(UPDATED) BISMARCK—North Dakota’s race for governor began taking shape Friday with news from two major candidates.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple is planning a multi-city tour across North Dakota on Tuesday to announce his intentions regarding the 2012 race.
Dalrymple, a Republican, will make stops in Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot and Bismarck, according to a news release from Friends of Jack Dalrymple.
Jeff Zent, a spokesman for Dalrymple, said there would be no comment on the announcement until the governor shares his intentions on Tuesday.
However, North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Stan Stein said Dalrymple called him a few weeks ago to let him know that he would seek his first full term in office.
Rick Collin of the State Historical Society of North Dakota said he’s never heard of a politician planning a multi-city tour to say he isn’t running for office.
Dalrymple, 63, served as the state’s lieutenant governor under John Hoeven for 10 years. He became North Dakota’s governor in December when Hoeven left the post to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Also Friday, Senate Minority Leader Ryan Taylor, D-Towner, said he’s looking to officially announce his entry into the race after the Legislature’s special session in November.
“I don’t see anything that would change my mind the other way at this point,” he said.
However, Taylor said his focus right now is the special session and working on initiatives he wants to put forward. This includes addressing flood recovery and the strain on communities in oil country, he said.
Taylor also wants to reintroduce his “Lasting Harvest Initiative,” which calls for a 20-year state plan.
“There’s no way I’ll be able to jump on a bus and head around the state here in this next week,” Taylor said. “We’ll get into Bismarck, hopefully have a good special session, and then after that, when the dust settles, we’ll have an announcement also.”
Republican Paul Sorum of Fargo is already in the governor’s race. He said he expected Dalrymple would run and it doesn’t change his strategy.
“I’m busy organizing my delegates for the convention, and they’re going to be there in force,” Sorum said. “From what I can see so far, I’m going to have more than enough delegates to get the (Republican) nomination, and it’s going to be difficult for him (Dalrymple).”
Sorum said there’s no plan or vision for financing and building infrastructure that the energy industry requires, students aren’t adequately prepared for college, and there’s no plan to solve the water and road issues statewide.
“There’s been a huge lack of leadership back quite a number of years, and Jack Dalrymple is directly responsible for that lack of leadership,” Sorum said. “I have a plan to make North Dakota the envy of the country, but we’re heading in the wrong direction.”
Republicans will decide at the state convention in late March who they want on the Republican ticket, Stein said.
“It is going to be a wild and wooly convention and a lot of fun,” he said.
The annual salary of the governor is $113,594.