This afternoon, while guest hosting for Jay Thomas on AM 970 WDAY, I had former Governor Ed Schafer on as a guest to discuss his endorsement of Fargo businessman Doug Burgum in the NDGOP gubernatorial primary.
You can listen to the full interview below.
I started the conversation by expressing to Ed my (by now very obvious) misgivings about the Burgum campaign. I have a deeply seated respect for Ed Schafer’s judgment and point of view, but I told him that I thought Burgum’s campaign was about as authentic as a three dollar bill.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”I think his campaign is awful,” Ed said. “In his effort he’s had out of state advisers, he’s had people that he’s listening too, he’s running data and making decisions off of data instead of his heart.”[/mks_pullquote]
To my surprise, Schafer agreed.
“You make some really good observations Rob,” he told me.
“He’s got a similar profile as mine,” Ed continued. “He’s fighting from the outside to get in. He’s not one of the party regulars. That’s important to me.”
But he acknowledged that Burgum’s hugely expensive campaign – perhaps the most costly in state history – has problems.
“I think his campaign is awful,” Ed said. “In his effort he’s had out of state advisers, he’s had people that he’s listening too, he’s running data and making decisions off of data instead of his heart.”
“He’s presented the conversation as such to where it has offended legislators, it has offended office holders, it has offended party holders and some Republicans. I could point to five or six missteps in his campaign,” Ed continued. Some of which are because he’s a rookie. Some of which are because he hasn’t developed fully his feelings, you know his philosophy on some issues. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the capability.”
Ed said that a shoddy campaign doesn’t mean that Burgum would be a bad leader as governor.
“While I don’t like some elements of his campaign, I think he’s made some mistakes up front, I also don’t think that disqualifies him or makes him unable,” Ed said.
That’s fair, but the problem is that Burgum’s policy positions were for the most part unknown before he ran for governor. It’s hard for me – indeed, I think it’s hard for many voters – to just take on blind faith that Burgum will be a better sort of leader than his campaign presents.
Here’s the audio: