Yesterday I wrote about what I believe is a 2014 strategy for North Dakota Democrats – a “wedge issue” if you will.
I think they’re hoping to pit North Dakota’s two largest industries against one another.
Agriculture Commissioner candidate Ryan Taylor got the ball rolling during his campaign announcement last week. “You can’t unleash all that oil and then wonder why the train tracks are full of oil tankers and you can’t get grain on from the elevators in North Dakota and get that product to market,” he said in Fargo. “I will not be a rubber stamp for out-of-state oil barons. I’ll stand up for North Dakota.”
In announcing his own campaign for the US House today from his family’s agriculture business in Casselton, state Senator George Sinner also sought to pit agriculture against energy.
He keyed in on conflict between the state’s oil and agriculture industries, exacerbated by what he called an “overburdened infrastructure system” that has led to accidents and manufacturing delays. He also highlighted a labor shortage and mounting college student debt as prime issues in North Dakota.
I think it’s safe to say that a theme is developing.
The chief obstacle Democrats face this election year is a state full of people who, despite some corners over strained infrastructure and housing shortages, are mostly contented. Recent polling from the Brighter Future Alliance shows over 83 percent of North Dakotans believing the state is heading in the right direction. North Dakota has been rated the best-run state in the nation, and a Gallup survey just showed that North Dakota is the happiest state in the union too.
To overcome this, it seems Democrats want to convince those connected to the state’s oldest and traditionally largest industry that the newer folks in the energy industry are spoiling everything.
We’ll see how well it works come November.