NDGOP Gets Another Governor Candidate As Democrats Struggle To Find One

Last month a friend asked me to place a bet. “How many governor hopefuls at the convention next spring?” he asked me. “The line is 6. Over or under?”

I didn’t place a bet, because I don’t gamble, but 205 days away from the NDGOP convention on April 1st and already we’re looking at five Republican candidates who are at least considering a run. So it’s looking like “over” would have been a solid bet.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]He’s a serial entrepreneur and, interestingly because it isn’t the sort of thing you typically see on any candidate’s resume, he’s worked in prison ministry for more than 14 years.[/mks_pullquote]

So far Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Treasurer Kelly Schmidt, and Fargo businessman Doug Burgum have said they’re possible candidates.

The latest possible candidate is state Senator Tom Campbell who represents District 19. I spoke with Campbell this evening who told me that he’ll be making a decision in the coming weeks. He said that he’s been thinking about it since Governor Jack Dalrymple announced his retirement, and added that Senator Heitkamp’s announced decision not to run earlier today really didn’t enter into his thinking.

Campbell doesn’t have quite the statewide notoriety that the other candidates do, so you can catch up a bit on his biography here on his legislative campaign website. He’s a serial entrepreneur and, interestingly because it isn’t the sort of thing you typically see on any candidate’s resume, he’s worked in prison ministry for more than 14 years.

How many more candidates is this race going to get? It’s worth keeping in mind that, officially, we have zero candidates. Nobody has said they’ve definitely decided to run, let alone filed the paperwork. But in 2011 there were no fewer than five Republicans competing to run for the open U.S. House seat.

I think this governor’s race could beat that. And, frankly, I welcome it. Politics should be a competitive process.

And it could be worse. Republicans could be in the position Democrats are in, with news articles presenting a laundry list of all the potential candidates who say they’d rather not run. Because let’s face it, with Heitkamp on the sidelines, this really isn’t a race Democrats have much chance of winning.

Thus, the candidate debate they’re having is over which person is going to suffer through months of painful campaigning to take one for the team.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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