Michael Steele bus tour crosses N.D.

BISMARCK—The head of the nation’s Republican Party crossed North Dakota on Tuesday to energize the party exactly three weeks before Election Day.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele brought the Fire Pelosi bus tour to Bismarck and Fargo to thank volunteers for their work and spread the message that new leadership is needed in Washington, D.C.

“This is an unprecedented time for us. It is my honor and my pleasure to be chairman at a time where we can actually turn the elephant, as we like to say, and have an opportunity to go out and win and to go out and do some things because we believe in them and to take the concept of “we the people” and elevate it,” Steele said during a pep rally at GOP headquarters in Bismarck.

Steele praised the Republican leadership in North Dakota, particularly U.S. House candidate Rick Berg and U.S. Senate candidate John Hoeven. He urged volunteers to continue their efforts seeking party support.

“Don’t take anything that you’ve done so far as the last step to victory,” Steele said. “The last step is done when the polls close on election night, three weeks from tonight. That’s when you’re done. That’s when you have my permission to relax.”

Steele said he’s taking the bright red bus to 48 states and more than 117 cities. The tour is at the halfway point now. Along the way, Steele said he’s heard anger, frustration and fear about the country’s direction.

Republicans want to move in a new direction, and it’s time to work to make that happen, he said.

“Wednesday (Nov. 3) is when the sweetness comes. Wednesday is what it’s all about,” Steele said.

“Election Day is part one. Part two is the best part, when you get up in the morning and you turn on your TV and watch all those liberal talking heads choke down that Republican victory. That’s what it’s about,” he said to applause.

North Dakota Republican Chairman Tony Clark said the get-out-the-vote effort this year is the best he’s seen.

Wednesday, the Democrats will host a rally in Bismarck for Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., who is facing Berg in the election.

Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad, both Democrats, will endorse Pomeroy at 6:30 p.m. CT at the Elks Club. Former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp will serve as host for the rally.