Stenehjem reports raising $752K; less than Burgum
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Republican Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says he has raised about $752,000 in his bid for governor, less than the $966,000 reported by his GOP rival, wealthy Fargo businessman Doug Burgum.
Their reports were the most prominent of a batch of disclosure filings submitted by the deadline Friday ahead of the June 14 primary. They included money raised from Jan. 1 to May 5.
Burgum is challenging Stenehjem even though the attorney general won the party endorsement. Whoever emerges from the primary is seen as a heavy favorite to replace Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who isn’t seeking re-election.
Stenehjem raised about $512,600 in the five months, after raising $239,400 in 2015, and had $368,700 left to spend, his filing said.
He said it was far less than Burgum was spending.
“This will easily be the most expensive primary election in state history and just about all of the money is his,” Stenehjem said.
Burgum, a Fargo philanthropist and onetime Microsoft Corp. executive, filed Thursday. His report showed contributions including a $100,000 donation from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, whose company bought Burgum’s Great Plains Software in 2001 for $1.1 billion in stock. Burgum worked for Microsoft until 2007.
The report showed most of Burgum’s contributions have been spent, with about $175,000 on hand.
Burgum also has personally funded his campaign, but wouldn’t say how much. State law does not require candidates to disclose their own contributions.
“I have a record of philanthropy and have given away millions of dollars to good causes,” Burgum told the AP. “I believe in North Dakota and believe the best use of my money, my time and my abilities is to help the state move from good to exceptional.”
Filings show about 90 percent of Stenehjem’s contributions have come from within the state, compared to about 30 percent of Burgum’s. Burgum said, however, that 80 percent of his small contributions — $200 or less — have come from North Dakotans.
Stenehjem got campaign contributions of $2,500 each from Dalrymple and the governor’s wife, Betsy. He also got a $10,000 contribution from Dickinson state Sen. Kelly Armstrong, who heads the state GOP, and $10,000 from U.S. Sen. John Hoeven.
Stenehjem’s biggest contributions were $20,000 from a political action committee of the National Mining Association and $15,000 from Grand Forks-based Minnkota Power Cooperative, which provides electricity to eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. The company also operates a coal-fired power plant in Center.
Karl Rove, the top strategist for former President George W. Bush, contributed $1,000 to Stenehjem. Stenehjem was Rove’s roommate in the mid-1970s in Alexandria, Virginia.
North Dakota Democrats have endorsed State Rep. Marvin Nelson of Rolla as their choice for governor. Filings show he has raised $16,750, with $5,000 from North Dakota’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. The state has not had a Democratic governor since 1992.
Libertarian candidate and Fargo businessman Marty Riske got $100 in contributions.
Frequent North Dakota political candidate Paul Sorum also is running for governor as a Republican in the state primary. He has raised $100.