Doug Burgum’s formal announcement last week that he’s seeking the Republican Party endorsement in the North Dakota Governor’s race was an absolute game changer. And, for the sake of disclosure, we consider this development to be good news.
That said, the unfolding Governor’s race will undoubtedly be for the benefit and greater good of all North Dakotans. We have some terrific candidates who have thrown their hat in the ring. Three Republicans -- Doug Burgum, Rick Becker and Wayne Stenehjem. And one Democrat who’s expected to announce – Sarah Vogel.
Burgum is the Republican wild card, so to speak, especially since he entered the race considerably later than the two other announced GOP candidates. Best we can tell, this development rocked ND’s political apple carts.
Having a candidate with a worldly renowned background in extraordinary technology and entrepreneurial business activities is changing the other GOP ground games substantially. Where Burgum says ND needs to get on a new trajectory, the counter response voices support of the status quo and touts just how good things have been going in our state.
Burgum messages that ND needs a conservative budgetary reset given the slumping – or plummeting – oil and ag commodity prices. He told audiences Thursday that he’s skilled at doing more with less because that’s been the model in the tech world for years.
The fact that he admits he does not expect to secure the GOP convention nomination in the beginning of April and that he is planning to run in the state primary June 14 has many saying he is not following the rules. Truth is, however, one can run in a convention and can also run in the primary and the rules spell out how either or both can be done.
Some fear Democrats will cross over and vote Republican in the primary. Well, to that we say, whoop-de-doo! It’s happened countless thousands of times before and will happen countless times again in future primaries. That sword cuts both ways, folks. Whatever the result, however, it will be the voice of the people reflected in the candidates on the ballot come the November General Election.
We have four capable and gifted candidates. We could not be more fortunate. North Dakota will benefit from the dialogue, the process, the diversity of approaches, and the final result, knowing we are in good hands no matter the final vote tally.
Wayne Stenehjem is a great person and is perceived by many to be heir apparent to the Governor’s Office, particularly after the unexpected withdrawal from the race of Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley. Rick Becker, somewhat more Libertarian, is thought of as a very bright and conservative voice among Republican circles. Sarah Vogel comes from a family of prominent public service and has her own substantial public service track record upon which to stand, most notably as a lead attorney in a federal class action suit in the 1980s that ultimately halted USDA foreclosures on 80,000 or so family farms.
In the end, in our opinion solely -- and knowing our biases as disclosed at the beginning of this editorial – we hope for a win-win outcome for North Dakotans. That would mean Doug Burgum becomes Governor and that he has a skilled, seasoned and capable Attorney General – Wayne Stenehjem -- with whom to work in the Executive branch and especially on the Industrial Commission. Further, we’d like to see Sarah Vogel become prominent again in ND’s Ag policy arena, or to be named to the ND Supreme Court, following the footsteps of her father, the preeminent Robert Vogel. And we’d like to see Rick Becker named the next Speaker of the House.
The main thing is that all people get engaged, do their homework, ask their own questions, and vote their conscience and heart. Everyone wins in that scenario.
We fully expect the Governor’s race to be above board, provocative, insightful and positive. That, friends, is Legendary in a truly North Dakota way
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