Well, that was a whirlwind. Looks like Dave Roetman’s brief stint with the North Dakota Republican Party (NDGOP) was more of a sneak preview than a feature presentation. After some rather unsavory social media posts resurfaced, Roetman made an abrupt exit from the spotlight Monday, leaving his freshly printed business cards and a trail of furrowed brows in his wake.
If North Dakota had a revolving-door policy for their GOP Executive Directors, Roetman would have nailed it perfectly. It seems like only yesterday the news broke that our own local politico was set to lead the NDGOP. Turns out, he was just going for a quick tour, something to tell the grandkids about, perhaps.
Digging up old social media posts is like opening Pandora’s box — you never know what’s going to pop out. In Roetman’s case, some rather shady posts featuring a dash of misogyny and pinch of bigotry were brought to attention by a sharp-eyed reporter at Inforum, undoubtedly changing the course of Roetman’s political trajectory faster than a North Dakota snowstorm in February.
We live in an era where “likes” on a social media platform can carry more weight than one’s initial intentions, but if Roetman were expected to deliver a heartfelt apology, folks would have to keep waiting. When asked about it, Roetman essentially said, “No regrets,” or in political terms, he stands by his words. Even for a politician, that’s a level of audacity that’s worth noting.
With all the drama one might expect from a daytime soap opera, top party officials were left juggling hot potatoes, politely urging Roetman to step down. The NDGOP’s newly elected chair, Sandi Sanford, managed to keep calm, carry on, and not publicly comment on the fiasco, surely making her tea parties with Governor Doug Burgum a tad awkward in the future.
One cannot help but wonder what swap-meet deal Roetman was expecting from North Dakota. Was the promise of a new life in Bismarck, a house with a white picket fence, and two years of job stability tempting enough to make Roetman want to dip his toes in the frigid waters of North Dakotan politics?
Roetman’s decision to withdraw from the NDGOP without a fight and return to South Dakota is as sudden as his surprise election campaign for Secretary of State Monae Johnson in 2022. That upset, which caught former Secretary of State Steve Barnett and GOP state chair Dan Lederman off guard, was a shock wave felt throughout the political scene.
It’s worth noting that while Roetman is resigning from NDGOP, he isn’t planning on leaving politics behind completely. He might be packing up his suitcases again, but this time he’s not leaving South Dakota. Whether his influence will be as strong after his short stint in North Dakota is a matter of debate.
His political career is akin to a bumpy rollercoaster ride that leaves you slightly queasy and wondering why you got on in the first place. But for now, South Dakotans, prepare to welcome back the man who’s made more headlines than a celebrity romance – our own political maverick, Dave Roetman. Corinthians 13:11 once said, “When I became a man, I put away childish things.” Seems like for some in the political ring, Twitter might need to be one of those things.