Ex-Miss America runs for North Dakota congressional seat to secure abortion rights

BISMARCK, ND (AP) – Former Miss America Cara Mund said Wednesday that her concern about the erosion of abortion rights prompted her to make an independent bid for the US House in her home state of Dakota. North.

Mund, who runs against the odds in deeply conservative North Dakota, told The Associated Press that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the constitutional right to abortion was “just a moment when I knew we needed more women in power.”

The 28-year-old recent Harvard Law School graduate announced her candidacy on Saturday, just weeks before the start of early voting in the state where Republicans hold all statewide offices.

His run comes as North Dakota’s only abortion clinic is Fargo prepares to move across the border to Minnesota to avoid recriminations if courts allow enforcement of a law banning all abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the pregnant woman.

The fact that the government is “forcing women to cross state lines is going to impact women and women of lower socio-economic status,” she said.

Acting as her own campaign manager and without any fundraising mechanism, the Bismarck native has started collecting the 1,000 signatures she needs to put on the ballot. If she does, in November she will face Republican U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, who has held the state’s only House seat since 2019, and Democrat Mark Haugen de Bismarck, a University of Mary graduate adviser who has long worked as a paramedic.

Mund’s stance on abortion runs counter to active evangelical conservatives in North Dakota. But the question could draw votes from endorsed candidates from both parties, and it could especially be a spoiler for Haugen, a Roman Catholic who opposes abortion.

“If she’s pro-choice, then she’s running to my left on this issue,” he said.

Armstrong, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump and former chairman of the state’s GOP party, said Mund appears to have all the trappings of a Democrat.

“It looks like people pretty high up in Democratic politics are excited about this,” Armstrong said of Mund’s attempt to get into the race. “It doesn’t change what we do.”

Mund is seeking to run as an independent of Republicans and Democrats, a public-interest-minded candidate who would seek common ground. She thinks she would appeal to much of the electorate who are fed up with the two-party system that controls politics.

“It’s not fair to force Americans to choose one side or the other,” she said.

Even without a party apparatus to back him up, Mund is a known entity in North Dakota and known for speaking his mind.

She won the Miss North Dakota crown on a platform to increase the number of women elected to political office. At Miss America in 2017, she said Trump was wrong to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accords that aim to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Mund said in 2018 that she had been bullied and silenced by leaders of the Miss America organization. The head of the organization’s board of directors subsequently resigned.

Mund said win or lose, she plans to stay in North Dakota and one day raise a family. She recently passed the state bar exam and is awaiting the results.

She intends to continue to hold public office if she loses, and views the House race as a personal challenge, even if it is daunting.

The biggest failures of her life, she says, “are the things I was too afraid to try.”

For full AP coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, go to https://apnews.com/hub/abortion


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