This is such small-ball horse pucky.
According to Mike Nowatzki, Fargo businessman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Burgum is “irked” about that long list of 81 state lawmakers endorsing his opponent Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.
Irked because some of the lawmakers were apparently asked to endorse Stenehjem before Burgum got into the race.
One lawmaker who endorsed Stenehjem – Fargo state Senator Kyle Davison, also a former employee of Burgum’s – says he was asked for the endorsement before Christmas, which he gave, but now he’s undecided. Then he criticized the list for not being transparent:
Sen. Kyle Davison, R-Fargo, said it was the day before Christmas when he received the phone call that landed his name on the list. He said the caller asked if he would support Stenehjem over the only other declared GOP candidate at that time, state Rep. Rick Becker of Bismarck, and he said yes.
But when Burgum announced his candidacy about three weeks later on Jan. 14, Davison – who formerly worked for Burgum when he was CEO of Great Plains Software before its sale to Microsoft for $1.1 billion in 2001 – said he decided to attend the party’s state convention in April with an open mind about who to endorse.
“And then the list came out, and of course my name was on there. I wasn’t mad, but the question didn’t include Doug in that whole thing,” he said Tuesday, adding he thought the list “probably isn’t as transparent as it could have been.”
Apparently Davison the only lawmaker Nowatzki could find who has had a change of heart. And for what it’s worth, Stenehjem campaign manager Nate Martindale tells Nowtazki that he did follow-up with “most” of the endorsers after Burgum got in the race, though Davison says he wasn’t called.
But really, this all comes off as petty. Davison and Burgum are kinda, sorta accusing the Stenehjem campaign of dirty tricks when there were no tricks.
It was widely reported in late 2015 that Burgum was undecided about a gubernatorial race. Not one of the lawmakers Stenehjem’s campaign contacted were forced to endorse. They could have said no. They could have said they were undecided. They could have said they wanted to wait and see what Burgum was going to do.
They didn’t. They gave the Stenehjem campaign permission to tout their endorsement. Even Rep. Davison, whatever he may think of that decision now.
If any given lawmaker wants to change their minds now that’s certainly their prerogative. But for Burgum to complain that Stenehjem didn’t wait for him to finally announce his candidacy before soliciting endorsements?
All Burgum is doing is calling attention, once again, to the long list of lawmakers not endorsing him. A list that clearly has made a statement, given Burgum’s reaction to it.
Maybe Burgum should have launched his campaign earlier.