Doug Burgum Wins North Dakota GOP Primary for Governor

Republican governor candidate Doug Burgum talks to supporters at an art gallery in downtown Fargo, N.D., after Burgum won the GOP primary vote on Tuesday, June 14, 2016. Burgum, a Fargo businessman, defeated Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who was endorsed at the state Republican Party convention. (
AP Photo/Dave Kolpack

Doug Burgum is the easy winner of North Dakota’s GOP primary for governor.

Burgum, who sold Great Plains software to Microsoft for $1 billion in 2001 and endorsed Donald Trump for President, won a 21-point victory over incumbent Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

The final tally in what was expected to be a close race was 59 percent for Burgum, 38 percent for Stenehjem.

“The people of North Dakota wanted a business leader from outside the political system,” Burgum tells Breitbart News in an exclusive statement.

The Grand Forks Herald calls it “an improbable victory against the GOP’s endorsed candidate after trailing by nearly 50 points in a poll less than four months ago.”

“Burgum has pulled off the political upset of the ages,” Fargo radio talk show host Mike McFeely wrote shortly after AP called the race for the software entrepreneur.

“Burgum routed Stenehjem across the board and in every which way. In the east and the west. In rural areas and larger cities. In the Oil Patch. Ranch country. It was a blowout of ridiculous proportions,” McFeely wrote, adding:

Burgum rode the anti-establishment wave from the beginning, waging an almost micro-targeted campaign pushed by his consultant out of the Washington, D.C., area. Burgum embraced Donald Trump, painted Stenehjem as a supporter of Obamacare, hammered Stenehjem on the current state of the North Dakota budget. It was a non-stop blizzard of polling hot-button issues and talking points. Burgum’s campaign would push-poll residents one week and mail campaign flyers the next, pounding Stenehjem on issues like the raises he received as attorney general.

The Herald offered some details:

Burgum now emerges as the favorite in November in a state where Republicans hold every statewide elected office and voters haven’t picked a Democrat for governor since 1988.


…Burgum will face Democratic Rep. Marvin Nelson, a crop consultant from Rolla, and Libertarian candidate Marty Riske, a Fargo businessman, neither of whom is well-known on the statewide political scene. Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced in August he wouldn’t seek a second full term.

Burgum endorsed Trump a little over a month ago.

“Donald Trump has effectively secured the Republican nomination for president, and it is time for Republicans to support Donald Trump’s candidacy,” Burgum said in his statement of endorsement on May 5.

“He has brought a record number of new voters into the Republican primary process, and we must now begin to grow that base by uniting our party’s diverse coalitions. With the presidential nomination process effectively over, Republicans must begin focusing on winning the White House. The stakes this November are too high to wait. It is essential for North Dakota’s economy that the next president be a Republican,” he added.

Trump gave a rousing speech on energy policy in Bismarck, North Dakota in late May that was well received in a state where many jobs are tied to oil and coal production.

Conservative North Dakota blogger Rob Port says Burgum drew Democrats who crossed over to vote in the Republican primary.

“Doing some quick and dirty math, it sure looks like a lot of Demcorats crossed over to vote for Burgum. In the 2012 primary vote there were approximately 1.8 votes on the Republican slate of candidates for every 1 vote on the Democratic slate,” Port writes, adding: “There was also the fact that he ran the most expensive campaign in state history. It was blundering and tone deaf at times, but when you can flood the zone with your messaging sometimes that doesn’t matter. Quantity, as they say, has a quality all its own.”

“Burgum still has work ahead and it has nothing to do with beating Nelson, a good man who doesn’t have a chance of winning in November,” talk radio host McFeely writes.

“The Republican establishment, including some big-time businessmen and a ton of legislators, is angry with Burgum for upsetting the apple cart. How dare he have the audacity to challenge the powers that be? They’ll have to get over it, but Burgum will need to mend fences,” McFeely concludes.


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