Cara Mund talking with a younger voter. Image Source: Wyatt Ell
Cara Mund’s run for North Dakota’s sole seat within the US House of Representatives is a one-woman present. The 28-year-old and former Miss America says she presently holds almost 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 ladies candidates face by way of obstacles that we’ve got to show much more why we should be there.”
Mund, who graduated from Harvard Law School earlier this yr, introduced her candidacy in August — a late entry for any congressional race. But in only a few months, she has drummed up curiosity in a conservative state; she’s operating as an unbiased towards 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 profitable.)
Benjamin J. Kassow, an affiliate professor of political science on the University of North Dakota, factors out that polls on this election “present wildly divergent numbers,” so it is arduous to find out how a lot of a shot underdog Mund has. Although it has been greater than a decade since North Dakotans despatched a non-Republican to the House, Mund — the one Miss America to hail from the state — can be “fairly 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 House. And she’s operating on a problem that has been one of many high motivating points this election cycle, particularly for girls: abortion rights.
“Either I might sit again and complain about it, or I might do one thing.”
Although 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.
Ahead of her historic race, Mund speaks with POPSUGAR about what impressed her run, how her stint as Miss America (and her resolution to speak out against the Miss America Organization) has formed her marketing campaign, and why it is essential to problem the established order.
POPSUGAR: What have the ultimate few days earlier than the midterm elections been like for you?
Cara Mund: It’s a dash to the top. They say I introduced late within the cycle. I introduced in August, and it was out of pure technique understanding that, operating as an unbiased, I’m not going to have the funds that my opponent has. I can also’t personally fund my very own marketing campaign like he might. So I needed to be as strategic as doable. So it seems like I’ve form of been sprinting this entire time.
The previous few weeks, day-after-day is totally different. Something comes up, and it is like, oh, I’ve to rearrange this. I’m doing this absolutely alone, in order that’s a novel facet. But I feel, too, when it comes right down to, “I would like to maneuver one thing,” I’ve the contact proper there. I haven’t got to undergo somebody to get to another person. So that is been good, too. I get up and it is like, what is the day going to be? I’ve a plan, but it surely’s in all probability 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 legislation college. In November , the incumbent voted towards the infrastructure bill, and coming from North Dakota, our roads should be redone. I feel we’ve got 430 miles of roadway that should be redone, 800-some bridges. So it was very clear that we wanted this infrastructure cash and we wanted 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’d all the time been following politics. I labored for a Republican senator, it is one thing that I’m keen about. But it was the primary time I used to be actually questioning, who’s he representing?
Then the Dobbs resolution was form of the ultimate straw of: I do not really feel represented. There are only a few ladies in workplace in North Dakota. We are certainly one of three states that has by no means had a feminine within the US House representing us. And earlier than I bought in, the Democratic candidate was additionally an antichoice candidate, so after the Dobbs resolution, there was not a candidate that was for girls’s reproductive well being. Either I might sit again and complain about it, or I might 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. (Family picture)
PS: Say you are elected on Tuesday. What could be your No. 1 difficulty when you get to Congress?
CM: So for North Dakotans, the Farm Bill is large, so preserving that in thoughts as I actually wish to battle for our farmers and our ranchers. . . . Inflation is large, and inexpensive drug costs is one thing that is actually essential. Another factor is simply upholding democracy. It’s going to be an fascinating time going into 2024. . . . And then ladies’s rights. [Armstrong] makes use of that line, “Well it ought to return to the states.” And it is like, effectively then how come Lindsey Graham introduced a invoice to ban it on the federal stage?
PS: Are there any ladies in Congress now who you look as much as?
CM: It’s fascinating as a result of whoever I say, if she’s a Democrat or a Republican, then individuals will say I’m a Democrat or a Republican. So I have not picked a particular individual, and I like males and I like ladies. And that is one other a part of it. I do not need individuals to vote for me simply because I’m a girl. I maintain saying that we want ladies on the desk, however I need individuals to vote for me as a result of I’m the perfect candidate.
But the qualities that I actually admire are those that are prepared to go towards their social gathering for what they know is correct, standing up for democracy. If our base stage 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. Someone who actually seems 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 this can be 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 arduous as they did at the start. I need voters to know, if you’re sad, go vote. Take that individual out of workplace and put somebody in there who you assume is actually going to characterize 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’m wondering, the place did you discover the energy to go towards the grain of what was anticipated of you?
CM: With Miss America, I by no means anticipated to say something. But it bought so unhealthy to the purpose that it was identical 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’ll proceed this sample of conduct and it may be OK and acceptable. So after I spoke out about Miss America, that was in all probability the toughest factor I’ve finished, and I used to be very fearful. But I do assume it actually ready me for operating for workplace. At this level, there are only a few issues that I’m afraid of.
When you see an injustice, it’s important to converse out, as a result of in the event you do not, nobody else is. And it is all of our duties to face up when you have got a frontrunner 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 forged their votes in these elections?
CM: Now greater than ever, the issues which are on the poll are impacting us personally. Women’s reproductive well being — presently, we do not have equal illustration on the federal stage. The finest approach we are able to make our voices heard, the easiest way we are able to have a seat on the desk, is to ensure we’re voting for candidates and people, getting concerned in campaigns, which are going to be there to characterize us and be a voice for us.
I really consider that with an election, your voice is so highly effective. Go out, train that proper, submit on social media, present individuals why you are voting for sure candidates, why you assist them. Because it is also simply info. It’s unimaginable what a vote can do, and difficult that established order is without doubt one of the finest issues we are able to do as ladies, and never sit again. . . . We are trailblazers throughout the board.
This interview has been edited for size and readability.
Want to learn extra about abortion entry throughout the nation? Check out POPSUGAR’s 50 States, 50 Abortions, a large-scale storytelling venture that goals to raise the voices of people that’ve had abortions.