Democrat says party pressured him to step aside for former Miss America in North Dakota House race

FILE – Miss America 2018 Cara Mund poses for photographers on the 86th Floor Observation Deck of the Empire State Building in New York, Sept. 12, 2017. Mund, the former Miss America who gained attention by criticizing the organization near the end of her reign in 2018, is planning to run for Congress in North Dakota as an independent, she announced Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Mark Haugen, the Democratic candidate for North Dakota’s only open House seat, has suspended his campaign, citing pressure from his own party to make way for independent candidate and former Miss America Cara Mund.

Haugen issued a brief announcement of his campaign’s suspension on Twitter on Sunday, but local outlets later reported that Haugen dropped out due to “the far left’s concerns” over his pro-life position. 

“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,” Haugen said in a statement quoted in The Bismarck Tribune. 

“Knowing this, without the support from the Democratic-NPL party, I don’t see a viable path forward to winning this race,” he added.

The Hill has reached out to Haugen’s campaign and the North Dakota Democratic-NPL for comment. 

The state’s Republican Party released a statement saying, “Dem-NPL is finally saying the quiet part out loud: Cara is a radial Democrat who is more in tune with their agenda.”  

Mund on Tuesday turned in the signatures needed to get her campaign on the November ballot, she confirmed to The Hill via email.

She turned in about 1,600 signatures more than the 1,000 required, now pending review from the secretary of state. 

“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,” Mund told The Hill in an email. 

The 2022 graduate of Harvard Law School has pitted herself as “the only pro-choice candidate” in the race with incumbent Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.).  

Mund became critical of the Miss America organization toward the end of her 2018 reign and accused its leadership of bullying and silencing her, which then-Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson denied. Carlson, a former Fox News host, later resigned. 

Tags Cara Mund Dem-NPL Fox News Gretchen Carlson Gretchen Carlson Kelly Armstrong Kelly Armstrong Mark Haugen Miss America Organization North Dakota

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