I’ve often accused Doug Burgum of being someone other than himself as he runs for the Republican nomination for governor. I don’t think Burgum’s campaign is all that accurate a reflection of who he is.
In fact, one of Burgum’s own campaign supporters has said as much. “I don’t think they represent Doug,” Perry Miller, a Democrat who is hosting a fundraiser for Burgum later this month, told me of the candidate’s campaign ads. “I’ve known the guy for years.”
Now Burgum has endorsed Donald Trump, and when the press release (see below) dropped in my inbox I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.
Does anyone believe this is anything other than campaign ploy by Burgum? Would Burgum have been a Trump supporter if he wasn’t running for governor and needful of public displays of this outsider, anti-establishment status he’s affected?
I can’t imagine that pre-campaign Burgum, who runs in the upper echelons of the corporate world and is the darling of the liberal Fargo yuppie scene, would have been a fan of Trump’s positions on immigration. Or his comments about women. Or free trade, for that matter.
This is a cynical, calculated political move from someone who launched their campaign claiming he isn’t a politician.
Anyone with a lick of sense knows this isn’t a sincere move by Burgum. That this is something he’s done only because he thinks it gives him the political advantage.
I’m not sure how smart of a move it is. Burgum’s strategy has been to try and ingratiate himself with North Dakota’s conservatives, but in the mean time he’s shredding whatever crossover appeal he might have had with Democrats and independents hoping that Burgum would govern to the left of Stenehjem.
But who knows. Maybe this stunt will work. This is a weird, weird political cycle.
And speaking of cynical political calculation, guess who won’t take a firm stance on Fargo’s controversial flood diversion project? Even as he attends a fundraiser hosted by a prominent critic of the diversion?
News that Doug Burgum, a Republican running for governor, is holding a fundraiser hosted by Perry Miller, a Democrat, has raised a few eyebrows among political observers, but there’s something else unusual about the event.
Burgum has long been one of the most prominent members of the Fargo business community, which has generally championed the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion. Miller, a former Richland County commissioner, chaired the Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority, which sued to stop the diversion.
Asked about his stance, Burgum’s campaign said he wasn’t immediately available. He released a statement in which he expressed general support for flood protection, but made no mention of the diversion project, the main flood control project in Fargo-Moorhead.
“It’s important to recognize that permanent flood protection is a real need across all of North Dakota,” Burgum said in the statement. “I recently had the opportunity to tour the great work that has commenced in Minot and Valley City for flood protection, and it is critical that we find ways to fund infrastructure projects across the state.”
Other gubernatorial candidates The Forum spoke with took the issue head on.
Wow. Just wow. UPDATE: It looks like Tu-Uyen Tran has updated his story with Burgum saying he supports the diversion. Maybe he had to do a quick poll before figuring out where he came down on it.
UPDATE: By the way, while there’s no word yet on whether or not Stenehjem backs Trump, if he does endorse that’ll be a cynical move too. Because there’s no way Stenehjem is a Trump guy for any reason other than campaign trail advantage.