“Mark’s decision to suspend his campaign could not have been easy,” Mund said in a statement to the Bismarck Tribune. “His willingness to step up for his party while also staying true to himself is something I admire greatly about him. I wish Mark the best as he continues to be a true leader in the ND Dem-NPL for years to come.”
Democratic-NPL Party Chairman Patrick Hart said that in his role he does not tell anyone what to do, but he supported Haugen’s decision to withdraw.
Haugen was nominated at the March convention of the Democrat-NPL Party and faced no opposition on the June primary ballot.
In a mid-August interview with KX News, he described himself as a “whole life” candidate who supports a mother and her baby after birth and throughout life. He backed expanding the child tax credit, Medicaid, and funding for child care programs.
Haugen reflected on the situation that pro-life Democrats face.
“About one in five Democrats consider themselves in that pro-life category,” he told CNA.
“A lot of people stay silent. They’re probably not as active as I am,” he said. “But they believe in social justice, they believe that good government can reduce abortion.”
While Haugen’s views were “well known” at the nominating convention, Hart said, in the party chairman’s view “the landscape has changed” after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which rejected the pro-abortion-rights precedent and returned the abortion debate to the states.
Hart said his party is not endorsing Mund.
Shelley Lenz, the party’s 2020 gubernatorial candidate, told political columnist Rob Port she was “disgusted” and “a little angry” by the move against Haugen by some party leaders, saying “they forced him out.”
Haugen is listed in the faculty and staff directory of the University of Mary. His biography says that his wife, Sharol, is a math and religion teacher at St. Mary’s Academy, a Catholic middle school in Bismarck. He is also a member of the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus Honor Guard.
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His listing says he is at the University of Mary because he has “a passion for serving students” and because “I enjoy living and practicing the Benedictine values.”
Kevin J. Jones is a senior staff writer with Catholic News Agency. He was a recipient of a 2014 Catholic Relief Services' Egan Journalism Fellowship.