I have a couple of interesting audio clips to share with you this morning (both are embedded above). One is Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem making comments to radio host Scott Hennen that sure make it sound like he’s running for governor. The other is a depressed sounding state senator George Sinner who says that his fellow Democrats may not nominate candidates for governor or U.S. Senator this cycle.
First, Stenehjem. Hennen asked him about that recent polling showing him with solid favorability ratings, and Stenehjem was quick to tout other polls showing the same thing.
“There’s been other polls that indicate my name ID is high my favorability ratings in North Dakota are high,” he said. He also volunteered that he’s been getting a lot of pressure to run.
“I’ve had hundreds of people who have contacted me via email or I’ve seen on the street or that my wife runs into when she’s at the post office urging me to do that. When you do that kind of talk it’s unreasonable not to at least consider it,” he said.
“It’s no secret that I love the job that I have right now,” he added. “But sometimes you’re called to service. If that is what the future has in store for us it’s something I’m more than willing to consider.”
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”The Democrats may not nominate somebody. That’s a real possibility,” he added, noting that no Democrat may want to run against Senator John Hoeven, who is also on the ballot next year, given his prodigious approval numbers.[/mks_pullquote]
Hennen asked Stenehjem about a timeline. “Some say you should have decided yesterday,” Stenehjem said. “Some say these campaigns take too long. I think most people want to know that you’re taking it seriously.”
Stenehjem also made it sound like his wife is anxious to be first lady.
“It’s not something I want to do without support of my wife. Luckily I’m married to someone who has a whole host of causes she’s interested in,” Stenehjem said.
“This sounds like a sales pitch,” Hennen responded. “This is what she’s telling me she wants to do,” Stenehjem said.
As for George Sinner, he painted a pretty bleak picture of the outlook for Democrats in an interview with Steve Hallstrom on AM1100 The Flag.
“I don’t see any scenario where this would work for me,” he said about the possibility of his running for governor. “I am 62 years old. I am laser focused on getting re-elected to the state Senate and keeping my job. I am not a wealthy individual. I can’t afford to pay my mortgage and pay my car payments and take a year off to run for office.”
Asked who he thought might run for governor, Sinner sounded positively flummoxed.
I haven’t even looked at the list. “Someone has to do it. I don’t know who that someone would be,” he said.
“The Democrats may not nominate somebody. That’s a real possibility,” he added, noting that no Democrat may want to run against Senator John Hoeven, who is also on the ballot next year, given his prodigious approval numbers.
“How do the Democrats get some candidates in the pile?” a taken aback Steve Hallstrom asked Sinner. “You’ve talked about two races where there’s no possible candidates.”
“I don’t know,” Sinner said. “We’ll just keep working.”
One thing Sinner did say might turn around fortunes for Democrats is if North Dakota hits some tough economic times.
“That’s going to raise havoc in this state,” he said referring to projections for $40 per barrel oil for the next 15 years. “That’s going to raise real havoc. If that happens we’re going to have bond payments that might not get made. We’re going to have people say maybe we need some different leadership.”
I’ve written before about Democrats almost seeming to want North Dakota to fail in order to create political opportunities for themselves. I think this is the first time I’ve heard a state Democrat just come right out and say it.