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More hits expected in debate rematch

If Monday night's debate on KVLY between North Dakota Congressional candidates is any indication, KFGO listeners won't have to wait for Sunday's Vikings' game to hear some big hits and maybe even a few low blows. Those will likely come at this mo...

If Monday night's debate on KVLY between North Dakota Congressional candidates is any indication, KFGO listeners won't have to wait for Sunday's Vikings' game to hear some big hits and maybe even a few low blows. Those will likely come at this morning's 9 a.m. radio rematch.

Many people think Peace Garden State politics is boring. But incumbent Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., and particularly challenger Duane Sand, showed campaigning is a full-contact sport.

With polls showing Sand, a Republican, trailing Pomeroy, Sand was on the offensive.

In his opening remarks he thanked hosting moderators Mike Morken of KVLY and Dick Heidt of KFYR, Pomeroy and said he was looking forward to the debate. That was pretty much the last polite thing he said to Pomeroy as he spent much of the hour-long give-and-take piling on about what a horrible job Congress, particularly Pomeroy, was doing.

Halfway through, viewers may have started wondering, if Sand hates Washington, D.C., and the House of Representatives so much, why does he want to be a member? How much does he think a freshman member will be heard over the 434 other voices?

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Particularly, the challenger was upset his opponent voted for the economic bailout and kept talking about the need to solve the problem without actually proposing any new solutions of his own.

And just in time for Halloween, the "Sandman" spewed spooky prophecies, saying a Barack Obama and Pomeroy "nationalized socialized health care plan" would be,"the path to sure destruction and doom."

Later, while still talking about healthcare, Sand abruptly asked that the topic switch to energy. It did and he ended addressing Pomeroy:"I know the oil guys in North Dakota. I know all of them. I've talked to several of them in the last few days. I can't repeat everything they've said when it comes to you claiming to be a supporter of their industry, but you are not. ... You oppose drilling for American oil and creating American jobs. And you are part of the reason people are paying more at the pump and the grocery store."

"My opponent, he just loves to talk about off-shore drilling. Well I'm for it," Pomeroy responded. "But I think the North Dakota member of congress needs to focus first and foremost on oil development within our state. ... It means jobs for North Dakota and greater energy independence from the Middle East."

Still, Sand wasn't done swinging.

"I quite frankly don't think this debate was in the best interest for people of North Dakota as far as getting answers. There was a lot of mud slinging," he said, opening his final thoughts. "And one last thing. ...We took a poll this summer and do you know that two-thirds of the people in this state believe that you are pro-life. And I have to tell you, you have one of the worst records for protecting the lives of the unborn in the entire United States Congress."

While most viewers were probably speechless, Pomeroy offered an apology, saying "I'm sorry the debate has to end like this."

I wasn't! I can't say Sand was particularly classy or Pomeroy terribly exciting, but there were more hits than "Monday Night Football." Though Sand should be flagged for "un-sportsman-like conduct."

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Readers can reach Forum columnist John Lamb at (701) 241-5533 or jlamb@forumcomm.com

For 20 years John Lamb has covered art, entertainment and lifestyle stories in the area for The Forum.
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