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North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum expected to launch presidential campaign

A spokesman for Burgum confirmed a Wall Street Journal report that the governor is poised to make a "major announcement" on June 7 in Fargo.

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Doug Burgum speaks at a news conference following his announcement of his candidacy for North Dakota governor on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, at The Stage in Island Park, Fargo. Burgum on June 7, 2023, is expected to announce his presidential run in 2024.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

MINOT, N.D. โ€” After weeks of flirting with a decision about running for president, it appears as though Gov. Doug Burgum has finally made one.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Burgum is poised to make a "major announcement" on June 7 in Fargo.

I confirmed this with Burgum spokesman Dawson Schefter. He didn't say what the announcement would be โ€” they're still playing coy โ€” but did say the Journal report is accurate about the timing of an announcement. He provided further details indicating the announcement will be at the Sanctuary Events Center in Fargo.

That Journal report is juxtaposed this morning with a lengthy profile of Burgum from NBC News in which he contrasts himself with frontrunners Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump, albeit without criticizing either directly.

"Though he sidestepped questions about his would-be rivals, he made clear his message would differ from theirs and that he sees a path for himself by focusing less on culture war grievances and more on the economy, energy policy and national security," NBC News reports.

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โ€œEverything else,โ€ Burgum told NBC, โ€œgets better if we solve those problems.โ€

The Burgum-for-president story has evoked some jeers and cynicism in certain quarters. Pundits on Twitter and elsewhere where have been dismissive, and that's understandable. Outside of North Dakota, Burgum's name recognition is the next best thing to zero. Voters, and in particular the national Republican voters who will be deciding this primary, just don't know him.

This is how an NBC News reporter pitched his outlet's story on Twitter:

Suffice it to say, there's a lot of skepticism.

Burgum can change some of that through marketing, but even then, is his message appealing? As we can see, Burgum is contrasting himself with the rest of the field with a back-to-basics message about traditional issue areas that aren't, say, feuding with Disney or an obsession with false claims about the outcome of the 2020 election.

That's a breath of fresh air for those who yearn to move on from the culture wars, but is it a message that will resonate with voters? The Republican voting base that will show up to decide the state-by-state candidate selection process Burgum is entering?

Is there a thirst in the Republican base for a shift in focus away from the outrage-of-the-day stuff we get from social media and cable news?

Burgum is betting that it is.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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