(WASHINGTON) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on Wednesday is expected to jump into the 2024 presidential race — becoming the 12th Republican candidate on the list, with a pitch to voters focused on lessons he learned out West.
Burgum, a former software CEO elected in 2016, teased his announcement with a video released on Monday. He’s set to make it official during remarks from Fargo on Wednesday morning.
Titled “Change,” Burgum’s teaser video shows him tracing his biographical roots: “I started a shoeshine business, worked at the grain elevator and as the chimney sweep, paid my way through college then earned an MBA from Stanford. I ignored those who said North Dakota was too small, too cold and too remote to build a world-class software company.”
A native of Arthur, North Dakota, Burgum founded Great Plains Software in 1983 and it was ultimately acquired by Microsoft in 2001; Burgum remained active in the company until 2007.
“I literally bet the farm to help build a tiny startup into a billion-dollar company with customers in 132 countries,” he said in his teaser video, describing himself as “a new leader for a changing economy.”
Following Great Plains Software, Burgum went on to start the Kibourne Group, focused on real estate development, in 2006. He co-founded Arthurs Ventures, an investment firm, in 2008.
As a politician, Burgum successfully ran against the Republican Party’s preferred candidate in the 2016 gubernatorial primary and overwhelmingly won reelection in 2020.
Still, he has acknowledged how his small-state background complicates his path on the national stage even though “there’s a value to being underestimated all the time,” he told The Forum newspaper in May.
At the time, he appealed to what he called the “silent majority” in the country who don’t sit on the extremes of any issue.
He seems set to approach the crowded GOP field, which includes former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and others, as a small-town conservative focused on issues such as jobs, the economy and national security, while shrinking the government.
“Today, America is facing new challenges and how we respond will define our future,” he said in his teaser video. “We need new leadership for our changing economy. Innovation over regulation. Instead of shutting down American oil and gas, we should unleash energy production and start selling energy to our allies instead of buying it from our enemies. High taxes, red tape and inflation are choking every American.”
Burgum also invoked the power, he said, of a more moderate tone.
“In North Dakota, we’ve listened with respect and we talk things out,” he said in his video. “That’s how we can get America back on track. It worked in that tiny town where I grew up.”
After announcing his campaign, Burgum is anticipated to travel to Iowa and New Hampshire, which will hold Republicans’ first two nominating contests early next year.
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