REMINDER: GOP House candidates debate tonight in Valley City

VALLEY CITY, N.D. –The five candidates seeking the Republican endorsement in North Dakota’s U.S. House race will face off against each other for the first time tonight.

The North Dakota Republican Party and its district group in Valley City are hosting the first debate of the 2012 election cycle on the campus of Valley City State University.

The event is open to the public. It begins at 6:30 p.m. at VCSU’s Vangstad Auditorium.

All five declared GOP candidates have agreed to participate in the debate: Fargo legislator Bette Grande, Public Service Commissioners Kevin Cramer and Brian Kalk, former state commerce commissioner Shane Goettle, and West Fargo legislator Kim Koppelman.

The NDGOP said Cramer, Goettle, Grande, Kalk and Koppelman will each provide opening and closing statements and will take questions from “conservative organizations” across the state during the debate.

Afterward, the event’s attendees can also participate in a straw poll of the contenders. The party’s official candidate will be decided next spring at the NDGOP state convention.

North Dakota’s U.S. House race has seven candidates in all: the five Republicans, former Democratic legislator Pam Gulleson and Fargo libertarian Eric Olson.

Read Thursday’s edition of The Forum, or check back here tomorrow for complete coverage of tonight’s debate.

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