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ND Republican Party’s executive director resigns after controversial social media posts resurface

Only a week into the job, the North Dakota Republican Party’s executive director has resigned after a media outlet publicized some of his social media posts that were demeaning toward women and dismissed concerns raised by Black people about racism.

The party announced the resignation Monday of Dave Roetman, who previously worked for the South Dakota GOP. He quit seven days after being hired and a few days after Forum News Service reported about his posts and replies on X, formerly known as Twitter. The posts dated from just over a year ago to as recently as this month.

Many of the posts and replies were about political issues. But they also included crass comments, such as replying “she seems nice” to several posts of women in revealing clothing, and responding unfavorably to a woman in a plus-sized swimsuit. In another reply, he speculated about whether women should be addressed as “broads” or “dames,” adding that debates about gender and language are why “men are distancing themselves from women professionally.”

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Ronald Reagan Republican Center sign

This photo shows a sign outside the Ronald Reagan Republican Center in Bismarck, North Dakota on Friday, June 16, 2023. Dave Roetman resigned as the North Dakota Republican Party’s executive director on Tuesday, Oct. 31, after a media outlet publicized his social media posts making fun of women and commenting on Black people. ((AP Photo/Jack Dura))

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In a post about a Black reporter who left a music festival after a man called her a racist word, Roetman replied, “Narcissist?” On a post of a news story about Black Americans moving out of the U.S., he replied with a meme that read, “Well… … bye.”

Roetman told The Associated Press on Monday that “I think that recent events have been a distraction for the party, and I just don’t want it to be a distraction. We need to have a strong party, and I’m just going to take a different path here.”

North Dakota Republican Party Chair Sandi Sanford said she was “very disappointed” by Roetman’s posts. She said the search committee “looked at everything,” and that the disparaging posts were “kind of buried.”

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Sanford said Roetman resigned after they talked about his posts following the Forum article.

“This is your content,” Sanford said she advised Roetman. “You’re an adult, you’re going to have to deal with responding to it.”

The executive director manages the party office and staff, assists with overall financials and fundraising, is the primary contact between the party and district officials, and communicates with elected officials, Sanford said.

Roetman had succeeded Samantha Holly, who resigned in September as executive director, citing “several obstacles that have made it difficult for me to continue working here” in her resignation letter.

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