Interview: Shane Goettle Talks Oil Patch Turnout In 2012 And Beyond

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Former US House candidate Shane Goettle spoke with me last week about voter turnout in the oil patch. Goettle was the manager of the Brighter Future Alliance which worked to get out the vote in western North Dakota.

I had written previously that turnout in oil patch counties wasn’t very good. Voting in oil counties was about 48% of the increase in overall voting, but it just wasn’t that big of a total increase. There were just 2884 more votes from oil-producing counties (all of which, with the exception of Mountrail County, skew heavily Republican) in 2012 as compared to 2008. But Goettle says if you look at absentee voting, the oil patch voters did turn out.

My thought, leading up to the 2012 election, was that the growth in western North Dakota (historically much more conservative than eastern ND) would fundamentally change the political dynamics in the state. So much so that the normally “do or die” vote in the Red River Valley wouldn’t be quite so do or die. That didn’t happen in 2012, at least for Senate candidate Rick Berg, who couldn’t get enough votes in the west to offset his big deficits in the east.

But Goettle said that the oil patch vote may still bring a shift to the state. As more workers move here and put down roots, they may become more interested in voting. Whether or not that will help Republicans keep their hold on the state government, or weaken it, remains to be seen.

I also asked Goettle if he planned to run for public office again after his run for the House this last cycle. He said he has his eye on elected office in North Dakota but for now he’s focused on his private sector business.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • OldConserv2011

    If Shane does decide to run for office again, whether the House, Senate, or even Governor, he’s going to have to do a lot to convince me that he shares my conservative principles.

    His long time association with John Hoeven and as a solid NDGOP insider is going to make that task very difficult. Hoeven is only slightly more conservative than left leaning Republicans like Olympia Snow and Susan Collins. And state party leadership (especially more recent leadership) is ideologically indiscernible from ND Democrats.

    That’s why I didn’t support his run this year. Perhaps to be successful, he needs to separate himself from the NDGOP for a while.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I spoke with Shane – who is a very nice, open and accommodating guy – during his House campaign about those concerns. I told him that a big reason why i couldn’t support him was because of his association with some of Hoeven’s policies.

      He told me not to necessarily judge him by the policies he was tasked with supporting as someone else’s employee. That’s fair to a point, but I really think he needs to establish an independent record that reflects his own philosophies.

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