Cramer sees GOP unity after US House primaryBISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Freshly nominated Republican U.S. House candidate Kevin Cramer was on the telephone in his Public Service Commission office Wednesday when his defeated opponent, fellow commissioner Brian Kalk, walked in.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Freshly nominated Republican U.S. House candidate Kevin Cramer was on the telephone in his Public Service Commission office Wednesday when his defeated opponent, fellow commissioner Brian Kalk, walked in.
“Go, Cramer!” Kalk shouted.
Cramer said he hopes that feeling of unity will spread to other state Republicans who supported Kalk in Tuesday's primary. Cramer won with 55 percent of the vote.
It was the more closely contested of two GOP statewide primaries Tuesday. Republican U.S. Rep. Rick Berg, who is running for the U.S. Senate, brushed aside a primary challenge from Bismarck businessman Duane Sand, earning 66 percent of the vote.
Meanwhile, Democrats were gearing up for the fall campaign, hoping Democratic House candidate Pam Gulleson would take back a seat the party lost two years ago when Berg defeated longtime Democratic incumbent Earl Pomeroy.
Cramer “has built a history of questionable ethics, whether it involves accepting illegal campaign contributions or creating ties with ideological Tea Party groups,” Democratic Party spokeswoman Alison Kelly said Wednesday.
Cramer mocked the statement, saying the “illegal contributions” claim was drawn from a lawsuit that he described as ideologically motivated.
“If that's their best shot, then I like my chances in the fall,” he said.
The Cramer-Kalk race had the potential to create fissures in the North Dakota GOP.
Kalk was the delegates’ favored candidate at the state GOP convention. Cramer, a longtime Republican activist who has served as the North Dakota party's director and chairman, had announced earlier he would bypass the convention and challenge the endorsed candidate in the primary — a rare move that irritated many Republican activists.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday night, Kalk said he would support Cramer's House bid. Kalk was not in his office for most of Wednesday, and did not respond to telephone messages left for comment.
Cramer said the two men did not attack each other during the campaign, which he said would make any healing easier. He said he and Kalk “had a nice visit” Wednesday morning, and that Kalk had been characteristically ebullient.
“He's Brian Kalk. He's the most upbeat, positive guy I know,” Cramer said.
Stan Stein, the North Dakota Republican chairman, said he believed GOP activists would support Cramer.
“It might be an issue for a few people, but I think what we have to do is concentrate on what we all agree on, and that is the policies that are coming out of Washington ... are not working,” Stein said.
Stein did not believe Cramer's victory devalues the Republican process of convention endorsements of candidates.
“I don't think it's an apocalypse moment,” he said.
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