By Nathan Layne
(Reuters) – North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum plans to run in the 2024 presidential race, joining a growing number of candidates hoping to unseat Donald Trump and secure the Republican nomination, a person says familiar with his plans.
Burgum, who is serving his second term as a top official in the sparsely populated state, is expected to kick off his campaign with an announcement on June 7 in Fargo, the state capital, the person said. The governor’s office declined to comment.
Burgum, 66, built a successful software company before selling it to Microsoft Corp in 2001. A proponent of low taxes and fewer regulations, he will likely seek to portray himself as a traditional conservative who will focus on the economy and national security, the person familiar with his plans said.
Jeanette Hoffman, a Republican political consultant, described Burgum as a long shot for the nomination but said he had a compelling personal story and represented a firm hand that could appeal to those tired of Trump’s mayhem.
“Right now, GOP primary voters are like ‘who? ‘” she said. “But it could be an open field and it has a story to tell.”
A growing number of Republicans are vying for the chance to face President Joe Biden, who is expected to win the Democratic nomination for a second term but is seen as vulnerable amid economic headwinds and low approval ratings.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted May 9-15 showed Trump supported by 49% of Republicans, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in a distant second at 19%. They were followed by former Vice President Mike Pence at 5% and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley at 4%, according to the poll.
Burgum easily won re-election in 2020 with more than two-thirds of the vote. Last month, he signed one of the toughest anti-abortion laws in the country, joining a conservative push to limit access to the procedure in many states. He also enacted the largest income tax cut in state history.
(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut, and Jason Lange in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler)