FARGO – Kevin Cramer’s announcement this morning that he plans to skip participation in the Republican Party endorsement process took many conservatives by surprise, including some of his competitors in the U.S. House race this year:
- Brian Kalk, Republican U.S. House candidate
“I remain committed to the selection process that has been the vehicle by which successful Republican Party candidates control all the statewide offices, have large majorities in the State Senate and House, and have two of the three federal elective offices. The delegate selection process is democracy at the grassroots level,” Kalk said in a statement to supporters.
“I believe that the delegates to the State Convention, chosen by their district Republicans, are best qualified to endorse our candidate for Congress,” he added. “I have great confidence in our grassroots Republicans. Their integrity and commitment to our nation, our state, and our party cannot be questioned. Also, they can’t be bought by special interests or out of state money. As a candidate for the U.S. House, I will support the candidate chosen at the Convention. It is the North Dakota way.”
- Bette Grande, Republican U.S. House candidate
“My opponent’s decision to ignore the Republican convention has no impact on our campaign,” Grande said in a statement to The Forum. “We have been and still intend to work hard to win the support of the delegates and win the endorsement of my fellow Republicans in March. And we are confident that our campaign will win the convention and endorsement because we are the only true conservative with a proven record of defending life, stopping spending, reforming pensions, and taking on the good ole boys network.”
A few minutes later, Grande also made these comments in a note to her supporters:
“Sadly, it’s the same old politics as usual,” Grande said. “No matter how you spin it, this is the arrogance of the establishment ruling class on full display. I admit I am not a politician. I was not handed a campaign money machine funded by well-heeled supporters. But the times, they are a-changing. The people are tired of crony capitalism and buying elections.”
“If anyone thought that a big fundraising report or bypassing the convention was going to get me to sit down and shut up, well, they don’t know me very well,” she added. “I am in this race to give the people a choice – to give the people a voice.”
- Kim Koppelman, Republican U.S. House candidate
“This is not about any one of us; it’s about America’s future,” Koppelman said in a statement. “I will support the nominee of the Republican Convention. Of course, I hope to be that nominee, but I will support the nominee, regardless, and urge that our party emerge from our convention united, because I believe the stakes are too high and the nation’s future hangs in the balance.”
“The focus of winning at any cost is one of the problems with American politics today. It should be about principles, restoring America’s greatness and passing on a better future to the next generation, not about any individual’s personal political fortunes,” he added.
“North Dakota has a proud tradition of political parties choosing their nominees through a grassroots process. Citizens are involved with their neighbors, in precincts and districts, and ultimately, at state conventions. That’s the representative process, and it has served us well,” he said. “Republicans should choose the Republican nominee. I hope that my friend will reconsider his decision.”
- Stan Stein, North Dakota Republican Party Chairman
“We are surprised and disappointed by the decision, but this does not change our operations for the convention. We have a record number of people attending district meetings who are looking to become delegates, and their vote at the convention will determine the endorsed Republican candidate who will receive the full backing of the North Dakota Republican Party. We will strongly unite behind the endorsed candidate that our delegates choose, and we will be successful this November.”