Hopefully in a couple of weeks we might have some public polling available in North Dakota’s gubernatorial race giving us some sort of an idea as to whether or not Doug Burgum’s big-money advertising blitz is turning the heads of voters.
The only publicly available polling in the race so far showed Burgum way, way behind Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem in a potential head-to-head match up.
But we do have a data point to demonstrate that, regardless of whether or not Burgum is getting traction with the public at large, he’s definitely moving the needle inside the Stenehjem campaign.
What I’m talking about is yesterday’s op/ed from Stenehjem supporter and state lawmaker Roscoe Streyle.
The column was also emailed out by the Stenehjem for Governor campaign (see below), and that surprised me. The tone of Streyle’s comments were perhaps the most provocative of the race so far. While Burgum has made allusions in his campaign messaging to “career politicians” – an obvious shot at Stenehjem who has a political career spanning decades – he hasn’t spent a lot of time criticizing Stenehjem directly.
But Streyle went right after Burgum – Streyle wrote the candidate “will say anything and spend any amount of money to win even if it means tearing down Republicans and helping Democrats win this fall” – and the Stenehjem campaign endorsed the message by sending it out in an email blast to supporters.
That isn’t the action of a political campaign that feels comfortable with a wide lead over an opponent.
That is the action of a political campaign that is feeling nervous.
Again, we have no idea if Burgum is getting any traction with NDGOP convention delegates or Republican primary voters, but he’s obviously in Stenehjem’s head.
Here’s the email blast: