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Burgum endorses Trump, cites his outsider status, business acumen

FARGO -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Burgum says he is supporting Donald Trump, the Republican Party's controversial presumptive nominee for president.

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North Dakota Republican candidate for governor Doug Burgum speaks to supporters April 19 at the B2 Lounge in Dickinson. (Dustin Monke / The Dickinson Press)

FARGO -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Burgum says he is supporting Donald Trump, the Republican Party's controversial presumptive nominee for president.

Burgum is running against North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem in the state's governor's race. Though Stenehjem was endorsed by the North Dakota GOP, Burgum has been campaigning heavily in an effort to defeat Stenehjem in the primary election.

Stenehjem was unavailable for comment Thursday night.

While Trump doesn’t yet have the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination, he was virtually assured it when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich both suspended their campaigns this week.

"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 a statement Thursday, 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."

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Burgum, who doesn't have his party's support in his run for the state's top executive job, has portrayed himself as an outsider fighting against the establishment. Trump, too, has portrayed himself as an outsider fighting the establishment. Both have touted their success as businessmen.

"Voters are looking for a political outsider because the status quo isn't working for many Americans," Burgum said of Trump. He has made similar arguments for himself in his ads. "We need business leaders in office that understand the changing economy."

Burgum said in his statement that "Americans will have two very different choices -- Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton."

Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who is not running for re-election, also endorsed Trump on Thursday.

Dalrymple spokesman Jeff Zent said Thursday that the governor will back the party’s nominee, and if that ends up being Trump, “then that’s who he will support.”

While Trump doesn’t yet have the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination, he was virtually assured it when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich both suspended their campaigns this week.

Dalrymple wasn’t available for an interview Thursday, Zent said. When asked by KFGO radio host Dan Hammer on Wednesday if he will endorse Trump, Dalrymple joked, “Well, I’m pretty much down to one choice, aren’t I?” according to a podcast of the interview.

“I have said all along the way that I will be supporting the Republican nominee, whoever that turns out to be, and that looks like it’s going to be Donald Trump, so I will be supporting him,” Dalrymple told Hammer.

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Dalrymple also said he believes Trump can unite the Republican Party.

“He has shown skills at being able to bring people together, groups of people. Will he be able to do it? We’ll watch and see,” he told Hammer.

Related Topics: DOUG BURGUM
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