North Dakota Senate: Brian Kalk Considers Conrad Challenge

A North Dakota Republican “told Roll Call that he is exploring the possibility of challenging Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad and has formed a committee to raise money as he eyes the prime 2012 race.”

Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk announced the move in an e-mail to supporters late Wednesday night, getting political activity started unusually early for Conrad, who is already running radio ads defending his record.

“Since the November election, many of you have urged me to consider running for the Republican endorsement for the 2012 U.S. Senate race,” Kalk wrote in an e-mail obtained by Roll Call. “This week, we have filed the necessary paperwork to set up the Kalk for Senate Exploratory Committee.”

Kalk told Roll Call that he discussed the race with his wife and daughter over the holidays and began calling his supporters last week. Since the Federal Election Commission requires candidates to file when they have raised $5,000, he needed to establish the committee within days of beginning to make calls, he said.

“The issues will drive our decision,” he said, citing his experience as a military veteran, member of the Public Service Commission and college professor. Though Kalk hasn’t hired any staff, Compliance Consulting in McLean, Va., is helping him with his fundraising reporting.

A number of “other Republicans have also been mentioned as potential Conrad opponents in 2012, including state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Tax Commissioner Cory Fong, Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley.”

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