Rep. Kevin Cramer’s endorsement of presidential candidate Donald Trump at the NDGOP convention, where still-active and bitter Trump rival Ted Cruz addressed delegates, really stirred a lot of controversy. But it’s starting to look like the endorsement may have been smart politics for Cramer.
He has emerged as something just short of an official adviser to Trump on energy policy:
Now Cramer has emerged as the top energy adviser on Capitol Hill to the campaign and regularly is in touch with Trump’s policy director. He’s drawing up at least two white papers outlining an energy strategy, and more could come.
It’s a unique and influential role for a relatively junior lawmaker, especially for a campaign with no strong ties to the energy industry and only the broadest of positions on climate change, fossil fuels and U.S. EPA regulations.
But Cramer is well-versed in energy and environmental policy. Prior to his election to the House, where he serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Cramer spent more than nine years on the North Dakota Public Service Commission. He was first appointed to the PSC by then-Gov. John Hoeven (R), and then won election to the post in his own right.
“He’s got a strong background,” said Hoeven, who is now North Dakota’s senior senator, in an interview yesterday. “He’s smart, very knowledgeable.”
There have been rumors banging around political circles about the potential of Cramer accepting a cabinet position – Secretary of Energy? – in a Trump administration. That seems both premature and unlikely, at this point.
Trump has to win a national election first, which is anything but certain. And Cramer has his own political aspirations to consider, which include (I think, anyway) a run for the U.S. Senate in 2018. Short of that, I think Cramer enjoys being in the House. A lot. I’m not sure I’ve met a politician who loves to campaign more than Cramer.
But Cramer’s influence on Trump when it comes to energy policy would be big advantage with North Dakota an important factor in America’s energy conversation these days.
Trump having the good sense to listen to someone on Cramer on energy policy almost makes his his expected endorsement as the Republican nominee seem sane.