Cramer leads in House nominationWith 49 of 426 precincts reporting by 9:05 p.m. Tuesday, Kevin Cramer was leading Brian Kalk 53 to 47 percent in the North Dakota primary to clinch the Republican nomination to run for the U.S. House in November.
By: By Ryan Johnson , Forum Communications, The Jamestown Sun
With 49 of 426 precincts reporting by 9:05 p.m. Tuesday, Kevin Cramer was leading Brian Kalk 53 to 47 percent in the North Dakota primary to clinch the Republican nomination to run for the U.S. House in November.
If the final tally keeps Cramer in the lead, he will challenge Democratic-NPL candidate Pam Gulleson and Libertarian contender Eric Olson in the fall. But the state’s most populous counties, including Grand Forks and Cass, had not yet reported results as of press time Tuesday.
Kalk, 46, picked up the party’s endorsement this spring, beating out four other hopefuls at the North Dakota Republican Party state convention in Bismarck.
But Cramer, 51, opted to skip the convention, instead focusing his campaign on winning the primary election to get the party’s nomination and move to the general election.
North Dakota’s lone spot on the U.S. House is open because freshman Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., is running for retiring Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad’s spot on the U.S. Senate.
U.S. House members are elected to two-year terms and earn $174,000 a year.
A Forum Communications Co. poll of 500 likely voters conducted May 3 to 8 by Essman/Research of Des Moines, Iowa, found 37 percent of Republicans had not yet decided who they would vote for in the primary. But among decided Republicans, 38 percent backed Cramer and 25 percent said they would support Kalk.
The telephone survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent.
Fargo-based Valley News Live and Bismarck-based KFYR-TV commissioned a telephone poll last week of 625 likely voters that found 60 percent of Republicans planned to vote for Cramer and 21 percent for Kalk.
Born and raised in Bottineau, N.D., Kalk attended college at Dakota College in Bottineau before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1987. After retiring, he first entered the political field in 2008 when he successfully ran for a six-year term on the state’s Public Service Commission.
Cramer has a long history of political service, becoming state chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party at age 30 and serving as state tourism director from 1993 to 1997, when he was then appointed state economic development director. Then-Gov. John Hoeven appointed Cramer to the Public Service Commission in 2003, and he was re-elected to six-year terms in 2004 and 2010.
Both candidates have campaigned heavily for the chance to serve in Congress, a chance that Cramer pursued at the 2010 Republican state convention only to have the endorsement instead go to Berg.
As of June 6, Cramer had spent $109,300 on TV and radio advertising this year. Kalk’s advertising expenses in 2012 totaled $77,400.
Responding to a Forum Communications survey, Cramer said he was seeking the office because the country “sits on the brink of economic collapse” and needs his experience and skills.
Kalk said his past service as a U.S. Marine had him serve “wherever America’s interests and freedoms were threatened.” But he said the “greatest threats” now facing the nation are Washington policies that require a different kind of person in Congress to change.
Ryan Johnson is a reporter
at the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.