Will 2024 Governorship Race Deliver Red, Blue, or Black & White?

Is it too early to speculate about next year’s North Dakota gubernatorial race? If Governor Burgum doesn’t run again, what can we expect and who will try to succeed him? We should feel safe to assume that if the Democrats field a candidate, he or she will more than likely have several disadvantages. Let’s start with a lack of name recognition. That, in addition to lack of funding, would, in all due respect, seem to be a bridge too far to fantasize about a Democratic win in 2024.

Then we have the Republican hopefuls. I recall a private conversation years ago with former governor, George (Bud) Sinner. By the way, I loved that guy. He told me that the most interesting thing about being governor and giving a speech to a joint session of the House and the Senate was that he was speaking to 140+ other governors, all of whom thought they could do a better job than him. How many of those “other governors” will make a run in 2024 remains to be seen.

There are a few other potential players who have been involved in sex scandals in the past. Has our former President inoculated them from such issues? Is faithful sex between consenting adults of the same gender more sinful than cheating heterosexuals? That will be up to the Republican base. Will they choose family values over everyone is doing it?

Another wrinkle could be a schism between the normal Republicans and the “I wish it were 1955 again” Republicans. Will there be a spoiler on the ballot after the nominating convention? Will there be a credible Independent candidate? Will there be two, three, or four candidates for governor? Will there be another Burgum who has so much money that he or she will be hard to ignore? That said, it is doubtful that a 78-year-old will be running against an 82-year-old. That could only happen at the national level. 

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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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