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

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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