North Dakotans are all but certain to re-elect Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., to the U.S. House of Representatives by a wide margin, in part because he has no serious competition. Democrat Chase Iron Eyes is running a shoestring campaign with virtually no help from his party. Libertarian Jack Seaman adheres to a political philosophy that has no significant traction in the state.
Cramer works hard for North Dakotans and has earned re-election. But his public record can be confusing.
For one who decries federal spending, his name pops up every week in a news release about a federal grant or some other expensive federal program for North Dakota. For one who has mouthed an anti-government line for years, he has been in appointed government jobs or elected offices nearly all his adult life. Those seeming contradictions aside, he understands his state and is as responsive as any elected official can be to his constituents. To his credit, he is available whenever his Washington schedule allows, to meet with North Dakotans, media and his political opponents.
One of his best assets is his demeanor. He meets critics head on, relishes debate and sticks to his positions on matters important to him-and he does it without resorting to nastiness or cheap shots. He's straight with answers, never engaging in shallow spin. Like his policies or not, his candor is rare and refreshing in a politician.
If he has a blind spot in this election cycle, it's his near-worship of presidential candidate Donald Trump. Unlike other prominent state Republicans, who have been muted in their squishy support for Trump, Cramer is positively giddy about the New York billionaire, often acting like a cow-eye high school cheerleader who is smitten by the thuggish captain of the football team. Cramer has been too willing to set aside his oft-stated values of family, faith and decency for a heady ride on the Trump party bus.
That being said, Cramer's record of service to North Dakota is excellent. He'll be in the House majority again after Nov. 8 and, unlike in the Senate, majority rules in the House. That's good news and will afford Cramer more opportunity to serve his state well.
Editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper's Editorial Board.