Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Sand campaign says story source biased

The campaign of North Dakota U.S. House challenger Duane Sand on Tuesday asked The Forum to admit using a "clearly biased source" in an article previewing his race against incumbent Earl Pomeroy.

The campaign of North Dakota U.S. House challenger Duane Sand on Tuesday asked The Forum to admit using a "clearly biased source" in an article previewing his race against incumbent Earl Pomeroy.

Mary Kweit, a political science professor and director of the Bureau of Governmental Affairs at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, was quoted in a preview of the Pomeroy-Sand race published in Sunday's edition of The Forum.

Campaign finance records show Kweit contributed $500 to Pomeroy's campaign on Nov. 24, 2003.

Sand's campaign manager, Matt Lewis, said Kweit and her husband, Robert Kweit -also a political science professor at UND - are known supporters of Democrats Pomeroy and North Dakota U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan. Robert Kweit donated $500 to Dorgan on Dec. 26, 2002, campaign records show.

"The people who read this story in the paper on Sunday were misled," Lewis said. "They were led to believe they were reading a nonpartisan critique of a campaign by a political science professional. But instead what they were getting is partisan rhetoric from a political hack."

ADVERTISEMENT

In the Sunday article, Mary Kweit said Sand's low television profile throughout most of the campaign was a serious deficit to overcome in the final stretch before the Nov. 2 election.

"I haven't heard a lot from Sand and any challenger has to be heard from if he's to have any chance of success," she said of the Republican.

Kweit said Pomeroy, Dorgan and Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad were "extremely well-positioned" in Congress and that Sand posed a less serious threat to Pomeroy than state Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh did two years ago.

The Sand campaign also criticized The Forum for using Nick Barouth, an assistant political science professor at North Dakota State University, as another analyst in the article because he's only lived in the state since July.

Forum Editor Lou Ziegler said the reporter who wrote the story called the political science departments at both universities and asked to be referred to someone who could knowledgably speak about the race.

"He did not seek out any one individual," Ziegler said. "If we knew of Kweit's contribution, we wouldn't have interviewed her.

"Kweit has been quoted extensively in the past by North Dakota media as well as the national press," Ziegler added.

For example, in a January 2001 article by The Associated Press about North Dakota's congressional delegation having a more influential role in Congress, Kweit was paraphrased as saying the trio "has been effective and has managed to operate as a unit."

ADVERTISEMENT

In a phone interview Tuesday, Kweit said she tried to be neutral in her comments to The Forum. She described her donation to Pomeroy as a "perfectly legal expression of my political values."

When asked why she didn't disclose the donation to The Forum, she said, "It frankly didn't occur to me.

"I don't think that the money itself is any more significant than the fact that I, like any other human being, have values," she said.

Kweit noted that Sand - who was her student 21 years ago -spoke to her political behaviors class on Thursday. Pomeroy spoke to the class earlier in the semester.

Kweit also said that before Sand's race against Conrad in 2000, Sand came knocking on her door and "asked if he could touch base with me from time to time, because he remembered I was a conservative. Apparently I did a good job at that time of disguising my political beliefs."

Lewis said Sand met with several people from his college days, including Kweit, to ask for support when he was released from the Navy in 1999.

"He doesn't remember it as a thing where he asked her for advice," Lewis said.

In an Oct. 3 Forum article previewing the Senate race between Dorgan and Republican challenger Mike Liffrig, Kweit said negative campaigning historically hasn't played well with North Dakotans, referring to Liffrig's recent ad campaign criticizing Dorgan for his positions on gay marriage and human cloning.

ADVERTISEMENT

As director of the Bureau of Governmental Affairs, Kweit oversees polling operations. The bureau doesn't conduct polls for parties or political candidates, and poll questions are developed with clients to be as "neutral as we can humanly make them," she said.

Kweit said she has contributed money to Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry and also to Republicans in the past.

"I think you would find it difficult to find people who are interested enough in politics to teach it to not be active in some way," she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

What To Read Next
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Columnist Carol Bradley Bursack explains the differences between Alzheimer's, dementia and other common forms of dementia.
While the United States government gave help to businesses and people, a lack of assistance has left some Chinese citizens angry and destitute.
Having these procedures available closer to home will make a big difference for many in the region.