North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced the end of his GOP presidential campaign Monday, after failing to gain any traction in the race.
Burgum was a longer-than-long shot to begin with. Few people had ever heard of the governor and ex-software executive before he entered the primary, which he said was to bring attention to energy issues and the economy as the leader of one of the country’s biggest energy-producing states.
Burgum qualified for two GOP debates — and that was only after he launched a gimmicky fundraising scheme designed to boost his small-dollar donors by offering to match their $1 donations with $20 gift cards. And while on stage, he struggled for speaking time against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
Burgum barely registered in polls or made much of a ripple in the race, which is dominated by former President Donald Trump. He hovered at around 1% in national surveys throughout his campaign, which launched in June.
Burgum did, however, manage to spend liberally from his own personal fortune, lending his campaign more than $12 million, as of the last campaign finance quarter.
Burgum’s candidacy ended up being less about his message than about the power of personal wealth to sustain a long-shot candidate in a national race. The governor only managed to raise $3 million from donors with the help of his gift card gimmick, which by itself isn’t nearly enough to run a competitive multistate campaign.
It’s not clear yet what Burgum’s political future might hold. After a successful career as a software executive who sold his company to Microsoft for $1.1 billion, Burgum won a come-from-behind race for North Dakota governor in 2016, and easily won reelection in 2020. But North Dakota law prevents him from seeking the office a third time.