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Published July 19 2012

Cramer, Gulleson agree on 6 debates

FARGO – North Dakota’s U.S. House candidates are poised to face off at least six times before Election Day.

The campaigns of Democrat Pam Gulleson and Republican Kevin Cramer said Thursday they’ve accepted multiple invitations for formal debates and public candidate forums this fall.

Gulleson and Cramer are in agreement on six events so far:

• A North Dakota Petroleum Council forum in September

• A North Dakota Chamber of Commerce forum on Oct. 11 in Bismarck

• A North Dakota Medical Association forum on Oct. 12

• A North Dakota Hospital Association forum, also in early October

• A debate on KFGO AM-790 radio in Fargo

• A debate on Prairie Public television.

Dates have not been finalized for the KFGO or Prairie Public debates.

Neither Gulleson nor Cramer has yet challenged the other to debate, marking a stark contrast in comparison to North Dakota?s U.S. Senate race, where the issue of debates has become a pawn in political gamesmanship.

Democrat Heidi Heitkamp wants seven debates but Republican Rep. Rick Berg has only confirmed his participation in two so far.

Instead, Gulleson and Cramer are in agreement that they welcome as many opportunities as possible to face their opponent in a fair venue.

“The more often we can talk about our differences, the better off we’ll be,”? Cramer told The Forum’s editorial board during a visit Thursday. “It’s good for democracy. … I think I ought to have 10, maybe 12, debates against Pam Gulleson.”

Gulleson doesn’t have a benchmark of how many debates she’d like to have against Cramer, but she “wants to do as many as is feasible,” her spokeswoman, Hillary Price, said.

“Pam would love to debate,” Price said. “It’s a really great opportunity to talk about issues in a public forum, and she thinks it’s really important for voters to see that.”

Cramer spokeswoman Kate Bommarito had also accepted an invitation to a forum Sept. 19 in Wahpeton by the American Association of University Women.

Gulleson’s campaign had not yet received an invitation to that as of Thursday evening, Price said.

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