FARGO – A day after one Fargo-area legislator opted out of North Dakota’s U.S. House race, another seems to be edging closer to an official campaign.
West Fargo Republican Rep. Kim Koppelman announced this morning that he’s formed an exploratory committee toward a possible bid for the state’s lone congressional seat.
For months, Koppelman has been considering the idea, but this marks a procedural step that will allow him to start fundraising if he eventually does make the campaign official.
That seems like a reasonable future, given Koppelman already has a website set up. It’s for his exploratory committee – KoppelmanCommittee.com – but he could easily shift it into a campaign site when/if he’s ready.
“Based on the overwhelming encouragement I’ve received from friends and colleagues who agree that North Dakota needs experienced leadership, committed to real change in Washington, I have decided to take the next step and ask people around our state whether I should run for Congress,” Koppelman said in a statement this morning.
“If we don’t change directions very soon, the America we’ve known is not what our children and grandchildren will inherit. That’s the reason I’m considering this,” he added.
Koppelman, 55, runs a communications consulting firm in West Fargo and has represented the city in the North Dakota Legislature since 1994. For the 2011 session, he chaired the Constitutional Revision and Administrative Rules Committees in the Legislature. He’s also the past national chairman of the Council of State Governments.
Koppelman said Congress has lost sight of the citizen Legislature that the nation’s fathers intended it to be.
“For too long, politicians in Washington have been asking us to give them more money and more power, promising to solve our problems,” he said. “The result has been that Washington simply has more money and more power. I think it’s time to start taking power away from Washington and giving it back to the states and the people.”
In launching his exploratory committee, Koppelman said he wants to listen “to what people around North Dakota expect of their next congressman, and whether … they believe I could meet those expectations.”
Former Rutland legislator Pam Gulleson is the lone Democratic candidate in the race, but there’s a competitive battle for North Dakota Republicans’ endorsement in next year’s congressional election, with two candidates declared in the race so far.
It certainly looks as if the GOP battle for North Dakota’s U.S. House race will get more crowded in the days and weeks to come.
It’s just a matter of who that candidate pool will be…