(The Center Square) – North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum suspended his presidential campaign on Monday while criticizing the Republican National Committee’s debate policies.
Burgum participated in the first two debates for the Republican nominees but failed to meet the threshold for the last one. He said the RNC’s requirements are “taking the power of democracy away from the engaged, thoughtful citizens of Iowa and New Hampshire.”
“These arbitrary criteria ensure advantages for candidates from major media markets on the coasts versus America’s Heartland,” Burgum said. “None of their debate criteria relate to the qualifications related to actually doing the job of the president. This effort to nationalize the primary system is unhealthy for the future of the party, especially for a party that proclaims to value leadership from outside of Washington.”
Burgum won the 2016 gubernatorial campaign but had no political experience before his election. He founded a software company that was later sold to Microsoft and then worked as a management consultant and investor with various companies.
“Our decision to run for President came from a place of caring deeply about every American and a mission to re-establish trust in America’s leadership and our institutions of democracy,” Burgum said. “While this primary process has shaken my trust in many media organizations and political party institutions, it has only strengthened my trust in America.”
The Republican candidates will square off for the fourth time Wednesday night in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The stage will be without South Carolina Congressman Tim Scott, who dropped out last month.
The debate requirements are polling 6% or more in at least two national polls or one poll from an early primary state and 80,000 donors. At least 200 donors should come from each of 20 or more states.
It is unlikely that former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who missed the previous two debates, will qualify for this one. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he had met the requirements but had not been confirmed by the RNC.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. and Ambassador Nikki Haley, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy are expected to be on the stage.
The Republican frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, is not appearing at the debates.