North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum at the Republican presidential debate in September. Melina Mara/The Washington Post

Long shot Republican presidential candidate and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum suspended his campaign Monday, after failing to gain momentum with voters in a crowded primary field.

In a statement, Burgum said: “While this primary process has shaken my trust in many media organizations and political party institutions, it has only strengthened my trust in America.” He also criticized the Republican National Committee’s debate requirements, calling them “arbitrary criteria.”

Burgum’s campaign ends after months of stagnant polling, revealing a lack of interest in the wealthy tech entrepreneur largely unknown outside of the Midwestern state. Burgum, 67, pitched himself as a job creator uniquely qualified to build the economy and bridge connections between small towns and big cities, but that platform never found traction with a Republican base that has favored former president Donald Trump as Burgum mostly avoided attacking the front-runner who he had supported in 2020.

After he failed to qualify for the third GOP presidential primary debate, Burgum pushed back on calls for him to drop out earlier, arguing that his campaign, propped up by his personal wealth, should continue at least until early states could weigh in.

“I’m proud of my record and vision for improving every American life,” he wrote in the Des Moines Register on Nov. 11. “That’s why I’m continuing with my campaign even though the political insiders are trying to stop me.”

After entering the race in June, Burgum touted his state’s economic growth and his life story of working as a chimney sweep in college to taking out a loan on the farmland he inherited to develop a software company that was acquired by Microsoft for $1.1 billion. He distinguished himself from “career politicians,” who he argued would not be able to “walk the walk” as he had.


Burgum’s campaign, largely self-funded, is a testament to the ability of multimillionaires to run for office relying on their own personal wealth. In the third quarter, he loaned his campaign $10.2 million, of the $11.8 million total that was raised, according to financial filings. And his advertising reach matched that of more successful campaigns: He had spent nearly $6 million in ads through the end of the year as of mid-November, more than the campaigns of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis or entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Meanwhile, Burgum averaged about one percent nationally or two percent in Iowa and New Hampshire, according to RealClearPolitics, indicating his policy message and lesser-known name had not resonated with voters.

Burgum brushed off questions about his viability as his polling stalled, comparing dropping out to predicting who would win the Super Bowl and then calling off the game. When he didn’t make the third debate, he also claimed that the event’s viewership numbers declined.

“It makes no sense,” he wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “Let the people decide!”

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