In 2012 Kevin Cramer was just one of a large field of Republican House candidates – including state Rep. Bette Grande, state Rep. Kim Koppelman, Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk and former Commerce Department Director Shane Goettle – seeking to replace incumbent Rick Berg who was running a campaign for the US Senate.
Every candidate except Cramer sought the endorsement of the North Dakota Republican Party at the statewide convention in Bismarck. Kalk emerged as the candidate with the endorsement, but ultimately lost to Cramer on the June primary ballot (the primary ballot determines the candidate, not the party’s endorsement).
Cramer’s decision to skip the convention in 2012 caused a lot of angst within the party, with many Republicans accusing Cramer of being a hypocrite (Cramer is a former NDGOP party official who has run the state convention in the past). There was so much angst that I’ve heard rumblings in political circles of the NDGOP endorsing a different candidate if Cramer doesn’t show up this cycle.
That might not happen, though, as Cramer told me today in a radio interview on WDAY that he full expects “to go to the convention and seek their endorsement.” It’s hard to imagine any faction within the NDGOP getting the traction needed to endorse a candidate other than Cramer, who so far seems to be a popular incumbent heavily favored to win a second term.
And speaking of a second term, I also asked Cramer about the lack of an announced Democrat challenger more than three weeks into January when, last cycle, Democrats had House and Senate candidates in the race by November.
Cramer says Democrats face more problems nationally than in North Dakota. “This is not going to be a very good year for Democrats across the country,” he said.