Former North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer, a Republican who was in office from 1993 until 2001, appeared on the Need To Know Morning Show on AM1100 WZFG with host Steve Hallstrom and answered some question about the politics surrounding the state’s open gubernatorial seat.
Hallstrom asked Schafer if he had thought of running for another term in office. Schafer said he’s asked the question regularly, but doesn’t understand why saying the Republican party has good candidates.
But he did say the state needs a “conservative correction,” and he thinks that’s why many look to him to run again.
“I think the reason is there’s an inherent quality in the people of North Dakota that says we need a conservative correction in the state,” Schafer said. “We’ve got a lot of money; we’ve spent a lot of money. We’ve kind of gotten onto some liberal issues. I think people are saying we need to have a correction here. Not take everything back – certainly we don’t want to be stick in the mud conservatives who don’t do anything – but we need some corrections.”
Schafer said he has solid reputation for governor conservatively, and that’s why people look to him.
“I have a proven track record in that area and I think that’s why people ask,” he said. “I used to tell legislators that if they keep spending like this I’m going to have to come back and fix everything.”
But to be clear, “I’m not planning on running for governor,” Schafer said.
Hallstrom also asked Schafer about Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s decision not to run for governor. “I was surprised,” Schafer said. “It seems like if you looked politically all the stars were aligned. She ran pretty middle of the road. She’s proven not to vote that way, but she ran middle of the road where North Dakotans are so she’s accepted there I think. If she had run for governor she would still have been Senator.”
“There’s an element that she could be the first female governor,” he added. “All those things were there.”
Schafer said he wasn’t surprised that Dalrymple chose not to run again. “You realize the impact it has on your life and your family,” he said. “If you look at Governor Dalrymple he’s had an exemplary record.”
On the issue of Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley choosing to run after admitting to an extramarital affair, Schafer said the decision is a personal one.
“I think that decision is Drew and Kathleen’s,” he said. “That’s a hugely personal issue. I pray that they come together and look and ask what’s best for them. If you get in the race the voters are going to decide if you’re going to be governor.”
“They really shouldn’t make that decision based on public polling or what people tell them to do,” he added. “These are personal decisions.”