Burgum Campaign Has A Point About Stenehjem Consultant On The Radio

stenehjem burgum
Campaign photos provided by Stenehjem, Burgum campaigns

Here’s the latest chapter in the increasingly petty Republican gubernatorial primary between Doug Burgum and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

Apparently Pat Finken of Odney Advertising sat in for Scott Hennen on his syndicated, state-wide talk radio show today. He used his on-air time to talk about the gubernatorial campaign, including bringing on guests like state Rep. Roscoe Streyle and Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm who support Stenehjem and were critical of Burgum.

What he didn’t do was disclose is that he’s a paid consultant for the Stenehjem campaign.

The Burgum campaign is now complaining about it, and they have a point, though in typical Burgum style they go way, way over the top with it.

“During this time they carried on the facade of a legitimate programing while orchestrating two hours of prearranged guests and callers who both promoted the Stenehjem campaign and attacked the Burgum campaign,” lobbyist and Burgum campaign adviser Bob Harms said in a statement. “That’s the type of deliberately deceptive, good-old-boy style politics that made Doug want to run for governor.”

The hyperbole. It’s breath taking.

“That’s the type of deliberately deceptive, good-old-boy style politics that made Doug want to run for governor.”

I mean, guests are always pre-arranged. Because duh.

I wonder what evidence Harms has that the callers were pre-arranged? Maybe the callers just didn’t like Burgum.

Their candidate is perhaps the most thin skinned candidate I’ve ever seen run for statewide office in North Dakota, but that doesn’t justify the Burgum campaign treating every bit of criticism as if it were originating from some conspiracy.

Anyway, Finken says he did disclose that he’s a Stenehjem supporter and audio of the show backs him up on that, and he has apparently disclosed in previous shows that he works for the Stenehjem campaign, but he didn’t disclose in this show today that he’s working for the Stenehjem campaign.

He should have.

“I did disclose during the course of the show my relationship, that I am a friend, a supporter, and it’s been disclosed before that I also am assisting the Stenehjem campaign,” Finken told Hageman.

It’s no secret that Finken is working for Stenehjem. Everyone knows it. But still, Finken should have done a disclaimer during the show, if for no other reason than to avoid the appearance of impropriety and to avoid putting a talking point on a tee for the Burgum campaign to swing at.

Finken is a political professional, and he is certainly aware that the campaigns he’s working against like to use him as a boogyeman. He should have known better.

We’re 50 days from primary day, folks. It’s only going to be down hill from here.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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