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North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announces presidential bid

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum speaks as he kicks off his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination Wednesday in Fargo, N.D.
Mark Vancleave
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum speaks as he kicks off his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination Wednesday in Fargo, N.D.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is launching a presidential bid, joining a crowded Republican field in the race for the 2024 GOP nomination. Ahead of an announcement event in Fargo, N.D., the two-term governor called for a new type of leadership.

"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 in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday evening.

Burgum is a former tech CEO and businessman who first entered politics in 2016 when he launched his successful run for governor. He previously founded Great Plains Software, a technology company that Microsoft bought more than two decades ago for $1.1 billion in stock.

Like most of the announced Republican field, Burgum's poll numbers are eclipsed by former President Donald Trump, who currently polls ahead of the rest of the field by a wide margin.

The North Dakota governor will face off against a handful of current and former Republican governors gunning for the nomination, who descend from more politically influential states, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

That said, Burgum enters the race with a handful of recent legislative wins that align with the far-right conservative base he's looking to attract.

In April, he signed a near-total abortion ban that only allows for exceptions within the first six weeks of pregnancy. He also ushered through a series of bills that curb the rights of transgender people, including legislation that criminalizes gender-affirming care for children under 18 years old.

Burgum's wealth could also be a factor in his campaign. He has indicated he may partially self-finance his run, putting him in the same camp as businessman and primary opponent Vivek Ramaswamy, the only other major candidate to report self-contributions.

Both longshot candidates join a long line of affluent businessman-turned-politicians who have poured personal funds into their campaign bids — which have been largely unsuccessful in recent major elections.

And the GOP primary field is likely not done growing — a handful of Republican figurescontinue to weigh their options. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie jumped into the race Tuesday and Burgum shared the spotlight with former Vice President Mike Pence, who also announced Wednesday.

At the same time, the countdown to the first Republican primary debate slowly inches closer, with the first showdown set for August in Milwaukee.

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Elena Moore is a production assistant for the NPR Politics Podcast. She also fills in as a reporter for the NewsDesk. Moore previously worked as a production assistant for Morning Edition. During the 2020 presidential campaign, she worked for the Washington Desk as an editorial assistant, doing both research and reporting. Before coming to NPR, Moore worked at NBC News. She is a graduate of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is originally and proudly from Brooklyn, N.Y.