Minot, N.D. — For the first time, incumbent Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong and independent challenger Cara Mund faced off in a debate.
On this episode of Plain Talk, with questions coming from former Democratic-NPL Executive Director Chad Oban and myself, the two candidates found areas where they agree, and areas where they disagree.
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Both Armstrong and Mund oppose President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness. They also seem to be generally on the same page on energy, outside of Mund’s criticism of the Trump-era decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord.
In other areas, the two candidates are quite different. Mund was sharply critical of former President Donald Trump, while Armstrong said he’d put Trump in the White House again if the choice were between him and current President Joe Biden. Abortion was also a flashpoint between the candidates. Mund argues that the U.S. Supreme Court, by overturning legal precedent that had been in place for five decades, had taken away an important right from women.
Mund also answered questions about her ideology. Asked which party she would caucus with should she be elected to Congress, she said she had initially thought she’s caucus with Republicans but that now, “I don’t think I have a choice,” referring to an NDGOP rule which prohibits candidates who have run as independents from seeking the party’s endorsement for six years.
She also defended her independence — under admittedly sharp questioning from me — despite the Democratic-NPL taking the extraordinary step of pushing their House candidate out of the race.
What voters are left with, after this first debate, is a view of two candidates who differ profoundly on some of the stormiest issues in politics.
This was the second in a series of Plain Talk debates between North Dakota’s statewide candidates. To be notified of new episodes, including the future debates, subscribe, for free, on the podcasting platform of your choice.