Bismarck state Senator Nicole Poolman was, until Tuesday, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s running mate on the gubernatorial ticket. But Stenehjem/Poolman got bested by Doug Burgum and his running mate, Watford City Mayor Brent Sanford, and Poolman says she’s ready to get behind Burgum to win.
“We have a good, strong ticket at the top,” she told me during an interview on WDAY AM970 yesterday (audio below). “The voters are excited about Doug Burgum.”
She did express some concern, though, about the impact of Burgum’s campaign on legislative races.
“Millions of dollars were invested in the ‘good old boy network’ message,” she said adding that she’s concerned about the impact that might have on the ability of Republican lawmakers to win re-election.
“I’m worried about the Legislature,” she said, though acknowledged she believes that lawmakers come around on Burgum. “Legislators are stinging a bit right now, but they see the value in having a good, strong governor.”
As I pointed out yesterday, Burgum could probably help the unifying process along not just by striking a more conciliatory tone when he talks about his issues with state spending, but also through some concerted outreach to lawmakers.
While some lawmakers were turned off by Burgum’s proffered contributions to their campaigns before the NDGOP convention, now that we’re into the general election portion of the race I’m sure they’d see that assistance as more appropriate. What’s more, Burgum could spend some of the political capital he earned with that stunning primary day upset on backstopping Republican lawmakers in tough races.
Burgum standing next to lawmakers who are on the bubble against strong Democratic challengers could mean the difference between Republicans going into 2017 with the same number of seats they had in 2015 or a diminished majority.