Wayne Stenehjem: "The sky is not falling"


Earlier today North Dakota Job Service issued a fairly positive jobs report for the state, which I wrote about here.

This afternoon the Stenehjem campaign dropped a statement from their candidate on the report. Here’s what they sent me:

This is an important signal about the strength of North Dakota’s diversified economy,” said Republican front-runner for Governor, Wayne Stenehjem. “Despite what people might be seeing in television ads from others in the race for the Republican primary, North Dakota’s economy continues to perform well.  The sky is not falling.”

Stenehjem added, “It’s wonderful to see positive economic signs in job statistics like this, but that’s just a beginning. North Dakota is well-positioned to build on our past success and the world class economy we have created. As governor, I will focus on helping our businesses and industry, entrepreneurs, and innovators continue to grow and diversify our economy and create good paying jobs now and in the future.”

A bit of a jab at Burgum there, who has made negativity about the state’s post-oil boom economy a big part of his campaign.

Focusing on jobs is probably a smart move for Burgum. I was talking to a long time campaign professional earlier today, and he said (based on polling he’s seen) that this election cycle is the first one in about about three cycles where jobs and the economy are a top concern for North Dakota voters again as has historically been the case.

Things have been so good in the state for so long that other issues – like taxes and education and infrastructure – have ranked above it.

That shift in the attitudes of voters is the fulcrum point of this see-saw battle between Burgum and Stenehjem. On one side, Burgum is trying to convince voters that new leadership is needed to right the state’s economic ship.

On the other is Stenehjem, arguing that while the ship is in some turbulent waters, it’s on the right course.