North Dakota GOP Senate candidate Kevin Cramer sought and received the support of a conservative anti-LGBT group that links homosexuality to pedophilia and defends conversion therapy, CNN reports. Virginia GOP Senate candidate Corey Stewart was the only other name mentioned in the report.
The group, Public Advocate of the United States, touts itself as a group of young conservatives that advocates for religious conservative policies in American politics. In a March 12, 2018 release, the group created and released an eight-question survey that was planned to be sent out to Congress and U.S. Senate candidates in 18 different states, including North Dakota.
Candidates’ completion of the survey was voluntary, and all candidates who submitted a response were informed prior to submission that its results would be made public.
“We look forward to responses and promise in our cover letters to publicize the responses from candidates,” said Eugene Delgaudio, president of Public Advocate, in the release.
As part of the survey, candidates were asked questions defending the traditional American family with policies, legislation or in the case of the Senate, confirmation of pro-family Judicial nominees, the release said.
Cramer’s survey, which was posted publicly to the group’s website on Monday, June 11, included “yes” answers to all eight survey questions.
The questions asked included whether a candidate “believed that real marriage is only between one man and one woman,” and, “will you oppose all efforts to make public restrooms and changing-rooms unsafe through so-called ‘transgender bathrooms’ legislation and regulations-which have the effect of encouraging and protecting pedophiles?”
The last survey question asks candidates if they feel “public schools should be prevented from brainwashing elementary school children with the Homosexual Agenda.”
Tim Rasmussen, communications director for the Cramer campaign, responded to the report in an email to Forum News Service.
"Kevin did not seek support from this group, he merely responded to an unsolicited survey," Rasmussen wrote. "Nowhere in the survey did it ask about conversion therapy and any inference that Kevin thinks transgender people are comparable to pedophiles is a gross misinterpretation of the survey."
Sean Higgins, a spokesman for Heitkamp, also responded to the CNN report in an email to Forum News Service.
“Heidi believes every North Dakotan should be treated with dignity and respect,” Higgins wrote. “Kevin Cramer’s embrace of this radical group shows yet again that he’s more interested in pursuing an extreme agenda rather than getting real results for hardworking North Dakotans.”
The CNN report comes one day after Cramer, who is coming off a landslide victory in Tuesday’s primary election, received a staunch backing from President Donald Trump in a Wednesday, June 13 tweet.
The tweet from Trump read: "Congratulations to @kevincramer on his huge win in North Dakota. We need Kevin in the Senate, and I strongly endorse him. Heidi voted NO on our Tax Cuts, and always will vote no when we need her. Kevin is strong on Crime & Borders, big on Cutting Taxes!"
Democratic incumbent Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., who is seeking a second term, also won her primary unopposed on Tuesday.
The U.S. Senate race in North Dakota between Cramer and Heitkamp is expected to be hotly contested come November's general election.