Former Miss America Cara Mund’s Marketing campaign in North Dakota

Cara Mund talking with a younger voter. Picture Supply: Wyatt Ell

Cara Mund’s run for North Dakota’s sole seat within the US Home of Representatives is a one-woman present. The 28-year-old and former Miss America says she at present holds practically a dozen job titles: head of social media, marketing campaign supervisor, treasurer.

“I actually earned my approach onto the poll,” Mund says. “There’s a lot that we as girls candidates face by way of limitations that we’ve got to show much more why we need to be there.”

Mund, who graduated from Harvard Regulation Faculty earlier this yr, introduced her candidacy in August — a late entry for any congressional race. However in only a few months, she has drummed up curiosity in a conservative state; she’s operating as an unbiased in opposition to Republican incumbent Rep. Kelly Armstrong. (Mark Haugen, the Democratic candidate, dropped out of the race after Mund entered, saying he did not see a viable path towards successful.)

Benjamin J. Kassow, an affiliate professor of political science on the College of North Dakota, factors out that polls on this election “present wildly divergent numbers,” so it is onerous to find out how a lot of a shot underdog Mund has. Though it has been greater than a decade since North Dakotans despatched a non-Republican to the Home, Mund — the one Miss America to hail from the state — can also be “moderately well-known,” Kassow says.

Mund would make historical past if she wins on Tuesday — she’d be the primary girl North Dakota sends to the US Home. And she or he’s operating on a problem that has been one of many high motivating points this election cycle, particularly for girls: abortion rights.

“Both I may sit again and complain about it, or I may do one thing.”

Though a North Dakota decide has blocked a near-total abortion ban that was set to take impact in August, the state’s solely abortion clinic additionally moved throughout the border to Minnesota that very same month.

Forward of her historic race, Mund speaks with about what impressed her run, how her stint as Miss America (and her choice to speak out against the Miss America Organization) has formed her marketing campaign, and why it is necessary to problem the established order. What have the ultimate few days earlier than the midterm elections been like for you?

Cara Mund: It is a dash to the tip. They are saying I introduced late within the cycle. I introduced in August, and it was out of pure technique realizing that, operating as an unbiased, I am not going to have the funds that my opponent has. I can also’t personally fund my very own marketing campaign like he may. So I needed to be as strategic as attainable. So it appears like I’ve sort of been sprinting this entire time.

The previous few weeks, day-after-day is totally different. One thing comes up, and it is like, oh, I’ve to rearrange this. I’m doing this absolutely alone, in order that’s a novel side. However I feel, too, when it comes all the way down to, “I want to maneuver one thing,” I’ve the contact proper there. I haven’t got to undergo somebody to get to another person. In order that’s been good, too. I get up and it is like, what is the day going to be? I’ve a plan, however it’s most likely going to alter.

PS: Take me again to what impressed you to get into this race.

CM: I used to be in my final yr of regulation faculty. In November [2021], the incumbent voted in opposition to the infrastructure bill, and coming from North Dakota, our roads must be redone. I feel we’ve got 430 miles of roadway that must be redone, 800-some bridges. So it was very clear that we would have liked this infrastructure cash and we would have liked to assist the individuals of North Dakota — it brings jobs, it helps our farmers. It simply appeared prefer it was simply repeatedly the social gathering over the individuals.

That was the very first thing . . . I might all the time been following politics. I labored for a Republican senator, it is one thing that I am obsessed with. But it surely was the primary time I used to be actually questioning, who’s he representing?

Then the Dobbs choice was sort of the ultimate straw of: I do not really feel represented. There are only a few girls in workplace in North Dakota. We’re one in every of three states that has by no means had a feminine within the US Home representing us. And earlier than I bought in, the Democratic candidate was additionally an antichoice candidate, so after the Dobbs choice, there was not a candidate that was for girls’s reproductive well being. Both I may sit again and complain about it, or I may do one thing. So I made a decision to place my hat within the ring, and I earned my approach on the poll.

Cara Mund after being sworn in on the September 2022 North Dakota Bar admission ceremony. (Household picture)

PS: Say you are elected on Tuesday. What can be your No. 1 difficulty when you get to Congress?

CM: So for North Dakotans, the Farm Bill is large, so retaining that in thoughts as I actually need to struggle for our farmers and our ranchers. . . . Inflation is large, and inexpensive drug costs is one thing that is actually necessary. One other factor is simply upholding democracy. It may be an attention-grabbing time going into 2024. . . . After which girls’s rights. [Armstrong] makes use of that line, “Effectively it ought to return to the states.” And it is like, nicely then how come Lindsey Graham introduced a invoice to ban it on the federal degree?

PS: Are there any girls in Congress now who you look as much as?

CM: It is attention-grabbing as a result of whoever I say, if she’s a Democrat or a Republican, then individuals will say I am a Democrat or a Republican. So I have never picked a selected particular person, and I like males and I like girls. And that is one other a part of it. I do not need individuals to vote for me simply because I am a girl. I preserve saying that we want girls on the desk, however I need individuals to vote for me as a result of I am the most effective candidate.

However the qualities that I actually admire are those that are prepared to go in opposition to their social gathering for what they know is true, standing up for democracy. If our base degree on this election is who helps democracy, then our nation must make a change. So somebody who has the braveness to do this. A consultant who actually listens to the individuals and is not there for their very own agenda. Somebody who actually appears to be like on the textual content of those payments, and never simply how does the bulk or minority chief inform me to vote. And somebody who’s placing within the work and remembering that it is a job of public service.

I feel for lots of those incumbents who’ve been there time period after time period, they do not really feel the necessity to carry on working as onerous as they did in the beginning. I need voters to know, whenever you’re sad, go vote. Take that particular person out of workplace and put somebody in there who you assume is really going to signify you and problem the established order.

PS: You clearly challenged the established order in your earlier profession — speaking out against the Miss America Organization. I ponder, the place did you discover the power to go in opposition to the grain of what was anticipated of you?

CM: With Miss America, I by no means anticipated to say something. But it surely bought so unhealthy to the purpose that it was similar to, if I do not say one thing, I do know the following girl goes to come back in and expertise the identical factor and we will proceed this sample of conduct and it is going to be OK and acceptable. So once I spoke out about Miss America, that was most likely the toughest factor I’ve performed, and I used to be very fearful. However I do assume it actually ready me for operating for workplace. At this level, there are only a few issues that I am afraid of.

Once you see an injustice, you need to communicate out, as a result of should you do not, nobody else is. And it is all of our duties to face up when you could have a pacesetter you do not assume is representing you.

PS: And my final query for you, within the days earlier than the midterms, what’s your message to voters — and girls particularly — about why they need to solid their votes in these elections?

CM: Now greater than ever, the issues which can be on the poll are impacting us personally. Girls’s reproductive well being — at present, we do not have equal illustration on the federal degree. One of the simplest ways we are able to make our voices heard, one of the simplest ways we are able to have a seat on the desk, is to verify we’re voting for candidates and people, getting concerned in campaigns, which can be going to be there to signify us and be a voice for us.

I actually consider that with an election, your voice is so highly effective. Exit, train that proper, put up on social media, present individuals why you are voting for sure candidates, why you assist them. As a result of it is also simply data. It is unbelievable what a vote can do, and difficult that establishment is likely one of the greatest issues we are able to do as girls, and never sit again. . . . We’re trailblazers throughout the board.

This interview has been edited for size and readability.

Wish to learn extra about abortion entry throughout the nation? Take a look at’s 50 States, 50 Abortions, a large-scale storytelling mission that goals to raise the voices of people that’ve had abortions.

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