Republican Senate Candidate Brian Kalk Allegedly Considered Run As Democrat In 2004
I first met Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk at a Republican event in 2007. At the time, Kalk was thinking about challenging Democrat House incumbent Earl Pomeroy, but ultimately ran for the Public Service Commission instead beating out state Senate Majority Leader Bob Stenehjem for the NDGOP nomination and ultimately gliding to a handy victory.
But Kalk has always harbored congressional aspirations, something he’ll be making clear when he officially announces his campaign for the US Senate later this week at no fewer than 20 locations around the state. To say that Kalk is an aggressive, talented campaigner would be an understatement. He may well be the hardest working campaigner in the state.
Campaigning aside, though, there have always been questions about Kalk’s politics. He’s always been a bit of a blank slate ideologically. Unlike a legislator, Kalk has no voting record by which to measure his stance on the issues. He’s an elected regulator, and it’s hard to get a read on where he’s at from his job performance.
Kalk has certainly talked a good game in the past, espousing a generally limited government message and praising the tea parties. But is that campaign talk, or genuine feeling? Kalk will be making his case to North Dakota voters starting this week, but he may have to start out by explaining to them why he was considering running as a Democrat at one point in 2004.
I have it on good authority from a credible source I trust inside the North Dakota Democrat party that in 2004, when then-Governor John Hoeven was getting ready to run for a second term in office, Kalk requested and got a meeting with two high-profile Democrats. The meeting was about what the party could provide Kalk if he decided to run for governor as a Democrat.
Obviously, Kalk didn’t run (the Democrats ultimately nominated Joe Satrom). One wonders if Kalk saw being a Republican as more advantageous to his political career.
My source in the party tells me that they considered using it against Kalk when he was running for the PSC but decided to hold off, knowing Kalk has aspirations for Congress.
I emailed Kalk for a response, and he said “It’s nonsense.”
“I helped Matt Mechtel in 2006, ran myself in 2008 and helped Hoeven and Berg in 2010,” wrote Kalk.
Even so my, Democrat source stands by the story and asserts that the party may be making use of their meetings with Kalk in the future.
Republicans have seen this song and dance before. When Senator Hoeven declared himself as a candidate for US Senate to replace the retiring Byron Dorgan Democrats released letters Hoeven had written aligning himself with Democrats. Later, however, Hoeven switched parties and went on to become governor. The letters ultimately didn’t hurt the popular Hoeven who was elected to the US Senate as a Republican in a landslide.
Kalk, however, may be a different matter. He doesn’t have Hoeven’s popularity or name recognition, and the public has little appetite for Republicans who flirt with liberalism these days.Tags: Brian Kalk, election 2012, North Dakota News