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Deep-pocketed, Burgum enters presidential race as ‘small-town values’ candidate

Doug Burgum, governor of North Dakota, leads the nation’s fourth least-populated state.

Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota. Credit: Office of the Governor, State of North Dakota via Wikimedia Commons.

It’s time for the country to have a leader who has “held jobs where you shower at the end of the day, not at the beginning,” said two-term Republican North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, 66, in announcing his candidacy for president on June 7.

At an event in Fargo, Burgum discussed growing up in a town of just 300. He defined himself as the presidential race’s “small-town values” candidate.

“It shouldn’t be a surprise that small-town values have guided me my entire life. Small-town values are at the core of America, and frankly, big cities could use more ideas and more values from small towns right now,” he said.

America needs a leader who is focused on the economy, energy and national security, he said. “That is why today I’m officially announcing I’m running for the president of the United States of America.”

‘Small-town boy turned self-made’

The native of Arthur, N.D., invested in Great Plains Software when it was a startup in 1983. He led the company and sold it to Microsoft for $1.1 billion in 2001. He also reportedly invested in another company that sold for $3.4 billion in 2012.

Some news reports call Burgum a billionaire, although the governor has said that he is “not even close.”

A campaign video describes Burgum as a “small-town boy turned self-made, world-class business leader.” 

“I grew up in a tiny town in North Dakota,” he said. “Woke was what you did at 5 a.m. to start the day.”

As governor, Burgum has transformed North Dakota’s budget deficit into a surplus, creating a balanced budget each year, per the video. He advocates shrinking the federal government and returning power to the states.

Five years ago, Burgum said on Israel’s 70th anniversary that the Jewish state is “a tremendous ally,” both for the country and for North Dakota, in particular.

After meeting with Burgum last year, Yinam Cohen, consul general of Israel to the Midwest, tweeted about meeting Fargo’s Jewish community.

North Dakota is the country’s happiest state and “very innovation-oriented,” he wrote. “I was honored to discuss with Governor Doug Burgum, and with many elected officials, opportunities to build new partnerships with the Start-Up Nation.”

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