West Fargo legislator seeks GOP nod in packed U.S. House race

Kim Koppelman

WEST FARGO – And Kim Koppelman makes six.

The longtime West Fargo legislator joined a fray of candidates Monday seeking to become North Dakota’s next representative.

Koppelman is the fifth Republican to declare in the 2012 race.

Koppelman had been considering a run for Congress for nearly a year, and he said Monday he was “answering the call” from the persistent encouragement of supporters.

His lengthy experience as a state legislator and a small-business owner were among the credentials Koppelman said would lend him well if elected to the U.S. House.

Koppelman, 55, runs a communications consulting firm in West Fargo and has represented the city in the North Dakota Legislature since 1994. He’s also the past national chairman of the Council of State Governments.

Emphasizing state’s rights in his announcement speech, Koppelman said he represented a “principled, consistent conservative” with a record of accomplishment.

“Washington is in such a mess that it can’t solve its own problems,” Koppelman said. “We need new ways of thinking about how to deal with the growth of Washington’s power and the debt it’s accumulating.”

Koppelman faces competition from four others in the pursuit of North Dakota Republicans’ endorsement next spring.

Public Service Commissioners Brian Kalk and Kevin Cramer, former state commerce commissioner Shane Goettle and Fargo legislator Bette Grande have already declared for the race.

Former Rutland legislator Pam Gulleson is the lone Democratic candidate.

Republican Rep. Rick Berg‘s decision to seek the U.S. Senate next fall leaves North Dakota’s lone congressional seat open on the November ballot.