Sen. Kelly Armstrong of Dickinson elected chair of ND Republican Party

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School of Law


State Sen. Kelly Armstrong of Dickinson was unanimously elected chairman of North Dakota’s Republican party Saturday afternoon during a statewide GOP committee meeting in Bismarck.

Armstrong will serve a two-year term as he chairs the GOP's executive committee. The position primarily takes the lead for Republican messaging and candidate recruitment in the state.

"I think I can bring some things to the table that help the Republican Party experience success in the future," Armstrong said in a phone interview.

Former GOP Chairman Robert Harms announced to party officials Friday morning that he would not seek re-election to a second term.

Armstrong said he intends to keep his District 36 senate seat. He was elected in 2012 and will seek re-election in 2016.

"I'm humbled. It's an awesome responsibility," he said. "Along with being a state senator, I'm going to take it very seriously and I'll do the best I can."

Armstrong's obvious goals include keeping the Republican party in power in North Dakota. The GOP has a supermajority in both the Senate and House of Representatives, and holds all of the state's executive positions.

Still, Armstrong said the party can't become complacent. He said he hopes to reinvigorate the party at a grassroots volunteer level and revitalize its state-level fundraising.

"It's about the future of North Dakota and they care deeply about it and they're passionate about it," Armstrong said of those in his party. "Between fundraising, getting volunteers and learning how to run campaigns in the new digital world, there's a lot of things to work on."

While not serving his party, Armstrong is partner for the Reichert Armstrong Law Firm and is the vice president of the Armstrong Corp. He is a graduate of the University of North Dakota.

He and his wife, Kjersti, have two children and they are active in the Dickinson community.

Armstrong's election to the position means southwest North Dakota natives now chair both the state's Republican and Democrat-NPL parties.

Kylie Overson, who graduated from Killdeer High School and is a state representative in Grand Forks, was elected Democratic chair in March.

Other officers elected at Saturday's GOP meeting include Jim Poolman, vice chairman; Carma Hanson, vice chairwoman; Kyle Handegard, secretary; Shane Goettle, treasurer; Ken Callahan, Region I chairman; Paul Henderson, Region II chairman; Paul Owens, Region III chairman; Sheri Haugen-Hoffart, Region IV chairman.