Last night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) sustained a leg injury during a pick-up basketball game with his staff, putting his attendance at the GOP’s first 2024 primary debate in question.
Given the injury, Burgum’s campaign expressed uncertainty, saying it is “unclear if he will be able to stand at the debate,” but highlighted that the governor “hopes to make” the debate stage walkthroughs. After the accident, Burgum was taken to a local emergency room and has been discharged as of Wednesday afternoon.
In terms of his presidential aspirations, Burgum is relatively lesser-known compared to other candidates, having only recently qualified for the debate with 3 percent support in the Fox News Iowa poll. He acknowledged his status in a Fox News Digital interview, saying, “It’s obviously an opportunity for us because…of the eight candidates who’ve made the stage, we’re the least well known.”
Because of his limited national profile, Burgum has made significant financial contributions towards his campaign. The billionaire invested over $10 million of his own money, with $8 million spent in the previous quarter. An interesting strategy saw him offering a $20 gift card to donors who donated more than $1, enabling him to reach the fundraising threshold for the debate.
Before entering politics, Burgum made a fortune in the software industry. He transformed Great Plains Software from a small enterprise to a $1 billion business. This company was eventually bought by Microsoft, with Burgum retaining a senior vice president position.
Burgum’s political journey began in 2016 when he, as a first-time candidate, defeated a favored GOP candidate to win the Republican nomination in North Dakota. He went on to win the general election and was re-elected in 2020.
Burgum’s campaign spokesperson, Lance Trover, shared last month that “Governor Burgum is looking forward to sharing his focus on the economy, energy, and national security at the August debate.” He added that, as a Governor and business leader, Burgum has the expertise to rejuvenate the economy, optimize American energy, and take on challenges like those posed by China.