Back in December, former state Senator Ryan Taylor said he didn’t plan on running for public office in 2014. “I’m still immensely interested in everything going on politically in North Dakota,” Taylor told the Bismarck Tribune. “(But) 2014 isn’t going to be the right time for me political-wise or family-wise.”
If there was any question about why Taylor decided to go back on that statement, the Democrat answered them in announcing a campaign for Ag Commissioner.
It’s all about the Judy Estenson’s North Dakota Farm Bureau-backed Republican endorsement challenge to incumbent Doug Goehring.
“Some people might look at it as something that might be more in play,” Taylor told the Tribune of the race. And it’s pretty clear he’s going to make an issue out of Goehring’s admitted misbehavior with staff:
He said as agriculture commissioner top priorities would be to be a strong advocate for agriculture in office and on the North Dakota Industrial Commission as well as creating a good working environment in the department office.
“As people look at the landscape of North Dakota people are starting to realize that we need a stronger voice (in agriculture),” Taylor said.
Taylor said providing a Democratic voice on the Industrial Commission would lead to more debate on finding a balance between promoting agriculture and energy development. He said he wouldn’t be a “rubber stamp” for energy development.
The Farm Bureau’s move against Goehring is beginning to look like an ill-advised move, politically. Not only did their challenger draw into the race a serious Democrat candidate who wasn’t going to run otherwise, but Taylor getting in the race made it even less likely that NDGOP delegates are going to get behind an upstart challenger with zero electoral record, forsaking Goehring who, it bears repeating, got nearly 70 percent of the vote in 2010.
I don’t have a dog in the fight between Goehring and Estenson, but you have to wonder if this was really the best expenditure of the Farm Bureau’s political capital.
With the Democrats’ crop of legislative candidates looking weak, and with the date by which Democrats could launch a credible US House challenge to incumbent Rep. Kevin Cramer having come and gone, the Ag Commissioner race may be the only race in North Dakota worth watching.
Update: Taylor is now claiming he made the decision to run “long before” Estenson’s challenge to Goehring. Which, frankly, is a little hard to believe.