
"Mark stepped up during convention for this race," Hart said, referring to the party's state endorsing convention in March. "At that time his views were well known but since then the landscape has changed due to the Dobbs (Supreme Court abortion) decision."
The state Republican Party issued a statement saying the "Dem-NPL is finally saying the quiet part out loud: Cara is a radical Democrat who is more in tune with their agenda."
Haugen in 2020 ran for state treasurer and had the best showing of Democrats in statewide races, with 34% of the vote.