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Are political conventions losing their gravitas?

A UND Political Science professor says it appears that GOP party endorsing conventions don’t carry as much weight as they used to.

Mark Jendrysik said there are several reasons for this.

"Part of it is, this is a nationalization of politics, where national political issues become very important to some people," Jendrysik said.

And Jendrysik said many candidates run their own campaigns now.

"The party's support, the party's endorsement, the party's money all carry less weight than it used to," Jendrysik said. "You don't really need the party's money or endorsement to run an effective campaign any more."

And Jendrysik said the ability of the party to stop people from running has declined.

"Especially given there's no competition with the Democrats," Jendrysik said. "When there was competition from the Democrats at the statewide level and in the Legislature, and Democrats held the seats in Congress, there had to be more party discipline on the part of the Republicans. Now, you don't need party discipline, really, because who ever has the Republican nomination would likely win."

Jendrysik said it now becomes a matter of personal differences, and less of differences over policy.

State Sen. Jerry Klein (R-Fessenden) was denied the nomination for re-election at the District 14 convention, along with his two House mates, Rep. Jon Nelson (R-Rugby) and Rep. Robin Weisz (R-Hurdsfield). All three won in the primary. Klein said there has been some talk about making changes to the candidate endorsement process, looking at those conventions differently.

"We saw what happened this time," Klein said. "The endorsed candidates didn't fare well, both statewide and district wide. I think you will see some effort to look at the endorsing conventions differently."

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