Trump appears to pass over Kevin Cramer after naming energy secretary
GRAND FORKS -- Donald Trump's selection of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head up the nation's top energy post appears to dash the most obvious Cabinet possibility for North Dakota's lone congressman. The news helps calm political waters in Nort...
GRAND FORKS - Donald Trump's selection of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head up the nation's top energy post appears to dash the most obvious Cabinet possibility for North Dakota's lone congressman.
The news helps calm political waters in North Dakota, where multiple politicians were eyeing the seat held by Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who had been a leading candidate for the position
His selection to the president-elect's Cabinet would have triggered a special election in North Dakota to replace him within a few months.
Cramer had discussed the possibility of taking the job with Trump on Dec. 5, when he met the president-elect at Trump Tower in New York City. Trump asked Cramer what his preference would be: remain in the House or join the administration?
"He kept saying, well, which one would you rather do?" Cramer said. "There's strong pluses to both, and I'd be honored to do either one. I'd do both with enthusiasm and all the influence I have."
There are still Cabinet positions to fill. Some media reports have speculated Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., could be chosen for agriculture secretary. The resulting special election could add to Republicans' majority in the Senate while the pick could signal inclusiveness on Trump's behalf.
However, Heitkamp's path to the Cabinet became narrower on Tuesday, too, after reports that Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., had been offered the interior secretary position. Earlier speculation suggested Heitkamp might be chosen for the post.
In addition, Politico reported that leaders of Trump's agricultural advisory committee received phone calls from influential farmers around the country, apparently in an attempt to prevent Heitkamp from the post after several Republicans campaigned for him.
It is unclear if Cramer is under consideration for any other positions, and he was unable to be reached for comment Tuesday.
Perry served as Texas' governor from 2000 to 2015, and sought the presidency in both the 2012 and 2016 elections. He famously forgot the name of the Department of Energy during a Republican primary debate in 2011 while listing government departments he wished to do away with.
Perry is also a board member with Energy Partners, the Dallas-headquartered company building the Dakota Access Pipeline through North Dakota. The pipeline project has drawn large-scale protests over its proximity to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
Trump has made a number of major announcements concerning his Cabinet in recent weeks, including Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, as secretary of state.