A grey elephant standing on sand by Patrick Duvanel on Unsplash

June 7, 2023: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum entered the Republican race for president Wednesday, offering himself as a candidate of “small town values” who can help steer the country in a different direction. (NBC News)

“We need a leader who understands the real work that Americans do every day – someone who’s worked alongside our farmers or ranchers and our small-business owners,” Burgum said during his announcement speech in Fargo. “Someone who’s held jobs where you shower at the end of the day, not at the beginning.”

Burgum, 66, is the latest edition to a field that is expanding with GOP hopefuls eager to assert themselves as the most appealing alternative to the front-runner, former President Donald Trump…

…Burgum’s entry followed a Tuesday night launch in New Hampshire by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and came about an hour ahead of former Vice President Mike Pence’s expected campaign kickoff in Iowa….

…A former businessman who years ago turned a small software company into a $1.1 billion deal with Microsoft, Burgum begins as a long shot in a crowded primary. The Republican National Committee’s recently released criteria for qualifying for the first presidential debate in August include specific polling and fundraising thresholds that could be tough for someone so unknown outside North Dakota. One CNN poll last month placed Burgum, – who besides DeSantis is the only other sitting governor in the race, but one which a much lower profile – at 1% nationally.

In an interview last month with NBC News, the multimillionaire Burgum said he would invest his own money in the campaign, though he did not disclose how much he is willing to spend…

…Debate participants also will be required to pledge support to the GOP’s eventual nominee. Trump has not committed to doing so. And some of his opponents have said they do not plan to back the former president if he’s nominated for a third straight time.

Burgum told NBC News last month that he would support Trump or any Republican in a race against President Joe Biden…

July 9, 2023: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgrum has said he would vote for Donald Trump again for president, but he draws the line at ever conducting business with the man he’s running against for the Republican nomination. (NBC News)

Burgum, a former business owner who turned a small software company into a $1.1 billion deal with Microsoft, was asked whether he would do business with Trump by host Chuck Todd in an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I don’t think so,” Burgum responded. Asked why, he said, “I just think it’s important that you’re judged by the company you keep.”

One person Burgum said he’d be comfortable doing business with is Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of Twitter and Tesla.

Asked what the difference was between Musk and Trump, Burgum said: “Just look at business track records is what I would say, and that’s what I would take a peek at before I would make a decision about who you partner with.”…

…Burgum has focused his campaign more on policy issues than on the culture war topics favored by other candidates, like Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. He said on “Meet the Press” that that would remain his focus if he’s elected president…

July 12, 2023: Looking to make a splash in the crowded pool of Republican presidential contenders, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is offering an unusual deal to donors: Anyone who sends a donation of at least $1 will get a $20 gift card in return. (NPR)

The campaign’s offer is good for the first 50,000 donors – and is an unconventional bid to meet the fundraising thresholds required to be onstage for next month’s Republican primary debate.

In this case, it’s not the dollar amount of donations that matters; it’s the number of donors. To participate in the debate, candidates must have at least 40,000 donors. They also have to bring in donations from 200 or more donors in at least 20 states.

The rules create “some unusual incentives” for quickly building a wide donor base, Nick Bauroth, who chairs the political science department at North Dakota State University, told NPR.

“This offer could cost Bugrum up to a million dollars, but well worth it if he gets on the main stage,” at the debate, Bauroth added. Also worth remembering: Bugrum is a billionaire…

…Who is Burgum? He’s a former political outsider who surprised many in 2016 when he won the race to become his home state’s governor. That year, Burgum had placed third in the running for the Republican convention’s endorsement – but he won the party primary just two months later.

“In the past, the party endorsement decided the matter,” Bauroth said, but Burgum overturned that norm. He was reelected in 2020…

…Burgum announced his candidacy for U.S. president last month via a launch event in Fargo and an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal. He’s battling for attention against the likes of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump…

August 6, 2023: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, largely refused on Sunday to weigh in on the GOP front-runner Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 indictment. (ABC News)

But he acknowledged in an appearance of ABC’s “This Week” that “I believe that Joe Biden won the election,” marking the first time on the trail he has said that.

Following that declaration, Burgum told “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos: “I believe that we have to move on to the future.”

Stephanopoulos had been pressing Burgum for his view on Trump’s alleged conduct in challenging the 2020 results: “It’s not simply a legal question, sir. It’s a moral question. It’s an ethical question. It’s a question about civics.”

Early in Burgum’s appearance, Stephanopoulos said, “I know you want to talk about your campaign and the future, but the fact is that Donald Trump is the front-runner right now. He’s facing three felony indictments. Have you read the indictments, and what’s your reaction to them?”

The governor avoided commenting on if he had read Trump’s three felony indictments — all of which Trump denies — and his opinion on if Trump was wrong in pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence not to certify the election results on Jan. 6, 2021…

November 12, 2023: Long-shot Republican presidential candidate Doug Burgum, the governor of North Dakota, has vowed that he will not suspend his campaign before the New Hampshire primary after he failed to make the debate stage in Miami last week. (NBC News)

Burgum has stagnated in early-state polls in recent months and failed to qualify for the third GOP presidential primary debate, hosted by NBC News on Wednesday.

Asked by NBC News is he could guarantee his campaign would last at least through the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15, Burgum said Saturday after a campaign event here: “100%”.

“Iowa, New Hampshire – absolutely, positively, we’re going to be here,” Burgum added…

…Since he launched his bid in June, Burgum’s campaign has failed to jump-start despite having spent millions along with his super PAC, on television advertising.

The candidate’s personal wealth may be what’s still keeping his campaign alive. Former Vice President Mike Pence recently suspended his campaign over financial woes, but Burgum’s successful career as a tech mogul and businessman has allowed him to self-fund much of his long-shot bid…

…After not meeting the RNC’s qualifications to appear on Wednesday’s debate stage, Burgum has upped his criticism of the RNC for what he calls its “clubhouse rules.”

“The RNC has no charter to say we’re going to narrow the field artificially two months before the voting starts,” he said Saturday, adding that “two months is an eternity in presidential primaries.”

December 4, 2023: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum ended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday after a stronger-than-expected showing fueled by a gift card-for-campaign donation gimmick that helped him get on the debate stage. (The Guardian)

Burgum, a second-term governor and wealthy software entrepreneur, was little known nationally when he launched his 2024 presidential campaign in June, touting his priorities of energy, the economy and national security, as well as his small-town roots and leadership of the sparsely populated state.

He participated in the first two Republican debates, meeting donor requirements of the Republican National Committee by offering $20 “Biden Relief Cards” – a jab at rising inflation rates during President Joe Biden’s term – in exchange for $1 donation. The tactic drew skepticism over its legality, through Burgum’s campaign said its legal advisors had reviewed and approved the method.

He failed to qualify for the third debate, however, after coming up short on the polling requirements. And it appeared he would also not qualify for the fourth debate.

Indeed, he blamed the Republican National Committee, which sets qualifications for the debates, for “nationalizing the primary process and taking the power of democracy away from the engaged, thoughtful citizens of Iowa and New Hampshire.”…

…Ultimately, he was unable to gain much traction against his rivals in a contest dominated by Donald Trump. He joins Mike Pence, the former vice-president; Tim Scott; a South Carolina senator Larry Elder; the radio show host Perry Johnson; Will Hurd, former Texas congressman and Frances Suarez, the mayor of Miami, in suspending his bid…

Posted in 2024 Presidential Campaign