FARGO, N.D. – EXCLUSIVE – Former software company CEO turned two-term North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is described as a “small town boy turned self-made, world-class business leader” and “a new leader for a changing economy” in a video released ahead of his expected Republican presidential campaign launch this week.
“Anger, yelling, infighting, that’s not going to cut it anymore,” Burgum says as he points to the political dysfunction in the nation’s capital.
“Let’s get things done. In North Dakota, we listen with respect, and we talk things out. That’s how we can get America back on track. It will work,” the governor emphasizes in the video, which was shared first with Fox News on Monday.
Burgum is expected to declare his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination with a major announcement in Fargo, North Dakota planned for Wednesday, sources familiar with his plans confirmed last week.
And Fox News has learned that Burgum will visit Iowa on Thursday and Friday (June 8-9), with stops in New Hampshire Saturday and Sunday (June 10-11). The two states for half a century have led off the GOP presidential nominating calendar.
“We need new leadership for our changing economy, innovation over regulation, instead of shutting down American oil and gas, we should unleash energy production and start selling energy to our allies instead of buying it from our enemies,” Burgum proposes in his video.
And he touts that “as governor we cut red tape and took North Dakota from billions in the hole to a surplus. We balanced the budget ever year and we did it all while passing the largest tax cuts in North Dakota history.”
Burgum points out that the “states created the federal government, not the other way around. Let’s shrink the federal government and return power to the states.”
The video, full of pictures of North Dakota’s stunning landscape, spotlights Burgum’s small town upbringing.
“My dad died when I was 14. Freshman year of high school. They pulled me off our basketball team bus and told me the news, “he recalls. “I grew up in a tiny town in North Dakota. Woke was what you did at 5am to start the day. A place where neighbors rally around you. My mom was our rock. Our hero.”
And he highlights that “I started a shoe-shine business, worked at the grain elevator, and as a chimney sweep, paid my way through college and then earned an MBA at Stanford.”
Burgum steered his one-time small business, Great Plains Software, into a $1 billion software company. His business — and its North Dakota-based workers — were eventually acquired by Microsoft, and Burgum stayed on board as a senior vice president.
“I ignored those who said North Dakota was too small, too cold, and too remote to build a world-class software company, so I literally bet the farm to help build a tiny start-up into a billionaire dollar company with customers in 132 countries,” he says in his video.
In 2016, the then first-time candidate and long shot convincingly topped a favored GOP establishment contender to secure the Republican nomination in North Dakota before going on to a landslide victory in the gubernatorial general election in the solidly red state. Burgum was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2020 to a second term as governor.
The governor, who is not known well outside of North Dakota, would be considered a dark-horse contender in a field of actual and expected 2024 GOP presidential candidates with much higher name identification, including the current clear front-runner former President Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.
But Burgum would enter the 2024 presidential race as one of the wealthiest members of the Republican field along with multi-millionaire entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former President Donald Trump.
Burgum’s campaign style video suggests that he’ll focus his expected presidential campaign on two issues — the economy and energy. However, Burgum, who served as chair of the Western Governors Association, could also point to his recent moves as governor to sign into law a strict measure that bans abortions six weeks after gestation with limited exceptions, as well as legislation to restrict transgender rights and a bill making gender-affirming care for minors in the state a criminal offense.