The window for GOP presidential candidates not named Donald Trump is starting to close, a reality being recognized by yet another low-polling rival who threw in the towel on Monday.
Doug Burgum, the multimillionaire governor of North Dakota, announced the end of his presidential campaign, citing in part requirements by the Republican National Committee to qualify for Wednesday’s fourth debate that would have kept him from the stage.
“The RNC’s clubhouse debate requirements are nationalizing the primary process and taking the power of democracy away from the engaged, thoughtful citizens of Iowa and New Hampshire,” Burgum wrote in a statement released by his campaign.
“We are deeply grateful for each and every person who supported us with their ideas, prayers, advocacy, encouragement and enthusiasm. Kathryn and I will always remain committed to fighting for the people who make our nation so exceptional.”
BREAKING: Doug Burgum has officially dropped out of the 2024 presidential race. pic.twitter.com/1aDGUTvsJK
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) December 4, 2023
The end to Burgum’s presidential ambitions comes after the North Dakota Republican spent vast sums of money to accumulate the depth of small-dollar donors necessary to qualify for previous RNC debates. Just a day before the first event occurred back in August, Burgum tore his Achilles tendon during a pickup basketball game yet still made his way to the stage, a testament to his determination to remain in the running. The former private sector executive amassed over 40,000 donors by offering $20 gift cards to the first 50,000 to donate to his campaign.
Doug Burgum drops out of 2024 presidential race.
Millions spent on a vanity campaign. https://t.co/QJkWS7MrlW
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) December 4, 2023
However, hurdles have significantly heightened since then. To make Wednesday’s stage, candidates must garner at least 6 percent in two approved national polls, or 6 percent in one poll from two separate early-voting states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.
Participants also need to amass at least 80,000 unique donors, with at least 200 unique donors per state or territory, in 20 or more states.
Gov. Burgum’s aspirational end is a sign that even money can’t buy the ability to qualify for the high-profile events, which are largely seen as make-or-break moments among the candidates vying to take on President Trump. Others at risk of failing to qualify are Vivek Ramaswamy, Chris Christie, and Asa Hutchinson. That may provide Trump’s closest-polling rivals — Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley — increased visibility to go after the frontrunner who once again plans to skip the debate in favor of holding his own private event.