Ryan Taylor considering run for ag commissionerA cattle rancher and former state senator who made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2012 is considering a run for state agriculture commissioner, a job currently held by a Republican who faces a challenge for the GOP endorsement.
By: Mike Nowatzki, Agweek
BISMARCK, N.D. — A cattle rancher and former state senator who made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2012 is considering a run for state agriculture commissioner, a job currently held by a Republican who faces a challenge for the GOP endorsement.
Democrat Ryan Taylor of Towner, N.D., said in December that he wouldn’t be seeking statewide office this year, but he said Feb. 18 he’s “definitely” mulling a run for agriculture commissioner.
“We’ve obviously had a lot of people encourage me to make the run,” he says.
Taylor says the encouragement has escalated since Republican Judy Estenson of Warwick announced Feb. 4 that she plans to challenge current Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring for the GOP endorsement at the party’s state convention April 4 to 6 in Minot.
The North Dakota Farm Bureau also came out in support of Estenson at that time, saying it had lost confidence in Goehring, in part because of policy differences and complaints about what Goehring has acknowledged were “politically incorrect” actions and statements toward female staffers.
But Taylor says the GOP upheaval wasn’t his primary reason for reconsidering a run for office.
“If I make the decision, it’s always going to be about North Dakota and the issues,” he says.
He says his main concern is how the agriculture commissioner is representing farmers on the three-member Industrial Commission, which also includes the governor and attorney general.
“You continue to see the Industrial Commission’s management of the oil boom and kind of wonder where is agriculture’s voice?” he says.
A fourth-generation rancher, Taylor was first elected to the state Senate in 2002. He served until 2012, when he lost the gubernatorial race to Gov. Jack Dalrymple, receiving 34.3 percent of the vote.
Taylor, 43, currently is in the middle of a two-year Bush Fellowship that began last May, but he says he would be able to take a leave of absence from the fellowship to run for office.
He says he expects to make his decision within the next few weeks, before the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party’s state convention on March 28 to 30 in Fargo.
Taylor and his wife, Nikki, have three children ages 9, 7 and 5. The family runs a cow-calf operation near Towner.