Last week NDGOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Burgum retweeted this from Doug Power, the CEO of the Perkins School for the Blind:
— Dave Power (@PerkinsCEO) March 9, 2016
That’s clearly a Burgum campaign event in the picture, what with the big Doug Burgum for Governor banner in the background.
Was Burgum campaigning in California to be governor of North Dakota? Turns out that’s the case.
“The photo of Doug and his classmate Dave Power, president and CEO of the Perkins School for the Blind, was taken at a fundraising event in California,” Burgum campaign manager Kate Mund tells me. “The event was hosted by a few of Doug’s longtime friends and supporters. Doug was in town for a board meeting and to visit with colleagues in the tech community about how North Dakota can take additional steps to diversify and strengthen its economy.”
Burgum went on-air with a big television ad buy last week. A $150,000 buy, to be exact, which I’m told he renewed for another week at the cost of another $150,000.
The candidate has to do this. His name statewide name recognition is not good, and the approval numbers for his likely post-convention primary opponent Wayne Stenehjem are through the roof.
But big spending on a campaign might not look good if Burgum is self-funding his campaign, which is something I pointed out in a newspaper column recently. “Some might wonder why Burgum can self-finance his political campaign yet incessantly lobby the state Legislature and local government for tax incentives and other subsidies for his business ventures,” I wrote.
So it’s good that Burgum is out fundraising for his campaign. I’m just not sure that getting a bunch of money from rich friends in California is an improvement over a self-funded campaign.
For what it’s worth, there has been one campaign finance disclosure in the gubernatorial race so far. Back in February the Stenehjem campaign reported over $239,000 in contributions of which 86 percent came from in state (most of the rest came from Minnesota).
The third candidate in the race, state Rep. Rick Becker, reported $22,500 in contributions with just 52 percent coming from North Dakotans.
The candidates won’t have to disclose their finances again until May 13.