JOHNSTON — Republican presidential candidate Doug Burgum says he has no intention of dropping out if, as expected, he does not meet the polling and fundraising criteria for the next candidate debate on November 8.
“I’m not trying to sell a book. I’m not running for a cabinet position,” Burgum said during a weekend appearance on “Iowa Press” on Iowa PBS. “…I look down that debate stage — I’ve created more jobs than all the rest of the candidates combined.”
Burgum, who’s in the middle of his second term as North Dakota’s governor, invested in a software company in his home state in 1983. He became the company’s president in 1984 and sold it to Microsoft in 2001. Burgum said while national security is an important issue right now, the economy is what’s “crushing” Americans.
“We have to have someone from outside of Washington to actually come in and restore trust in the institution,” Burgum said. “We have to have someone who understands how the global economy works. I had people working for me in 130 countries.”
The president of the United States is the leader of the executive branch and should not govern based on “grievances” or to benefit one party over another, according to Burgum. “The role of the president’s more important than ever. We have to have a leader who understands they serve every American, not just serve one party” Burgum said. “Once elected, the job of the executive branch, the cabinet agencies — the limited role of the federal government is to serve everybody. That’s what you do.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has said any candidate who does not qualify for next month’s debate in Miami should drop out of the race. Burgum calls that an insult to the Iowans he’s meeting on the campaign trail.
“If you want to let a network and a party, you know, a couple of people at ‘clubhouse rules’ decide who gets to be a finalist, you don’t need an Iowa primary because you’ll be down to one candidate by January,” Burgum said.
Burgum argues missing the debate is no loss. “There used to be gravitas around presidential debates, but there’s no gravitas. It’s political theater at best and it’s actually reality TV,” Burgum said. “These are designed to drive inter-candidate conflict. They’re not designed to help the voters understand who the candidates are.”
It appears just three of the other candidates challenging former President Donald Trump have shown they have enough support in polls and from donors to qualify for the next debate. Trump is skipping the televised debates. He’ll host a rally in Florida at the same time as the November 8 debate in Miami.