What Would Governor Doug Burgum Bring to the Republican Ticket?

The auditions for vice president continued on Saturday as North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum found himself center stage at Donald Trump’s Jersey Shore mega-rally.

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Burgum is on the short list of candidates for vice president and got the full treatment on Saturday. He got to ride on Trump’s campaign plane and spoke briefly at the rally.

During his speech, Trump praised Burgum, saying that “he probably knows more about energy than anybody I know.”  

He added cryptically: “So, get ready for something, okay? Just get ready.”

Burgum ran for president and dropped out in December before the first nominating contests had been held. He has impressed people besides Trump with his depth of knowledge not only on energy issues but foreign policy as well.

But many political insiders raise an eyebrow at the thought of Burgum joining the ticket. His fellow North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer was “surprised” when the rumor mill churned out Burgum’s name. He didn’t see the advantage “because a white male from a state with three electoral votes that haven’t gone to a Democrat since LBJ does not seem to bring a lot of electoral value to the ticket.”

But Cramer thinks that Burgum has moved on to Trump’s radar because of his passionate defense of the former president.

“Nobody has played their cards better since the primary,” said Scott Jennings, a former political adviser to President George W. Bush. “Trump is a casting director. Who looks more like a VP than Burgum?”

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It’s almost as if Burgum entered the presidential race to make a play for vice president. It’s not unheard of, of course. He may have believed that even a failed run for the White House would raise his profile enough to be considered.

What Trump is looking for is someone who won’t upstage him. And it helps Burgum immensely that he’s a very rich man with a lot of rich friends to help with badly needed fundraising.

The New York Post asked Burgum why he thinks he was chosen to give the first speech at the rally.

“First of all, it’s so important for the country that President Trump gets re-elected. As a governor having had the opportunity to serve under President Trump and President Biden, I get to see a front row seat on the difference in what leadership means. And so if the Trump team says ‘hey can you come and help out?’ we say ‘yes.’”

Burgum told the 100,000 Trump supporters in attendance that working with Trump was “like having a beautiful breeze at your back.” 

“President Trump respects state’s rights. He cut regulation. He lowered taxes,” Burgum said. “Working under the Biden regulatory regime is like having a gale-force wind in your face.” 

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The Post asked Burgum if he had spoken to Trump on the flight to Wildwood.

“We did. And of course, there’s – President Trump, one of the things that’s so remarkable about him is how hard he works. And when he’s on that plane, every minute he’s on that plane, he and everybody on the team is working,” the governor said.

Sucking up is part of the audition process. Former Bush aide Jennings thinks that Burgum’s basic grayness as a candidate is a big plus for him.

“No drama. Won’t outshine the top, but seems like a loyal guy who will work and do what’s asked of him,” Jennings said.  “And as far as I know he’s not out here dying on Dog Murder Hill every day.”

Trump could still surprise and pick a candidate like Virginia Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears. But it’s looking like Trump doesn’t need to maker a big splash with his pick for vice president to win.

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