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ND Gov to Announce Presidential Run    05/27 08:03

   North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is expected to announce his candidacy for the 
2024 Republican presidential nomination, two GOP operatives told The Associated 
Press on Friday, putting him in an already crowded field dominated by 
ex-President Donald Trump.

   (AP) -- North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is expected to announce his candidacy 
for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, two GOP operatives told The 
Associated Press on Friday, putting him in an already crowded field dominated 
by ex-President Donald Trump.

   The Republicans, who had knowledge of Burgum's plans, said he is expected to 
announce his candidacy on June 7 at a midday event in Fargo, Burgum's home 
town. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the event had not been 
publicized yet.

   The 66-year-old Burgum, a former computer software entrepreneur, would be 
jumping into a field that includes fellow Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of 
Florida, seen by some Republicans as the strongest alternative to Trump. Other 
candidates include former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim 
Scott, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and biotech entrepreneur Vivek 
Ramaswamy. Former Vice President Mike Pence is also considered a likely 
presidential candidate but has not yet announced a bid.

   The eventual GOP nominee is expected to face Democratic President Joe Biden 
in November 2024.

   While Burgum has joined other Republican governors in signing legislation 
rolling back transgender rights, he's expected to emphasize his business 
background, small-town roots and a large state tax cut this year. Burgum, first 
elected in 2016, was reelected in 2020 and is eligible to run for governor 
again in 2024.

   In Iowa, where caucuses are expected to be the first-in-the-nation GOP 
contest, Republican Bruce Rastetter, a wealthy agricultural and energy 
businessman who met Burgum three years ago, described the North Dakota governor 
as "a successful guy" and "really smart." But Rastetter, who has been an 
influential donor and adviser to presidential campaigns in Iowa, said Burgum's 
strength also comes from presenting as "a regular guy."

   "He's stayed a regular guy, but really understands issues on ag, energy and 
foreign policy," said Rastetter, who is helping Burgum make introductions in 
Iowa, but is so far neutral in the developing 2024 Iowa caucus campaign.

   Trump's campaign called Burgum's expected announcement "an indictment of 
DeSantis' disastrous announcement and his dismal poll numbers." The audio 
stream crashed repeatedly on Wednesday night during DeSantis' formal campaign 
launch, an online conversation with Twitter CEO Elon Musk.

   "There's blood in the water, and every candidates sees how weak he is," the 
Trump campaign said in a statement texted to The AP.

   DeSantis' campaign did not respond immediately to an email seeking comment 
about Burgum, but his campaign said it had raised $8.2 million in the first 24 
hourts after the announcement.

   The company Burgum started in 1983, Great Plains Software, was acquired by 
Microsoft in 2011, and Burgum stayed on as a Microsoft vice president until 
2007. He also founded real estate development and venture capital firms.

   He grew up in Arthur, an eastern North Dakota town of about 300 people, 25 
miles (40 kilometers) northwest of Fargo.

   Burgum this year signed legislation that reduced state income taxes and 
provided local property tax relief, with the savings estimated at $515 million. 
His office touted the income tax cut as the largest in state history.

   But with DeSantis building a national profile for anti-LGBTQ+ measures and 
describing his state of Florida as where "woke goes to die," culture war issues 
dominated legislating this year in North Dakota and other states controlled by 

   The measures signed this year by Burgum prohibit public schools and 
government entities from requiring teachers and employees to refer to 
transgender people by the pronouns they use; bar transgender girls and women 
from joining female sports teams, from K-12 through college; and criminalize 
health care providers who give gender-affirming care to minors. A new law also 
limits transgender children and adults in accessing the bathrooms, locker rooms 
and showers of their choice, from schools to state-run colleges and 
correctional facilities.

   North Dakota also has one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the nation 
after Burgum last month signed a ban on abortion throughout pregnancy with slim 
exceptions up to six weeks' gestation.

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