Update: ND's Cramer opens US House campaign with Web videoBISMARCK — Republican Kevin Cramer opened his fourth congressional race late Thursday, announcing in a short video on his campaign website that he would seek the GOP endorsement for North Dakota's lone U.S. House seat.
By: By Dale Wetzel, The Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK — Republican Kevin Cramer opened his fourth congressional race late Thursday, announcing in a short video on his campaign website that he would seek the GOP endorsement for North Dakota's lone U.S. House seat.
Cramer, a state public service commissioner, emailed his supporters a link to the video on kevincramer.org just before 9 p.m. Cramer, 50, joins his Public Service Commission colleague Brian Kalk and state Rep. Bette Grande, R-Fargo, in the race.
Candidates for statewide office in North Dakota generally open their campaigns by touring the state, but Cramer said he wanted to be unique.
“There's something to be said for using the technology that we have to get it to as many of the people within the circle of influence as possible at exactly the same time,” Cramer told The Associated Press. “I think there's something noble about that.”
The seat is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Rick Berg, who is running for the Senate. Cramer last ran for the House in 2010, when Berg defeated him for the GOP endorsement. Berg unseated Democratic U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, who defeated Cramer in 1996 and 1998.
North Dakota Democrats have one declared House candidate, Pam Gulleson, a former North Dakota state lawmaker and top aide to former U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.
Cramer is a former director of North Dakota's tourism and economic development agencies. A longtime GOP activist, Cramer also has served as the party's director and chairman.
He joined the Public Service Commission in August 2003, an appointee of then-Gov. John Hoeven, who is now a U.S. senator. Cramer has since won two elections with more than 60 percent of the vote, most recently last year, when he defeated Democrat Brad Crabtree for a new six-year term.
The PSC regulates utilities, telecommunications, coal mining, pipelines, railroads, grain elevators and auctioneers.
“It's exposed me to a lot of things that are really important, and are easily translated to the federal government,” Cramer said. Among them, he said, was “the devastation of regulatory overreach, and how economics really works. If you leave markets free, they actually can turn out quite well for people.”
Cramer said he learned from his race against Berg that he would have to work harder to earn the GOP nomination.
“I ran against a guy who was all in,” Cramer said. “I have the advantage of having learned the hard way from that. You've got to do the same. You've got to make more calls. You have to shake more hands.”
Separately on Thursday, state Rep. Kim Koppelman, R-West Fargo, said he had filed to create an exploratory committee to test support for his own race for Congress. An exploratory committee allows federal candidates to raise some money without formally entering the race.