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Gov. Burgum contributed nearly $2.5M for this election cycle

Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 6:20 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The Dakota Leadership PAC has received millions of dollars to distribute to Republican candidates this election cycle, creating some divisions within the party during the primary.

While contributing money to campaigns is nothing new in North Dakota, large contributions to political action committees are fairly unprecedented.

Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., contributed nearly $1.9 million in the primary election to the PAC he supported and has given a half a million more since then, totaling nearly $2.5 million gifted to the PAC.

Out of all the donors this election cycle, only 10 out of the 26 contributions of $500 or more came from within the state, the other 16 came from other states like California, where five people contributed nearly $53,000.

Recent attempts to get comments from Burgum following COVID-19 press conferences were declined, but back in June, ahead of the primary election, he had said this about PAC contributions: “the idea that this is something that doesn’t happen and is really unusual, again there’s no basis or fact for the claim. Look at politics in America in the last, since let’s say its founding and this would just fit right into that.”

In some races, the contributions helped advance candidates with two District 8 newcomers receiving PAC money endorsed by the governor’s PAC.

This helped secure their win over 25-year incumbent Jeff Delzer in the primary election.

In other races, like the contest between three Republican candidates for two seats in District 28, it didn’t.

Jim Grueneich lost in the primary election.

“I would take Governor Burgum’s endorsement over the financial commitment anytime,” said District 28 primary candidate Jim Grueneich. But he said he still plans on being involved in politics again in the future.

One of the candidates who benefitted from PAC money in the primary was David Andahl of District 8, but he has since passed from COVID-19.

With the Secretary of State and Attorney General stating that Andahl’s seat will remain open if he’s a top two vote getter, there’s a chance the Republican party could make an appointment.

The current State Representative in District 8, Jeff Delzer, has yet to proclaim whether he’ll seek his old seat.

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