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Plain Talk: Cara Mund, Rep. Kelly Armstrong square off in first U.S. House debate

In the first debate in North Dakota's U.S. House race, incumbent Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a Republican, and Cara Mund, an independent challenger, talked a little about where they agree, and a lot about where they don't.

Congressman Kelly Armstrong and Cara Mund
Republican Congressman Kelly Armstrong, left, and independent U.S. House challenger Cara Mund, right.
File photo
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Minot, N.D. — For the first time, incumbent Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong and independent challenger Cara Mund faced off in a debate.

On this episode of Plain Talk, with questions coming from former Democratic-NPL Executive Director Chad Oban and myself, the two candidates found areas where they agree, and areas where they disagree.

Listen below, or subscribe, for free, to listen on your favorite podcast platform.

Both Armstrong and Mund oppose President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness. They also seem to be generally on the same page on energy, outside of Mund's criticism of the Trump-era decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord.

In other areas, the two candidates are quite different. Mund was sharply critical of former President Donald Trump, while Armstrong said he'd put Trump in the White House again if the choice were between him and current President Joe Biden. Abortion was also a flashpoint between the candidates. Mund argues that the U.S. Supreme Court, by overturning legal precedent that had been in place for five decades, had taken away an important right from women.

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Mund also answered questions about her ideology. Asked which party she would caucus with should she be elected to Congress, she said she had initially thought she's caucus with Republicans but that now, "I don't think I have a choice," referring to an NDGOP rule which prohibits candidates who have run as independents from seeking the party's endorsement for six years.

She also defended her independence — under admittedly sharp questioning from me — despite the Democratic-NPL taking the extraordinary step of pushing their House candidate out of the race.

What voters are left with, after this first debate, is a view of two candidates who differ profoundly on some of the stormiest issues in politics.

This was the second in a series of Plain Talk debates between North Dakota's statewide candidates. To be notified of new episodes, including the future debates, subscribe, for free, on the podcasting platform of your choice.

Forum Communications Co. is proud to be a part of the Trust Project. Learn more at thetrustproject.org.

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Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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