Reaction from Fargo and beyond as Doug Burgum announces run for president

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 7:03 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2023 at 10:37 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (KFYR) - North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum is running for president of the United States. And a lot of people are fired up about that.

What does it take to be president? Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin. George Washington chopped down a cherry tree. Donald Trump had a reality TV show. JFK was part of a political dynasty. Governor Doug Burgum is a billionaire from a town of 300 people. Wednesday, he made his case for the White House in Fargo for the very first time.

It was all smiles at the Sanctuary Events Center in Fargo on Wednesday.

“I’m officially announcing I’m running for the president of the United States of America,” said Governor Doug Burgum, R-North Dakota.

And that’s got people pumped. Despite nearly nonexistent poll numbers, those in attendance Wednesday believe he’s got what it takes in a crowded GOP primary.

“He’s creative, he’s innovative, he’s an exciting person and I think he’d be a great president,” said John Galegher, a farmer from Thompson, North Dakota.

“He’s got a good handshake, very firm,” said Elise Tufte from Steele, North Dakota.

“He’s done amazing things for North Dakota, we’re hoping he can carry that through to the United States of America,” said Billie Breker from Oxbow, North Dakota.

As for what he’s running on? Three main points:

“If you believe that the economy, energy, and national security are critical to our nation’s future, remember, that’s why I’m running for president,” said Burgum.

Political experts say he’s got an uphill battle.

“He’s really going to have to be spending a lot of time advertising, getting his name out there, but also, then, presenting, ‘Here’s where I’m different from the other people,’” said Mark Springer, professor of politics at the University of Mary.

Still, most past and present Republican statewide elected officials have expressed their support for North Dakota’s first major party presidential candidate.

“He has always had this incredible ability to meet and exceed the expectations of everyone else,” said Senator Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota.

“We’re looking at record inflation, record energy costs. If he can talk about bringing down those bills in every consumer’s household around the country, yeah, I think that message can resonate,” said Representative Kelly Armstrong, R-North Dakota.

Outside of the Sanctuary Events Center, enthusiasm wasn’t quite so high. A spokesman for the Trump-backing MAGA super PAC said, “Doug Burgum will waste millions of dollars only to lose to President Donald Trump in Iowa.”

The North Dakota Democrats said, “The last thing the country needs is another bored billionaire whose need for attention is greater than his commitment to the American people.”

Still, those inside say, “Burgum for President.”

“Would you vote for him?” asked reporter Joel Crane.

“Yes I would,” said Breker.

“I would definitely vote for Doug Burgum,” said Galegher.

“I would definitely vote for him in 2028,” said Cayden Weckerly from Casselton, North Dakota.

Burgum’s next task is to get on the debate stage at the first Republican debate on August 23.

Governor Burgum heads to Iowa this week to kick off his campaign, and Your News Leader be right there to follow him around as he tries to drum up some name recognition.