With Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk winning the NDGOP’s endorsement for nomination at the party’s statewide convention this weekend a lot of you readers have been emailing me about this post from about a year ago in which I reported that Kalk had sought support from Democrats for a run for governor in 2004.
I am absolutely standing by that story. I double-checked with my source on the original story this morning, and nothing has changed. The Democrat party leadership would just as soon stay quiet on this story for if/when Kalk faces their candidate, Pam Gulleson, in the general election, but I think it’s important for Republican voters to be aware of it now.
Here’s what my Democrat source told me this morning:
As far as Kalk goes, he met with 2 people close to the congressional delegation asking how much financial and logistical support they’d give in a campaign for governor. He was rebuffed as no one knew him, just some dude off the street who wanted money and support in a gov race, so he apparently went [to the] GOP.
When we had the congressional seats it was not unusual for potential statewide candidates to reach out that way. What was unusual is that he switched right away.
I asked Kalk about this story last year before I wrote my original post. He’s since denied it repeatedly to me, as well as talk radio host Chris Berg who has also asked him about it, but my source is adamant that it happened and I believe him.
Obviously, the Democrats aren’t going to do Republican candidate Kevin Cramer (who Kalk is facing on primary ballot in June) any favors by going public with this information now. I get the feeling they’d rather have their candidate, Gulleson, face Kalk. But primary campaigns are for vetting candidates, and this needs to be part of the vetting of Brian Kalk.
It would have been better if Kalk had just copped to this early on. North Dakota Republicans haven’t necessarily shied away from candidates who were Democrats before becoming Republicans. Senator John Hoeven, was a Democrat before he first ran for Governor of North Dakota which was something the Dems made an issue out of during his run for the Senate in 2010. But while flirtations with Democrats allows for a certain amount of forgiveness, being something less than honest about those flirtations is less forgivable.