Bobak Ha'Eri, Wikimedia Commons

Gubernatorial Election Reflections

Upon digestion of the North Dakota primary elections, a few things have surfaced. For all practical purposes, it is arguable that Lt. Governor Tammy Miller has been the acting Governor of North Dakota for about one year while Governor Burgum has been traveling the country running for President, Vice President, a cabinet position, or whatever. One would hope that being governor isn’t so easy that one can take a year or more of sabbatical without delegating authority to someone. It would have been hard for Miller to highlight that without insulting Burgum. Although Burgum endorsed Miller, he didn’t seem to weigh in very heavily in her media campaign.

There’s an old saying in politics that you don’t have many friends, just lots of acquaintances. It was probably smart for him to not do a deep dive into her ad campaign. It’s not smart for Vice Presidential candidates to hang around with “losers.” That said, Miller got trashed in her bid for Governor. It was fascinating that although she and Congressman Armstrong were involved in a divisive and negative campaign, in their debates, there didn’t seem to be a dime’s worth of difference between them on the issues. Other than an unsuccessful attempt to trash Armstrong personally, which obviously backfired, one is at a loss to figure out what Miller accomplished.

The office of Lt. Governor is as important as the Governor allows it to be. Either the Governor can delegate much responsibility to the office or merely allow it to be ceremonial, such as attending funerals and speaking at small-town high school graduations. Whether Burgum delegated much authority to Miller or neglected his duties for the last year or so is unknown. Whether Miller has a future in North Dakota politics remains to be seen. Her future has to be brighter than that of her media consultants, who directed her cringe-worthy television ads.

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Jim Maxson

Mr. Maxson is a retired Minot attorney, former ND State Senator representing Minot's 3rd District from 1986-1994, and former ND Democratic National Committeeman from 2000-2008. He speaks two languages, English and Metaphor, and is cursed by a long memory.

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