NDGOP Ag Commissioner Challenger Judy Estenson: "The Story Is Not Over"


Earlier this year the North Dakota Farm Bureau announced, in a surprise move, that they’d be backing a challenger to incumbent Republican Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. The Farm Bureau said that Goehring had been a little too big government for them, and hadn’t acted professionally in his job, so they felt a change was needed.

Devils Lake-area farmer, rancher and nurse Judy Estenson was their answer. But Estenson lost at the NDGOP convention on a 624-245 vote of the delegates, and had promised that she wouldn’t run on the June primary ballot.

Over the weekend, Mike Nowatzki had an article in which Farm Bureau leadership expressed their desire to let bygones be bygones. “We had some differences of issues and some opinions, and I think there were some misunderstandings on both sides of how this whole thing went and stuff, so I hope we can move on,” Farm Bureau President Doyle Johannes is quoted as saying.

But on Facebook, Estenson sounded a somewhat more defiant tone over the weekend, thanking supporters and saying “The story is not over.”

Hard to say what Estenson meant by that – she didn’t respond when I sent her a message inquiring – but it seems doubtful she’ll be up to anything more this cycle (a write-in campaign is about all she could do at this point).

But this could mean that Estenson has aspirations for public office in the future. While at the NDGOP convention in Minot I heard from many delegates and observers, most of them Goehring supporters, who said that they were impressed with the campaign Estenson ran and hoped she would seek office again in the future.

It seems that may be on Estenson’s radar as well.