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ND-01: Matt Mechtel vs. Earl Pomeroy

One of the strangest things about North Dakota is that the Roughrider State has not had a Republican U.S. senator since 1986 and last had a Republican as its congressman-at-large in 1980.

That is particularly strange because not only has the state twice given its electoral votes to George W. Bush, but has filled all statewide offices save that of commissioner of agriculture with Republicans and given handsome majorities to the GOP in both the state senate and state house of representatives.

So why has North Dakota elected liberal Democrat Earl Pomeroy to its lone congressional seat since 1992?

“In large part, it’s because more than 90% of his sizable campaign funds come from political action committees outside the state and that has discouraged Republican contributors and strong candidates,” said Roger Timm, campaign manager for Republican hopeful Matt Mechtel, “and the result is a congressman who doesn’t represent the common-sense values of the businessmen, housewives, and farmers of North Dakota.”

As recent examples of this, Timm cites the votes of Pomeroy (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 24%) against the fence along the Mexican border, against warrantless anti-terrorist intercepts and against federal protection of religious monuments.

Such votes and such a record are finally coming under fire this year, as Pomeroy faces conservative Republican Matt Mechtel, a farmer from Cass County in the Northwest corner of the state. At 37, Mechtel has been a farmer for 20 years, launched a few successful small businesses, and is a gourmet cook. His political experience has been limited to donating money to the state Republican Party, but this has not stopped GOP powerhouses—notably Republican National Committeewoman Connie Nicholas and husband Gene, a 32-year state legislator—from weighing in strongly for the neophyte candidate.

Because of his lack of political experience and varied life in the private sector, Matt Mechtel is everything that Earl Pomeroy—who has been in elective office for 26 unbroken years—is not. Mechtel favors the Bush tax cuts and making them permanent, supports oil drilling in Alaska, and the tough, amnesty-free border-security measures passed by the House. A strong backer of the War on Terror, Mechtel wants a permanent Patriot Act as well as a declaration of war on terror itself.

As a political newcomer challenging a seasoned incumbent, Matt Mechtel follows in the tradition of another conservative Republican who was repeatedly questioned about his lack of political experience. That same Republican would concede that his opponent did indeed have many years of experience and quickly add: “That’s why I’m running.” And he won. His name was Ronald Reagan.

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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