North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum took a step closer to entering the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, posting a video on YouTube on Monday touting his rise as a small town boy to a self-made software entrepreneur and successful governor who cut bureaucracy and taxes.
Although the video does not mention it, Burgum signed several new laws this year that restrict abortion rights and the rights of transgender people. A law prohibits schools and government agencies from requiring their employees to refer to transgender people by the pronouns they use. Another law – among the strictest in the country – prohibits abortions throughout pregnancy with only slim exceptions up to six weeks gestation.
Burgum is expected to announce his candidacy Wednesday at a noon event in Fargo, two GOP operatives with knowledge of Burgum’s plans told The Associated Press last month. The 66-year-old would enter an increasingly crowded field dominated by former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Former Vice President Mike Pence filed documents Monday declaring his campaign.
The 3.5-minute video, with jaw-dropping views of all of North Dakota, does not specifically mention the presidential race. But it’s titled “Ad Preview: Edit”. He promotes Burgum as “a new leader for a changing economy”. Without naming other candidates, he also subtly addresses the culture war issues that DeSantis has highlighted and the growing resentment of American politics, suggesting a contrast with Trump.
“I grew up in a small town in North Dakota,” Burgum said. “Waking up was what you did at 5 a.m. to start the day.”
Amid the bitter war of words between Trump and DeSantis, Burgum suggested in the video that he is offering an alternative to the uproar.
“Anger, shouting, internal quarrels, it will no longer be enough. Let’s get things done,” he said. “In North Dakota, we listen with respect and we talk about things. This is how we can get America back on track.
Burgum was first elected in 2016, reelected in 2020, and is eligible for governor again in 2024. In 1983 he founded Great Plains Software, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2011, and Burgum remained vice -president of Microsoft until 2007. He grew up in Arthur, a town in eastern North Dakota of about 300 people, 40 kilometers northwest of Fargo.
The GOP nominee is set to face Democratic President Joe Biden in November 2024.
Associated Press reporter Thomas Beaumont contributed to this story from Des Moines, Iowa.