Open Thread: My Election Predictions Suck


Today is primary day. After weeks of early voting, the bulk of the turnout for the June election will happen today. Is happening right now, in fact, until the polls close this evening.

It’s been a very busy primary season too, with the Republican gubernatorial race dominating political headlines and discussion here on the blog. It all gets settled today, but before it happens it’s time for some last minute predictions.

You can post yours below. Here are mine:

Gubernatorial race

I’m hesitant to even make a prediction here. I keep getting messages from friends and readers asking me what my final thoughts are, and what I’m telling them is that I think Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem wins. But I don’t know what I’m basing that on, really. It’s just a feeling.

It’s been a weird few months.

Last week I had a strong feeling that Burgum, with the endorsement of former Governor Ed Schafer, had built the momentum necessary to put himself over the top. But then he put his foot in his mouth on the abortion issue – again – and probably undid some of the good Schafer did.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]My primary day prediction sucks. Frankly, your guess is as good as mine on this one.[/mks_pullquote]

So I think Wayne wins…maybe? I’m not going to be surprised if Burgum pulls it out either. It’s been an unusual primary in an unusual election cycle, and Burgum is far from the usual sort of candidate.

I will say that according to an informal poll I’ve taken of my politically-engaged friends today – Democrats and Republicans, political and a-political, Burgum and Stenehjem supporters alike – they seem to think Stenehjem is going to hold on. For whatever that’s worth. They’re more confident than I am.

I’m a baseball fan – a Yankess fan, in particular – and on a particular blog I read when we get to discussing trade proposals there’s a saying, a caveat, we append to our thoughts: My trade proposal sucks. It’s meant as an acknowledgement that we’re all biased, that none of us can see all the variables, and we probably shouldn’t take our prognostications too seriously.

I’ll invoke that here, too. My primary day prediction sucks. Frankly, your guess is as good as mine on this one.

Measure 1

The Legislature is going to lose this one in a landslide, mostly because they’ve done almost nothing to articulate an affirmative case for the changes they made to North Dakota’s corporate farming law.

The changes are modest. If they stand it would be legal for corporations formed among non-family members to farm swine or dairy cows on up to 640 acres. Currently North Dakota law doesn’t allow corporate farming among anyone more distantly related than 1st cousin.

What’s being challenged is a depression-era law tied to a lot of emotion in North Dakota. It’s difficult for cool, logical facts to stack up against people feeling nostalgic about the family farm. Couple that with a deep-pockets referendum campaign run by the Farmer’s Union – they even had Willie Nelson on their side – and it’s easy to see the referendum succeeding in a landslide.

But it may be a moot point. The North Dakota Farm Bureau has already said they’re going to challenge the law in court.

Supreme Court

I think Judge Jerod Tufte is going to win North Dakota’s first race for an open Supreme Court seat in 24 years.

He’s up against attorney Robert Bolinske who is, frankly, a bit of a crank. Tufte, meanwhile, is probably more well known that Bolinske. He’s got a more impressive resume, and he scored higher in ratings released by the State Bar Association of North Dakota.

UPDATE: Originally I referred to Bolinske as a judge. That was in error. He is an attorney from Bismarck. The post has been corrected to reflect that.


Kirsten Baesler had a rocky first term in office. She was arrested on domestic violence charges after an incident involving her ex-boyfriend, but the charges were ultimately dropped.

She’s also weathered a political storm in the face of opposition to the Common Core standards, policy she had previously be a supporter for but more recently has backed away from.

Not everyone buys that Baesler’s change of heart on Common Core is all that sincere, and her opponent Joe Chiang has run on an anti-Common Core platform which won him a decent chunk of the delegate vote a the NDGOP convention in April.

But Chieng, too, is a bit of a crank. I think most voters are likely to see Baesler as the best choice. It’s a non-partisan race, though, so the top two vote-getters on this ballot advance to the general election ballot. That means win or lose, both candidates can be on the ballot again in November.

Still, if Baesler wins in June it’s hard to see how she loses in November.

Post your thoughts below.