If you needed evidence of how befuddled state Senator Tom Campbell’s campaign for the U.S. Senate is already, look no further than today’s press release touting 34 endorsements from state lawmakers.
“Tom Campbell – a conservative farmer, outsider, and business leader – announced today that over thirty North Dakota legislators have endorsed his campaign for the U.S. Senate,” the release states (read it in full below).
Lawmaker endorsements are de rigueur in North Dakota politics, but rarely seem to sway races one way or another. Remember that Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem picked up a ton of endorsements from lawmakers for his bid for the NDGOP’s gubernatorial nomination, but got a shellacking from his opponent Doug Burgum anyway on primary day.
Anyway, what’s interesting about Campbell touting this list of lawmaker endorsements is that he’s simultaneously branding himself as an outsider, aping Burgum’s successful strategy from the 2016 cycle.
Burgum called himself an outsider, and castigated the status quo in Bismarck as the “good old boys club,” and it worked. Burgum won in a landslide.
But Campbell is hardly an outsider.
Campbell is himself a lawmaker, and has been for going on six years now. He’s also touting endorsements from 34 of the 141 members of the state Legislature.
In other words a member of the “good old boys club” is calling himself an outsider while tallying up all the endorsements he got from other members of “the good old boys club.”
This sort of cognitive dissonance is unacceptable for someone who hopes to take on Senator Heidi Heitkamp who is about as skilled and aggressive a politician as North Dakota has ever produced.
Republicans really need to be worried about Campbell’s ability to deploy tight campaign messaging. Because if he can’t, Heitkamp will eat his lunch in 2018.
Here’s the full release: