December 5, 2023
In a surprising turn of events, North Dakota’s Republican governor and accomplished businessman, Doug Burgum, announced on Monday the suspension of his 2024 presidential campaign. The decision comes after facing persistent challenges in gaining name recognition among voters throughout his bid.
Burgum’s announcement follows his failure to meet the prerequisites for participating in the third GOP debate last month, and he appeared unlikely to meet the criteria for the upcoming debate scheduled for Wednesday. In a statement, Burgum pointed to the debate requirements set by the Republican National Committee (RNC) as a decisive factor in his decision to withdraw from the race.
“The RNC’s clubhouse debate requirements are nationalizing the primary process and taking the power of democracy away from the engaged, thoughtful citizens of Iowa and New Hampshire,” expressed Burgum in the statement. He continued, “The RNC’s mission is to win elections. It is not their mission to reduce competition and restrict fresh ideas by ‘narrowing the field’ months before the Iowa caucuses or the first in the nation New Hampshire primary.”
Burgum, who entered the race in June, recently acknowledged that had he been aware of the RNC’s debate thresholds, he might not have pursued the presidential bid. Speaking on a New Hampshire radio show last week, he emphasized the significant disparity in resources required for a national campaign compared to a state-level effort.
Despite successfully qualifying for the initial two GOP debates, Burgum fell short of meeting the RNC threshold for the third debate held in Miami, Florida, last month. Before serving as North Dakota governor from December 2016, Burgum had a prosperous business career, founding a software company that eventually sold to Microsoft for over $1 billion. Following the sale, he continued as “senior vice president of Microsoft’s Business Solutions Group” until 2007.
In 2008, “Burgum co-founded Arthur Ventures,” a venture capital firm focusing on investments in clean technology and life sciences. Notably, approximately 80% of Burgum’s campaign was self-funded, with Federal Election Commission filings revealing an investment of $12.2 million and a total raised amount of $15.1 million since declaring his candidacy.
In a unique campaign strategy, Burgum distributed $20 gift cards to individuals donating just $1 to his campaign, aiming to meet the 40,000 unique-donor threshold for the first Republican debate. According to a Forbes analysis, his net worth was estimated at around $100 million during this period.