North Dakota Gov. Burgum evades questions about speculated presidential run following Iowa trip
For the first time, Gov. Doug Burgum publicly addressed rumors of a forthcoming presidential campaign after a press conference on Tuesday.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s recent trip to Iowa has prompted speculation that the Republican officeholder is mulling a run for the White House in 2024.
For the first time, Burgum publicly addressed rumors of a forthcoming presidential campaign after a press conference on Tuesday, April 4, and he didn’t have much to say on the matter.
When asked whether he has presidential aspirations, the two-term governor said he’s “focused right now on getting through the legislative session and, specifically, what we’ve got in front of us: income tax relief, child care and workforce (development).”
Gov. Burgum confirmed he and First Lady Kathryn Burgum “had a great weekend” last month in Iowa, where they met with Gov. Kim Reynolds and “local people across ag and education.” He added that he took in several examples of Iowa’s “value-added animal agriculture” — an economic sector he hopes to boost through legislation in North Dakota.
Mike Nowatzki, a spokesman for Burgum, said the state plane wasn’t used for the Iowa trip.
Forum News Service columnist Rob Port reported last month that Burgum traveled to Iowa for at least two public “meet and greet” events in late March. An unnamed Iowa-based source told Port they had completed an opinion poll that was seemingly circulated to gauge interest in Burgum as a presidential candidate.
Prospective presidential contenders often begin their on-the-ground campaigns in Iowa, which historically has served as the stage for the first contest of presidential primary season. In 2024, the Hawkeye State is slated to host the first primary showdown for Republicans, but Democrats will have their earliest primary in South Carolina.
Despite the chatter about a potential White House bid, Burgum didn’t rule out a 2024 run for reelection to North Dakota’s top job on Tuesday.
“I haven’t made any official announcement on that in the past, but I love having the opportunity to serve and I have a ton of energy for this job. But that decision about a third term is a long ways off,” Burgum said.
If he were to enter the presidential race, he would join a fast-growing field of conservative candidates.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson already have declared their intention to run in 2024. Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem also are rumored to be considering presidential bids.
Burgum, a former tech executive, was a political newcomer when he won North Dakota's gubernatorial race in 2016. He secured reelection in 2020 by a landslide margin. His second term expires next year.
Bismarck Tribune reporter Jack Dura contributed to this report.