Monday, August 31, 2020

Race of the Day- North Dakota Governor

North Dakota Governor

64 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Incumbent
2016 Presidential Result: Red State (Midwest)

Outlook: Safe Republican

These days, North Dakota is one of the most solidly Republican states in the Union. Even with a significant history of populist politics, the state had moved in the GOP's direction long before Donald Trump came along and seems unlikely to change again anytime soon.

In 2016, wealthy software executive Doug Burgum ran for Governor, as a first time candidate for office, stressing his outsider status in a way similar to how Trump was seeking the Presidential nomination. The North Dakota party establishment chose to endorse the sitting Attorney General, but the actual primary was a near 20 point blowout for Burgum. That primary win was paramount to becoming Governor, as the party's nominee captured over two-thirds of the general election vote over a Democrat State Representative. In fact, Burgum and his Lt. Governor running-mate Brent Sanford, then a small-town Mayor outpolled the Trump ticket by about 14 points.

Now, Burgum and Sanford are heavily favored for a second term. In June, the incumbent took 90 percent in a primary against Air Force veteran Michael Coachman, a staunch African-American conservative who had run for statewide office a few times before. The Democrats did not have a primary, choosing instead to nominate their candidate at a virtual convention in March, at the early days of the Covid 19 outbreak. The one person who seemed to want the job was Shelley Lenz, a veterinarian and former School Board member from Killdeer.  I am assuming that in her job as a vet, she has never killed a deer. (There's a town close to me in Illinois with a similar name, but only one l in the first part.) After being endorsed by the Dem-NPL Party, Lenz chose former State Representative and farmer Ben Vig to run alongside for Lt. Governor.

This will not be a competitive race. North Dakotans seem satisfied with a long recent line of GOP Governors. I do not really claim to know what the main issues of contention in state politics are. From the outside though, Burgum has seemed to be an interesting Governor. Despite trying to play up his similarities to Trump as outsider candidates, he has chosen to govern in a different way. A few months back, the Governor got emotional talking about the need for people in the state to wear face masks as a matter of protecting others against the virus and insisting it should not be seen as a political matter. He also recently was quick to criticize a resolution passed by state legislative Republicans which was described as being anti-gay. Burgum made a point of saying how the Republican Party should not be hurtful or divisive.

After his time as Governor is over, Burgum will likely have the opportunity to do many things. It would probably be unlikely though that a sitting or former North Dakota Governor could have the national recognition to seek the highest office of all, but perhaps one never knows.

Governor races predicted thus far: 
2 D (2 Likely)
5 R (1 Safe, 2 Likely, 2 Lean)

Total with predictions thus far:

22 Democrats (20 holdovers, 2 Likely)
24 Republicans (19 holdovers, 1 Safe, 2 Likely, 2 Lean)


Post a Comment

<< Home