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North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum Jumps Into Republican Presidential Race

North Dakota Republican Gov. Doug Burgum announced he’s running for president in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Tuesday.

The two-term governor and businessman enters the growing Republican primary field, where he will try to distinguish himself as a responsible fiscal conservative, according to his announcement in the WSJ, which stressed his record as governor balancing North Dakota’s budget. Burgum reserved particularly harsh criticism for President Joe Biden on his economic record, and vowed to make the economy a focal point of his campaign.

“We need a change in the White House. We need a new leader for a changing economy. That’s why I’m announcing my run for president today,” Burgum wrote. “The economy must be our top priority. We need to get inflation under control, cut taxes, lower gas prices and reduce the cost of living.”

https://twitter.com/DougBurgum/status/1665739410900434951?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener
Burgum inherited his family farm and mortgaged it to invest in his technology firm Great Plains Software, which he sold to Microsoft in 2001 for $1.1 billion. He then served as Microsoft’s senior vice president until 2007, founded real estate development company the Kilbourne Group in 2006 and co-founded software investment firm Arthur Ventures in 2008.

The governor had no previous political experience before running for governor in 2016, where he challenged the then-state Attorney General and former state legislator Wayne Stenehjem, who he beat for the Republican nomination by roughly 20 points, according to Ballotpedia. He overwhelmingly won both terms, beating his Democratic challengers in 2016 and 2020 by roughly 60 points and 40 points, respectively.

“When we jumped into the race in North Dakota, we were down in the poll 69% to 10%, and people literally said, ‘you can’t win, it’s less than six months into the primary in June.’ There was an established leader with 100% name recognition, and we said ‘okay, well, we’re just gonna do our thing, and we’ll see how it turns out, and of course we ended up winning the primary by 60% to 40% in a race that people six months earlier said we couldn’t win,” Burgum previously told the DCNF in an interview. “We’re undaunted by the idea that we’ve got low name recognition.”

Burgum has maintained high approval ratings throughout his governorship, entering his first and second terms with 69% and 58% support, respectively, and was ranked the fourth-most popular governor in the country in 2022, according to Morning Consult.

The governor joins a crowded GOP primary field chock-full of Republican heavyweights like former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and conservative radio personality Larry Elder.

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Mary Lou Masters

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Mary Lou Masters

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