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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Potter campaign manager 'highly critical' of Hoeven declining debates

The campaign manager of the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate said Wednesday he is "highly critical" of North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven's rejection of a live debate proposed by Forum Communications Co.

The campaign manager of the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate said Wednesday he is "highly critical" of North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven's rejection of a live debate proposed by Forum Communications Co.

Don Morrison, campaign manager for Democratic-NPL candidate Tracy Potter, issued a news release that said the rejection was "typical" of Hoeven's campaign so far.

"Not only is he afraid to be measured alongside Sen. Potter's formidable debating skills, but Hoeven is showing that he's afraid to talk about any issues in front of an audience," Morrison wrote.

"He would prefer to buy the election with 30-second ads that don't say anything at all about what he'll do if we send him to Washington," he added.

Forum Communications, which owns the Herald, as well as The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, other area newspapers and radio and television stations, e-mailed campaign managers for U.S. House and Senate candidates earlier this month. Potter accepted the invitation.


Hoeven's campaign said they rejected this debate offer, and another from a Bismarck TV station, because they were sponsored by specific media companies.

But Morrison pointed out that Hoeven accepted a debate sponsored by Prairie Public Broadcasting. He called the two rejections a "disservice to the public" because debates are a way for voters to measure the candidates.

"The only conclusion we can draw from Hoeven's unwillingness to participate is that his handlers are afraid he won't measure up," Morrison wrote.

GOP responds to Dem-NPL chairman's 'baseless attack'

North Dakota's Republican Party is calling for Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., to apologize for a "baseless attack" by the state Democratic Party leader.

Adam Jones, executive director for the state GOP, issued a press release Wednesday about a Herald article in which Democratic-NPL Chairman Mark Schneider said a statement he made last week was "inartfully drafted."

On July 23, Schneider sent out a press release that called for Republican U.S. House candidate Rick Berg to take responsibility for helping defeat a 2003 state bill.

Schneider's statement said House Bill 1317, if it had passed, "would have allowed North Dakota workers to receive help covering the cost of mental health issues caused while at work."


He referenced the recently denied compensation request of Edith Johnson, a Gilby, N.D., bank teller who was seeking to recover medical costs that stemmed from a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis following a May 2009 armed robbery.

But HB 1317 only would have allowed compensation for mental injuries that occurred to emergency service providers.

"If the Democratic Party is already misrepresenting the facts while doing Congressman Pomeroy's dirty work, what can we expect from them in October?" Jones asked. "False attacks are what Washington politicians do when they can't run on their own record."

Jones went on to urge Pomeroy to apologize and explain why Schneider was "falsely smearing" Berg.

Crabtree to discuss vision for coal

The Democratic candidate for North Dakota's public service commission will hold two press conferences Thursday to discuss his vision for coal in the state.

Brad Crabtree be at the Kennedy Center in Bismarck at 9:30 a.m., and then speak at Minot's Holiday Inn Riverside at 1:30 p.m.

He's running against incumbent Republican Kevin Cramer.


Johnson reports on local politics. Reach him at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send e-mail to rjohnson@gfherald.com .

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