Fargo businessman Doug Burgum’s campaign continues its aggressive advertising campaign with the 30 second spot above in which the candidate promises to eschew the governor’s salary, if elected, and also any state pension.
“I’m not interested in a political career. I’m running for governor because I love North Dakota,” Burgum said in a statement released by his campaign along with the ad. “We need a governor who recognizes the financial challenges confronting our state, and I believe with fresh ideas and new leadership we will meet our challenges and strengthen our economy. Given our runaway state spending and drastic drop in revenue, there will be many tough decisions to make on spending. I am starting the cutting process with my own salary.”
The governor position currently pays $125,330 per year, which is just a little above the national average for gubernatorial pay according to the Council of State Governments. North Dakota ranks 33rd in the nation for gubernatorial pay.
Of course, it’s easy for Burgum to eschew the governor’s salary given that he’s an independently wealthy multi-millionaire.
The ad also mentions that Burgum thinks “career politicians” have gotten “too cozy” with lobbyists. Which is rich given that one of Burgum’s top campaign advisers is former North Dakota Republican Party chairman Bob Harms who makes his living as a professional lobbyist. During the 2015 legislative session Harms was registered with the Secretary of State to represent no fewer than six companies/organizations:
I have no objections to lobbying or lobbyists. That’s how democracy works. But if you’re going to complain about lobbyists, maybe don’t have one featured prominently in your campaign.
Anyway, according to FCC disclosures the Burgum campaign has now laid out nearly $550,000 on broadcast campaign ads. If that seems like an enormous amount of money for a candidate to spend before March is over in an election year, it is.
UPDATE: A reader points out that the Burgum ad doesn’t mention a pension. It doesn’t, as it turns out, and I’m actually not sure if the governor gets a pension. I think maybe he’s a part of the state’s defined contribution plan?
Anyway, I mentioned a pension in the headline because the release Burgum campaign manager Kate Mund sent out mentioned it. See below.