(Reuters) – North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum entered the 2024 Republican presidential campaign on Wednesday, further expanding a crowded field of candidates led by former President Donald Trump.
Burgum, 66, a former software company executive, is largely unknown beyond his state, and he will begin his White House bid well behind rivals such as Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Burgum filed paperwork for his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission and said on Twitter he would make an announcement later Wednesday morning.
His personal wealth, derived from selling his startup to Microsoft more than two decades ago, could help fund advertising aimed at raising his national profile.
Burgum, in a campaign-style video released before Wednesday’s event, describes his ascent from a young boy in rural North Dakota to the founder of a billion-dollar software company and a governor who has cut red tape and taxes.
Burgum’s low-key style provides a sharp contrast with the pugnacious Trump. In the video, entitled “Change,” the governor argues that listening to each other “with respect” is how to solve America’s problems, rather than “anger, yelling, infighting.”
While he doesn’t name other candidates, he also appears to distance himself from DeSantis’ “anti-woke” culture wars.
“I grew up in a tiny town in North Dakota,” Burgum says. “‘Woke’ was what you did at 5 a.m. to start the day.”
His announcement event was being held in Fargo, near his hometown of Arthur, North Dakota.
Like many other Republican governors, Burgum has signed laws banning abortion and restricting transgender rights, including gender-affirming care for minors, although the measures go unmentioned in the video.
Unlike many Republican governors, however, Burgum has called for North Dakota to achieve carbon neutrality by decade’s end, although his strategy involves improving carbon capture technology rather than any limits on fossil fuels.
The race to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 2024 election took further shape this week, with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Vice President Mike Pence both declaring candidacies.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax, additional reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Mark Porter)
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