Doug Burgum, the governor of North Dakota, has added his name to the list of GOP presidential candidates who has qualified for the first Republican primary debate, which will take place in Milwaukee in August.
Politico, which has been tracking all the candidates who have qualified, reported that Burgum became the seventh Republican presidential candidate to qualify for the debate.
Unlike many of the other GOP candidates, Burgum has contributed a significant amount of his own personal wealth to fund his campaign, which has helped him to land on the debate stage, where he’ll appear with candidates who’ve been around the block, so to speak, in politics for much longer than he has.
Burgum used to be an executive for software companies, and he only first decided to run for governor of North Dakota back in 2016.
In total, Burgum’s donations to his own campaign have eclipsed the million-dollar mark, and much of that has gone to blanketing New Hampshire and Iowa – two early primary states – with ads on TV. Those have worked thus far, too, as he’s been able to gain pockets of followings in the two states.
Politico also reported, though, that Burgum has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in a rather unique way. He promised anyone who donated to his campaign that they’d receive a gift card for $20.
He did that, in part, so that he could qualify for the debate stage. The Republican National Committee requires all candidates to attract 40,000 unique donors, with 200 coming from 20 different territories or states. That helped the North Dakota governor get that many people to donate to his campaign.
In a recent statement, Lance Trover, a spokesperson for Burgum’s campaign, said:
“Governor Burgum is looking forward to sharing his focus on the economy, energy and national security at the August debate. In less than seven weeks, Governor Burgum has exceeded all the requirements for the debate.”
Another one of the RNC’s requirements is that candidates garner at least 1% in different national polls. Burgum did that on Tuesday of this week, once he reached the 1% mark in the Morning Consult’s national poll. He had already gotten 3% from an Iowa poll taken by Fox News and 6% from a University of New Hampshire Granite State poll.
He also garnered 1% support from JMC Analytics and Polling, which conducted a national poll recently.
According to the tracking Politico has done, Burgum joins six other GOP candidates who have qualified for the August debate. They are Tim Scott, Chris Christie, Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump.
Much of the attention of this first GOP primary debate thus far has not been around which candidates have qualified, though, but whether the most popular candidate will even show up.
To this point, Trump hasn’t committed to participating in the debate. In fact, he’s released statements that said he doesn’t see a real reason for participating, since he has such a big lead in the polls.
That might be a good thing for a candidate like Burgum, though, as it could give him a bigger share of the debate stage come August 23.