Former Governor, and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Ed Schafer has said before that he’s voting for Fargo businessman Doug Burgum in the NDGOP’s contentious gubernatorial primary. But now he’s starring in a video for the candidate.
“Hi, I’m Ed Schafer, and I always want the best for North Dakota,” he says in the video. “I know what it takes to do the job, and that’s why I’m endorsing Doug Burgum for governor. He’s the conservative business leader we need.”
“Doug’s a proven leader, and he’ll work hard for us,” he continues. “I know Doug. I know his character and his abilities. He’s exactly what we need. Join me in voting Doug Burgum for governor. He means business.”
As I’ve said before, this is a big deal. Schafer doesn’t endorse lightly. In fact, I can’t remember him ever appearing in a campaign video for another candidate before.
Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Marvin Nelson joins the ranks of people who feel that Burgum isn’t going to govern in a fashion consistent with how he has campaigned.
Meanwhile, Nelson said Burgum is an unknown quantity as a candidate and predicted he would “run back to the left” if he wins in June.
“How many millions of dollars does it take that you spend in North Dakota to convince people that you’re conservative and know how to get by on less money?” Nelson said.
I have a deep and abiding respect for Ed Schafer, but I can’t help but feel that Nelson has the right of this.
A lot of North Dakota conservatives are lining up behind Doug Burgum, including Schafer, but are they motivated by Burgum’s philosophy and ideas? Things about which we’ve heard only the most superficial things?
Or are they just motivated by dislike of Stenehjem and anger at the “establishment”?
I hate to think we’re going to make someone our next governor – sorry, Marvin, but the NDGOP primary winner will be the next gov – because of a well-funded re-branding effort turning a Fargo liberal into a campaign trail conservative.
If Burgum wins this, and he is within striking distance with momentum, I expect a lot of buyer’s remorse from conservatives come 2017.
I hope, if he does win, Burgum proves me wrong.
One thing he can count on is my willingness to remind him of his campaign trail promises.