FARGO – North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk has gone online with a possible campaign for the U.S. Senate – but he cautions against reading too much into it.
Kalk, a Republican, formed an exploratory committee in early January to gauge a bid for the 2012 race, but on Wednesday, he also launched an official Facebook page and an official website: KalkforSenate.com.
Kalk, a former Marine, has chosen the slogan: “Always first. Always American.”
Both websites still reflect Kalk’s status as someone exploring a bid, rather than being an official candidate. Kalk told me tonight it’s part of the process of getting everything ready in case he eventually decides to make the campaign official.
“(Going online) really wasn’t our plan right off the bat, but we decided we at least would put some basic information out there for folks to look at, and as time goes on, we’ll probably add on to that,” Kalk said. “During this exploratory phase, we’re talking to people, finding out what the issues might be for us, and setting things up so if we decide to do it, we’re ready to go.”
Kalk said his focus remains on his work with the Public Service Commission, including field hearings and bills in the Legislature.
“We haven’t really changed our plan,” Kalk said. “We’re still looking at all the options out there. It just seemed to be a good step for us, because I’ve certainly received a lot of interest from people who wanted us to put more information out there.”
According to domain registration records, Kalk registered his website on Dec. 10 for a two-year period. But the site doesn’t appear to have gone live until at least Wednesday.
Kalk said when he announced his exploratory campaign that he’d received a lot of support after the November election from people asking him to consider a bid for the U.S. Senate.
Kalk’s actions might indeed be merely preparatory at this point in the game, but he’s certainly the farthest along – at least, publicly – in terms of becoming an official candidate.
Less than a week after Kalk announced his exploratory committee, North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad announced he would retire in 2012 – which blew open the possibilities for the next Senate race.
Many names – among both Democrats and Republicans – have been mentioned as potential contenders for the election. Some have acknowledged interest, while others remain silent.
But, none yet have gone so far as Kalk to solidify their interest with an exploratory bid.