Video: House Republican Candidates Brian Kalk And Kevin Cramer Debate


North Dakota’s House race saw several debates between the half-dozen candidates pre-convention, but now that the field has been narrowed to two candidates for the primary election I thought it would be useful to have them sit down and engage one another again.

Both Kevin Cramer and Brian Kalk were gracious enough to join me for what was supposed to be 30 minutes of questions and discussions but turned out to be more like an hour. Here’s the result:

For all the rancor that some perceive as surrounding this race, both candidates were very cordial and agreed on most things (as you might expect from two Republicans). They did get in their shots though.

Cramer was sure to mention that he’d voted against a rate increase brought before the Public Service Commission by a power company that wanted it to pay for a wind farm built in Montana mandated by that state’s green energy laws. Cramer said he didn’t think it was right that North Dakotans pay for Montana’s green energy policies. He noted that Kalk voted for the rate increase.

For his part, Kalk was quick to note that unlike Cramer he went through the NDGOP’s state convention and won the party’s endorsement there.

All but one of the questions I asked the candidates were from those submitted by you readers. We got to sixteen of them (the debate was supposed to last a half an hour and went to nearly an hour).

One of the most interesting questions had to do with where the candidates found themselves disagreeing with former president George W. Bush. Cramer said he didn’t like “No Child Left Behind.” Kalk said he disagreed with the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan without a well-defined mission (though he did and does support the case for the wars).

Both candidates responded to accusations that they took unethical contributions from interests they regulate through the public service commission. Both candidates descried why they’re better for North Dakota than Pam Gulleson.

It was an interesting back and forth between the candidates, covering a lot of issues, and is well worth your time to listen.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Philgray

    One question that was not asked….
    Mr. Kalk, have you ever approached the ND democratic party or leadership about running in any campaign for office as a democrat………………………..PERIOD>>>>>>>>>
    Some of us know the answer……fricking hypicritical republicans on here will vote for Kalk, even though he is the worse person a Marine can be….
    A liar………….semper fidelis means something to some former marines,  not much to Kalk I guess, even though he embraces those military vets like myself trying to get our support….
    I will say again, answer the question truthfully Kalk, or I will have a Gulleson sign on my front lawn….

    • Jimmypop

      phil, if yo know the answer….share it. and let us know your proof please. I’m quite curious about this. I’ve heard it a couple times but nobody can ever prove anything. should be VERY, VERY, VERY easy to prove.

      • Philgray

        Have rob name the people. He has the same information that I know about.
        Curious why Rob Port the manager of this blog, is SO quiet when it comes down to this question.
        I asked Bryan about it at the GOP state convention, of which I am a delegate.
        I was NEVER given an answer.  I still supported him over the rest after Bette Grande fell out, but the question remains, and dont think for one second that Cramer will not be running an ad on it. I would in a heartbeat period… 
        But it is quite difficult to support a party that has Steiner the free speech suppressor as chairman of the convention.  I was there right next to Al Jaeger when the Paulites were deliberately suppressed.
        I am a conservative person, not a paul supporter, but the whole damn party heads were involved in that
        From Fong, Stenejehm, Jaeger, Rules committee chairman (name escapes me), steiner, and others too.
        If someone wants the truth about Kalk ask him point blank and see if you get an answer…..
        Bryan knows me, because as far as the people around there that weekend, me and Bryan were the only two retired marines there that I met.
        VERY VERY VERY EASY to prove….Jimmy
        Jimmy I donot have to prove anything, I am not running for office to represent you or the citizens of our state….You do the research or ask Rob to repost the report he himself and others posted and reported on for the last 7 years.
        I am speaking of a fact that is not debatable
        I am simply pointing out how even ROB is establishment at times,
        Rob knows it, I know it, many, many others do that are intuned daily in politics in our state….Some do not have the courage to make sure the non-daily voters know the facts….I am simply pointing it out….

  • Tim Heise

    I like them both, but I voted for Kalk.

  • LoveGOPers

    Did I hear Kalk say he would never vote for John Boehner for Speaker. I wonder what Stan Stein thinks about having an endorsed House candidate who trashes the current Speaker so publicly. I’m guessing Boehner won’t be featured at any Lincoln Day Dinners.