May 9, 2021

LIVE RESULTS: Doug Burgum wins North Dakota governor race against Shelley Lenz

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North Dakota Republican Gov. Doug Burgum wins reelection against Democratic challenger Shelley Lenz, according to Insider and Decision Desk HQ.

Polls in North Dakota closed at 9 p.m. ET.

The candidates:

Burgum, who’s been governor since 2016, is still somewhat of a political newbie. The governorship is the first public office he’s held. Before that, he had a long career in business, helping build a software company and later selling it to Microsoft for $1.1 billion. He’s served on the board of several companies and launched his own investment firm focused on real-estate development in downtown Fargo. 

Burgum’s first campaign centered on reinventing the state budget and creating new jobs. His second-term bid has the same focus.

“It’s not some four years coast to the finish line,” he said during his reelection announcement, reported by The Bismarck Tribune. “It’s four more years with us pushing and trying to drive forward to take advantage of the opportunities that we have.”

Lenz, who voted for Burgum back in 2016, is now running to unseat him because she says he’s “not getting the job done,” according to an interview with a local news outlet. Lenz mainly takes aim at Burgum’s coronavirus response. 

A veterinarian, Lenz has no prior political experience. Her platform revolves around the economy, education and health care.

The stakes:

North Dakota is considered a Republican stronghold, as voters tend to lean conservative. The governorship and state legislature are both controlled by the GOP. The state also went to President Donald Trump in 2016.

As a result, the odds are in Burgum’s favor. Moreover, he also has maintained a relatively high approval rating throughout his tenure, including during the pandemic.

The money race: Burgum has raised around $1.3 million for his reelection effort, while Lenz lags behind him with roughly $297,000 in contributions, per the latest campaign finance data. 

What the polls say: Burgum holds a wide double-digit lead over Lenz, according to recent polling compiled by FiveThirtyEight.

What the experts say: The race is rated solid Republican by Cook Political ReportInside Elections and Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.