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North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announces he will not seek a third term

By Stew Davidson
January 23, 2024

North Dakota Republican Gov. Doug Burgum has made the decision not to run for a third term.

Burgum's decision comes after a noteworthy political career including a presidential bid and significant contributions to the state's governance, as reported by The Blaze.

Trump's hopes for Burgum in a potential new administration

Previously, Burgum embarked on presidential campaign in 2023 but withdrew before year's end.

His endorsement of former President Donald Trump has spurred conversations, especially with Trump recently expressing hope to involve Burgum in a future administration. Burgum, however, has clarified that his decision to not seek re-election is not influenced by these prospects.

Trump's dominance in the Republican political arena continues, as demonstrated by his recent triumph in the Iowa caucuses.

He is also expected to outperform Nikki Haley in Tuesday's New Hampshire GOP primary. This political landscape has also seen dramatic changes in recent days with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ending his campaign and endorsing Trump after finishing second in Iowa.

Burgum's legislative stance and response to health mandates

In 2021, Burgum made headlines by vetoing a bill aimed at preventing state officials from mandating face masks, a decision that was later overridden by state lawmakers.

He defended his stance by emphasizing the importance of retaining essential tools for managing future public health emergencies.

He said:

To strip future governors and their state health officers of any low-cost tool that might be used to save lives and livelihoods in a future pandemic or other emergency would be both irresponsible and an unnecessary risk to the future public health and well-being of North Dakota citizens.

Burgum's decision not to run again has set the stage for a new leadership race in Republican-dominated North Dakota, a state that hasn't seen a Democrat win a statewide election since 2012.

The leader's political journey has been marked by significant victories and initiatives aimed at transforming the state's governance.

Family and future aspirations influencing Burgum's decision

At the age of 67, Burgum, a successful software entrepreneur, has spoken about his family playing a role in his decision not to seek another term.

He expressed emotion while discussing his three adult children and hinted at potential opportunities in the private sector.

While keeping options open for future public service, Burgum has mentioned that his future decisions will be driven by the potential for impact, whether in the public or private sectors.

He acknowledged the speculative nature of a vice presidential or Cabinet role at this point.

Political dynamics and Burgum's influence in North Dakota

Former Gov. Ed Schafer weighed in on Burgum's departure, highlighting his potential return to the private sector and the uncertainty surrounding a position in a potential Trump administration.

Schafer also speculated on Burgum's fit for the U.S. Senate, acknowledging his operational expertise and potential influence on national public policy.

With Burgum stepping down, the political landscape in North Dakota is poised for a significant reshuffle.

Potential Republican gubernatorial candidates are now reassessing their positions, and the upcoming endorsement by the state's Republican Party is expected to be a pivotal moment.

Burgum's tenure: Challenges and achievements

Burgum's governance was marked by notable events including the Dakota Access oil pipeline protests and the management of the coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, Burgum championed significant projects like the Theodore Roosevelt presidential library and prioritized issues such as recovery from addiction.

His tenure also saw debates around tax policies and legislation affecting transgender individuals.

A look at Burgum's entrepreneurial and political background

Before his tenure as governor, Burgum was recognized for his achievements in the software industry, notably leading Great Plains Software to a successful acquisition by Microsoft.

His entrepreneurial spirit was evident in his substantial self-funding of his presidential campaign and his innovative approach to meeting debate stage requirements.

Burgum's dedication to the state of North Dakota remains evident as he is scheduled to deliver his State of the State address, continuing a tradition of engaging with different communities across the state each year.


  • Burgum's decision not to run for a third term opens the race for North Dakota's gubernatorial seat, with potential shifts in the state's political dynamics.
  • His endorsement of former President Trump and Trump's interest in involving Burgum in a potential new administration have sparked discussions, though Burgum asserts these are not connected to his decision.
  • Burgum's legislative stances, particularly on health mandates, demonstrate his concern for future public health strategies.
  • Family considerations and opportunities in the private sector are among the factors influencing Burgum's decision.
  • The upcoming Republican Party endorsement and primary elections in North Dakota are expected to be highly influential in determining the state's next governor.
  • Burgum's background as a software entrepreneur and his approach to governance have left a lasting imprint on North Dakota's political and economic landscape.