We’re still 192 days out from the NDGOP endorsing convention on April 1st, but already Republicans have a half dozen potential candidates for the state’s first open gubernatorial election since 2000.
Treasurer Kelly Schmidt, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, state Senator Tom Campbell, Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley, and Fargo businessman Doug Burgum have said they’re considering a run. Now state Rep. Rick Becker, who represents District 7 in the Bismarck area, has said he plans on announcing a gubernatorial campaign in October.
“I have long been interested in trying to promote conservative ideals,” Becker told me in an interview last night. “I agree with former Governor Ed Schafer when he said North Dakota needs a conservative correction. I think he’s right on point and I think I’m the person who can make that correction.”
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”I have long been interested in trying to promote conservative ideals,” Becker told me in an interview last night. “I agree with former Governor Ed Schafer when he said North Dakota needs a conservative correction. I think he’s right on point and I think I’m the person who can make that correction.”[/mks_pullquote]
Becker is referring to comments made by Schafer in an interview on the Need To Know Morning Show on AM1100 WZFG with host Steve Hallstrom (I posted the audio here on SAB). “I think the reason is there’s an inherent quality in the people of North Dakota that says we need a conservative correction in the state,” Schafer told Hallstrom. “We’ve got a lot of money; we’ve spent a lot of money. We’ve kind of gotten onto some liberal issues. I think people are saying we need to have a correction here. Not take everything back – certainly we don’t want to be stick in the mud conservatives who don’t do anything – but we need some corrections.”
I asked Becker what sort of corrections he had in mind if he were to be elected.
“We’re looking at several areas, one of which is growth in spending. Addressing the various implications within spending such as corporate welfare. Certain concerns of cronyism,” he told me. “And also taxes. North Dakota’s have the highest tax as a precentage of their personal income of anyone in the U.S. That seems a little crazy for a state that’s supposed to be conservative.”
“I’d also like to take a closer look at K-12 funding. The way we’re looking at testing kids. I’d like to look at higher ed and how that’s being funded and where the control is,” he added.
I asked Becker what the timeline is on making up his mind on running, and it sounds like he’s already made up his mind.
“I’m going to have an official announcement on October 19th,” he told me. He also provided me a copy of a statement regarding his upcoming candidacy, which you can read below.
No Democrats have as yet expressed a serious interest in running for governor.