North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on Wednesday announced he will seek the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
“To unlock the best of America, we need a leader who’s clearly focused on three things: economy, energy and national security,” Burgum said during a speech in Fargo, North Dakota. “And that is why today I’m officially announcing I’m running for the president of the United States of America.”
The North Dakota governor, who filed the paperwork to run earlier Wednesday, enters the GOP primary with considerably less national name recognition than others vying to take on President Joe Biden. Former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and talk radio host Larry Elder are already in the race.
Burgum told a North Dakota newspaper last month that there was a hunger for candidates not seen as extremists.
“All the engagement right now is occurring on the edge,” he told The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. “There’s definitely a yearning for some alternatives right now.”
He also told the newspaper he sees value in being underestimated, calling it a “competitive advantage.”
Burgum has a conservative track record as governor, signing a bill this year that bans gender-affirming care for most minors and enacting a near total-ban on abortions in the state. He set a goal in 2021 for North Dakota to be “carbon-neutral” by 2030 and discussed opportunities for meeting the nation’s energy needs in a sustainable way with U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.
The former Microsoft executive is currently serving his second term as North Dakota governor.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday, he touted his executive experience as key to his bid.
“This year we achieved pension reform, helped pass term limits, and enacted the biggest tax cut in state history,” he wrote. “I can do the same for America. The U.S. has the hardest-working people in the world. But we need new leadership to unleash our potential.”
He was first elected in 2016, when he upset a candidate endorsed by the state GOP in the primary and then easily won the general election with nearly 77 percent of the vote. He was reelected in 2020 with nearly 66 percent of the vote in the deep-red state where Democrats have not won a gubernatorial election since 1988.
Before taking on the governorship, Burgum led the company Great Plains Software, which was later acquired by Microsoft, where he then worked as a senior vice president. He went on to found real estate development firm Kilbourne Group and co-found the venture capital firm Arthur Ventures.
A native of Arthur, North Dakota, near Fargo, Burgum received a bachelor’s degree in university studies from North Dakota State University and an MBA from Stanford.
This story has been updated with additional reporting.