Former software executive and billionaire Republican North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgham announced Wednesday that he will weigh his economic achievements in the presidential race, becoming an increasingly crowded business and technology front-runner. It was decided to face the race that fits.
“If you want more small-town common sense in Washington and big cities, we’ll make it happen,” Bergum said at a rally in Fargo, North Dakota, adding, “We need governors and business leaders who understand this change. It is.” economic. I want to get your vote. ” He admitted he needed make-up to win the party’s presidential nomination, but said it had been previously underestimated.
The size of the field shows that the Republican front-runner, former President Donald J. Trump, is unafraid of many challengers. But he has yet to fully solidify his candidacy, and many rivals appear to be on the lookout for the nomination, even if it’s by a tight margin.
As leader of the Scarlet State, Mr. Bulgum has overseen a period of significant economic expansion, but has also subscribed to stubbornly conservative social policies, while downplaying his role in them.
This year, Mr. Burgham signed a law banning abortion almost entirely and placed significant restrictions on transsexual care, including prohibiting the requirement that teachers and school administrators use students’ preferred pronouns.
Such social policies largely avoided partisan appeals to conservatives and were nowhere to be found in launching a campaign focused on three issues: economy, energy and national security. Bergum may not seem natural as a politician, his eyes glued to the teleprompter and his workmanlike speech, but he’s one of the few Republican voters who want to see the Republican Party as low-tax, deregulatory, and entrepreneurial. We hope you want a solid technician to get you back to your roots.
Outside the converted Lutheran church where his gathering was held, a group of protesters seemed determined not to let him escape from the recent record. Cody J. Schuler, advocacy manager for the American Civil Liberties Union in North Dakota, acknowledged that as a business leader, Bergum embraces LGBTQ rights as good for all citizens and good for business.
But in signing the bill passed by the conservative North Dakota legislature, Schuler said the governor “gave the lives of the people of North Dakota for the president’s ambitions.”
Even Bergum’s most ardent supporters at the rally expressed doubt that the governor of a state of 775,000 people would be eligible to participate in the all-important preliminary debate. Currently, the terms require 40,000 unique donors and 1 percent in Republican national polls.
“He’ll have the resources to be competitive,” said Tony Guindberg, senior manager of the North Dakota utility and former state legislator. “The question is whether he can connect with the rest of the country. As a North Dakotan, it would be fun to see that.”
Bergum will join the incumbent governor Ron DeSantis, who has been in the national spotlight for his aggressively conservative social policy stance and his battles with major corporations such as Disney. It will be the second person to come.
But Bergum’s aides said he focused less on social issues and more on his business background and state finances, including cutting both local property taxes and state income taxes. They are planning an election campaign.
During the launch, he never mentioned transgender issues or abortion, presenting himself as a voice for unity, as “a smart guy who’s done a lot,” as he describes it in his campaign video.
“This country, built by neighbors helping neighbors, has become a country where neighbors fight their neighbors,” he said. “We all have to fight to unite our country.”
Despite his few appearances in the national media, Bergum was able to break through in debates over energy policy and was able to speak out on how to frame his proposal in contrast to that of his Republican rivals and President Biden. provided a window. In March, he told Fox News that the Biden administration’s economic plan “is disconnected from economics, disconnected from physics, disconnected from common sense.” He argued that Japan and other Asian countries are ripe markets for US energy exports.
His campaign’s confidence that he can rise from relative obscurity to a legitimate candidate stems from his own political career in North Dakota. When Bergum announced his candidacy for governor in 2016, he was a largely unknown outsider outside of Fargo and his main challenger, State Attorney General Wayne Stenejem, was a North Dakota Republican nominee. had support.
But with plenty of resources and a right-leaning campaign — Mr. Bergum endorsed Donald J. Trump as the presidential candidate in May 2016 — he went as far as to win by 20 percentage points and was voted by the Bismarck Tribune. The paper proclaimed that it had “upended the North Dakota Republican Party system.” ” Since then, he has not been seriously challenged in North Dakota.
“There is value in being undervalued all the time,” Bergum told the Fargo Forum. “It’s a competitive advantage.”
One of the few leading candidates not from the East Coast, with a deeply rooted rural Midwest background, Bergum is likely to focus most of his efforts on Iowa, which has a large farming community. Bergum grew up in Arthur, North Dakota. Arthur is a town of just 300 people, and his family owned a grain elevator that still dominates this small farming community.
Burgum got his start as a chimney sweep in Fargo out of a friend’s pickup truck while an undergraduate at North Dakota State University. His newfound business caught the attention of local newspapers, which published pictures of a sooty Mr. Bulgham in a tuxedo, hopping from roof to roof, earning about $40 per chimney.
Burgham attached the newspaper clipping to his business school application and was immediately enrolled at Stanford Business School. After earning his MBA from Stanford University, Mr. Burgham joined Great Plains Software, a Fargo company that specializes in accounting software, and was quickly promoted to CEO.
Far from Silicon Valley’s more fertile tech hub, Bergum built Great Plains Software into a major industry player, eventually selling it to Microsoft for $1.1 billion. He then served as Senior Vice President of Microsoft until 2007.
Bergum is worth nine figures, certainly enough to fund an early presidential campaign, and aides hope his business network will also help him attract big donors. there is But at the start of the campaign, no super PAC or outside group has emerged to support Bergum’s candidacy.