Six months after launching a dark-horse bid for the 2024 Republican presidential campaign, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is suspending his White House bid.
In a statement and video released Monday morning, Burgum emphasized that he and his wife ‘are deeply grateful for each and every person who supported us with their ideas, prayers, advocacy, encouragement and enthusiasm. Kathryn and I will always remain committed to fighting for the people who make our nation so exceptional.’
The North Dakota governor becomes the latest White House hopeful call it quits, as the GOP field of contenders has rapidly shrunk after topping out at over a dozen candidates during the summer.
Burgum, a multi-millionaire former software company CEO turned two-term North Dakota governor, took aim at the Republican National Committee as he dropped out of the race.
After making the stage at the first two GOP presidential debates, Burgum failed to qualify for the third showdown, and was unlikely to reach the increasing higher thresholds mandated by the RNC to make the stage at this week’s fourth debate.
The RNC is expected on Monday evening to announce which candidates qualified for the fourth debate.
‘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,’ Burgum charged in his statement, as he pointed to the first two states to vote in the GOP presidential nominating calendar.
‘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. These arbitrary criteria ensure advantages for candidates from major media markets on the coasts versus America’s Heartland,’ he argued. ‘None of their debate criteria relate to the qualifications related to actually doing the job of the president. This effort to nationalize the primary system is unhealthy for the future of the party, especially for a party that proclaims to value leadership from outside of Washington.’
Burgum poured millions of his own money into his White House bid. That included offering $20 gift cards to people who donated at least a dollar to his campaign. The gimmick helped the candidate make the stage at the first debate, a Fox News-hosted showdown in August in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
But Burgum’s two debate appearances, including a fesity performance at the second showdown, a Fox Business co-hosted event at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California in late September, did little to boost his campaign.
Burgum – little known outside of North Dakota – was unable to see his poll numbers rise above the single digits as he struggled to compete against rivals with much higher national name recognition.
After failing to make the stage in the third debate, Burgum pledged to stay in the race through the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses and Jan. 23 New Hampshire primary. Burgum had campaign heavily in the two states, which kick off the GOP presidential nominating calendar.
‘We’re going through all the effort to get our name on all 50 state ballots,’ he said last month. ‘Iowa, New Hampshire, absolutely positively. We’re going to be here. We’re going to be campaigning in Iowa, we’re going to be campaigning in New Hampshire.’
In ending his bid, Burgum emphasized that ‘while this primary process has shaken my trust in many media organizations and political party institutions, it has only strengthened my trust in America.’
Burgum centered his campaign on the economy, energy and national security, and repeatedly warned that China was the ‘number one threat’ to the U.S.
‘We’re running because we want to unleash the American economy and we want to improve every American life and the way we do that, of course, is to get our economy really rolling. To get our economy really rolling we’ve got to make sure we’ve got to make sure we’ve got an energy policy that’s 180 degrees different than the one we have under the Biden administration. When we fix energy policy, then we have an opportunity to really stabilize the world,’ he emphasized in a Fox News Digital interview as he announced his candidacy.
On Monday, Burgum argued that ‘just six months after our campaign launch, we’ve elevated the importance of an intelligent energy policy that grows jobs and our economy, reduces inflation, is good for the environment and – unlike Joe Biden’s fantasy green energy plan – stops enabling and empowering our adversaries, specifically China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela and North Korea.’
Burgum also spotlighted his small-town North Dakota roots and his success in the private sector as central themes in his White House bid.
But unlike some of his rivals, Burgum mostly avoided any direct criticism of former President Donald Trump, who remains the commanding front-runner for the GOP nomination as he makes his third straight White House run.
Burgum ruptured his Achilles tendon the day before the first debate – while playing a game a pickup basketball with his staff. He was able to appear at the debate the next night, and going forward used a scooter to get around on the campaign trail as he recovered from the injury.
The North Dakota governor becomes the latest Republican to drop out of the increasingly slimmed down field of presidential contenders.
Former Vice President Mike Pence – who make the stage at the first two debates – suspended his presidential campaign on Oct. 28, during his address to the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership summit in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina ended his bid last month, after appearing in the third debate.
Four lesser known candidates who all failed to qualify for the debates had already suspended their campaigns.
There are former CIA spy and former Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami, Florida, business leader and quality control expert Perry Johnson, and 2021 California gubernatorial recall election candidate and former conservative talk radio host Larry Elder.
Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations in the Trump administration, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie remain in the hunt for the GOP nomination race.
Even though he’s failed to make the stage since the first debate in August, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson also remains in the Republican race.
Sources told Fox News that senior campaign staff found out over this past weekend of Burgum’s intentions to end bid, with the rest of the staff being informed Monday morning.
Burgum has until next summer to decide if he intends to run for a third four-year term as North Dakota governor.