Plain Talk: 'To say that money buys elections in North Dakota is a little bit insulting to the people of North Dakota,' says Burgum

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum in Fargo March 11 during a press conference where he addressed the severity of the coronavirus. Chris Hagen / The Forum

On this episode of Plain Talk, Gov. Doug Burgum addressed criticism he's faced for spending millions, much of it his own money, on promoting his preferred slate of candidates in the North Dakota Republican Party's recent primary election.

Some have started using the nickname "Boss Burgum."

State Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, referred to Burgum's efforts as "crap."

"To say that money buys elections in North Dakota is a little bit insulting to the people of North Dakota," Burgum said in response. "The citizens of North Dakota are smart and they can see through that."


"There's so much more than money in politics," Burgum added, arguing that the candidates he backed won because they persuaded voters.

"People win in North Dakota when they've got the right message," he continued.

Some have suggested there is growing discord between Burgum and U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, a fellow Republican. These suggestions have sometimes come with speculation that Burgum might challenge Cramer for his Senate seat.

"I'm trying not to laugh," Burgum said when I asked him about that, saying he would not ever think of challenging Cramer.

In fact, he's not interested in a job in Congress under any circumstances. "The last thing in the world I would want to be is a senator or congressman," he said.

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Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at .

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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