N.D. Candidate Won't Give Up Column

The Democratic candidate for state treasurer is having some fun with a GOP plea that newspapers stop publishing his humor column — or else give his opponent equal time.

Dean Meyer (search) wondered Monday whether he will also have to share his work as a rodeo announcer with Republican Kelly Schmidt (search).

"That's kind of an unfair advantage I have too," Meyer said.

The publishers of Meyer's weekly column, called "Hat Tips," said it's popular with readers and has nothing to do with politics. They intend to run it during the campaign as long as he keeps it that way.

"We don't view it as a political beast," said Neal Shipman, editor and publisher of the McKenzie County Farmer of Watford City. The Farmer is one of more than a dozen North Dakota weeklies that carry Meyer's column about humorous happenings on his ranch.

Jason Stverak, the state Republican director, sent a letter earlier this month to the newspapers, asking that they drop Meyer's column until after the November election — or also run a column by Schmidt about her family life.

Schmidt called Stverak's letter a "request for fairness and equal consideration."

But Shipman declined. "I don't have room for another columnist, and I don't know anything about this person," he said, referring to Schmidt.

Norma Peterson, publisher of two other small papers in the state, said she would consider publishing a separate column by Schmidt, "as long as she doesn't talk about politics."

Meyer said he informed all the publishers he will not mention his political race in his column. In reply, he said, one asked him which office he was seeking.