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Published April 16 2012

North Dakota: Lone House Democrat candidate leads GOPers in funds

FARGO – Democratic U.S. House candidate Pam Gulleson has a clear lead on her GOP competitors in terms of shoring up campaign war chests for the election season ahead, according to a comparison of first-quarter finance reports filed Sunday.

Gulleson collected $238,000 in campaign contributions during the first three months of 2012 – almost triple the combined intake of Republican-endorsed House candidate Brian Kalk and GOP challenger Kevin Cramer during the same time.

After expenses, Gulleson entered April with $313,000 in the bank and no reported debt, according to her latest disclosure report to the Federal Election Commission.

Since the start of her campaign last fall, Gulleson has raised more than $400,000.

In comparison, Kalk and Cramer both have some steep ground to make up, based on their most recent reports filed with the FEC.

Kalk reported Sunday that he’d raised $39,000 in the first three months of 2012, for a total of almost $176,700 in donations since he launched a congressional bid last year.

He entered April with $65,275 in cash on hand and no reported debt.

Cramer’s report shows he raised $43,700 in the first quarter, for a total intake of $254,000 since last fall.

As of April 1, Cramer had $199,000 on hand and no reported debt.

Cramer and Kalk will face off in the June primary for sole rights to the Republican nomination in the U.S. House race.

Whoever wins that election will compete against Gulleson in the November general election.

More than 50 percent of Gulleson’s reported haul in the first quarter – $125,000 – came from political action committees. Those donations include:

Kalk has not received any money from PACs so far.

In late 2011, Cramer received $2,000 from two Oklahoma-based PACs associated with the energy industry. In his latest report, Cramer reported no other PAC contributions.

Kalk was endorsed April 1 by North Dakota Republicans.

Because the first quarter disclosure reports include finances only through March 31, the latest report doesn’t reflect what affect the party’s official backing has had on Kalk’s fundraising income.

However, Kalk said in a statement Sunday night he’s had “overwhelming donors’ responses since the convention.”

“Our first quarter numbers reflect the time and effort put in to win the convention vote,” Kalk said. “We are well on the way to meet our goals for the primary election.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541

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