Goettle, Cramer ‘on the radar’ of national Republicans

Shane Goettle

FARGO – Two candidates vying for the GOP nomination in North Dakota’s U.S. House race have caught the eye of national party backers.

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced today that both Shane Goettle and Kevin Cramer have been elevated to “on the radar” status – priming them for inclusion in the NRCC’s “Young Guns” campaign.

The national program funnels money and political support into electing strong GOP candidates in competitive House races.

Rep. Rick Berg was named a “Young Gun” during his 2010 campaign against incumbent Earl Pomeroy.

Kevin Cramer

The NRCC is the campaign and fundraising arm of the national GOP, with an emphasis on electing Republicans to the U.S. House.

In achieving “on the radar” status, Cramer and Goettle have met certain organizational and fundraising benchmarks and established themselves as strong contenders, the NRCC says.

To be officially included in the “Young Guns” program, Cramer and Goettle will have to pass a final level of benchmarks, which aren’t specified.

As of this morning, the NRCC had 61 candidates nationwide – including Cramer and Goettle – listed as “on the radar,” while 14 others were classified as “contenders” (the first step in the process).

Across the aisle, Democrat Pam Gulleson has also been targeted by national party recruiters. In January, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee included Gulleson in its “Red to Blue” program, which offers financial, grassroots and strategic support to top Democratic campaigns across the country.

Out of the six GOP candidates seeking the party’s nomination, Goettle and Cramer have had the strongest fundraising totals so far.

As of Dec. 31, Cramer had raised $210,000 in net donations in about two months, while Goettle took in nearly $119,000 in barely a month.

Goettle has also had strong showings in pre-convention debates among the candidates. He’s topped at least two straw polls among audience members following events.

Brian Kalk, Bette Grande, Kim Koppelman and DuWayne Hendrickson are also seeking the party’s endorsement in the race, but none of them are yet featured in the NRCC’s recruitment program.