North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has suspended his longshot bid for the presidency, having generated little traction with GOP voters since throwing his hat in the ring this summer.
“We launched our campaign for President on June 7 clear-eyed about our mission: bring a business leader and proven governor’s voice to the fight for the best of America,” Burgum, 67, said in an announcement on Monday. “We are a nation built on freedom, liberty, and personal responsibility. A nation where neighbors help neighbors, and where innovation, not regulation, lifts us all to reach our highest potential.”
Burgum’s decision to run “came from a place of caring deeply about every American and a mission to re-establish trust in America’s leadership and our institutions of democracy,” the announcement stated, adding, “While this primary process has shaken my trust in many media organizations and political party institutions, it has only strengthened my trust in America.”
Monday’s announcement railed against the RNC’s “clubhouse debate requirements,” which Burgum argued are “nationalizing the primary process and taking the power of democracy away from the engaged, thoughtful citizens of Iowa and New Hampshire.”
“The RNC’s mission is to win elections,” Burgum’s statement went on. “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. These arbitrary criteria ensure advantages for candidates from major media markets on the coasts versus America’s Heartland.”
Burgum claimed that “[n]one of [the RNC’s] debate criteria relate to the qualifications related to actually doing the job of the president,” slamming the existing primary system as “unhealthy for the future of the party, especially for a party that proclaims to value leadership from outside of Washington.”
Burgum, whose software company was acquired by Microsoft in 2001 for $1.1 billion, self-funded his run, positioning himself as an experienced job creator. However, his pitch largely fell flat with the public, racking up anemic single-digit poll numbers among a crowded field. (He did receive $1,000 and a plug on social media from actor and North Dakota native Josh Duhamel.)
To amass the 40,000 individual donors needed to qualify for the first Republican debate in August, Burgum offered $20 gift cards to anyone who gave at least $1 to his campaign. He tore his Achilles tendon in a pickup basketball game the day before the debate, but still participated on crutches and wearing a therapeutic boot.
"It's not Dancing with the Stars," Burgum said at the time.
At the second debate, Burgum was largely ignored by the moderators, who threatened to cut his microphone for incessantly speaking out of turn.
Burgum subsequently failed to qualify for the third debate, even offering $20 gas cards to donors, and was also boxed out of the fourth.
Throughout his bid for the GOP nomination, Burgum was loath to criticize former President Donald Trump, but also said he was not interested in being Trump’s running mate or taking a job in a Trump cabinet.
In a statement issued following Burgum’s announcement, DNC spokesperson Sarafina Chitika said, “Today, millions of Americans are reacting to Doug Burgum’s drop out with a resounding, ‘who is that?’ It turns out that buying your way onto the debate stage to tout an extreme anti-abortion agenda can only barely bring you to the cusp of relevance. We thank Doug for doing his part to light millions of GOP dollars on fire to burn into voters minds just how extreme today’s Republican Party is.”