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Republican Doug Burgum wins reelection for governor in North Dakota

Doug Burgum
Doug Burgum(KFYR)
Published: Nov. 3, 2020 at 8:36 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Republican Doug Burgum wins reelection for governor in North Dakota.

Gov. Doug Burgum has won another term as North Dakota’s governor, and will continue to be at the helm for the state’s COVID-19 response.

When the state of emergency was first declared, he showed optimism for keeping schools and businesses an open. Within the next few weeks, all schools would go to virtual learning and businesses would undergo closures until May.

Since re-opening, Burgum has issued a “light touch of government approach” to health restrictions and would do so by using county-by-county risk levels and offer corresponding guidance. Over the following months, the guidance and recommendations would change.

Burgum defeated his Democrat-NPL challenger Shelley Lenz and Libertarian candidate DuWayne Hendrickson.

The governor’s office has been in the spotlight more over the past year than others. And the race for who will have the office next is between one candidate who overcame political odds to win in 2016, and a challenger who voted for him four years ago. Burgum’s main opposition, veterinarian Shelley Lenz of Killdeer, started as a neuroscience student, but would soon turn to animals; traveling the globe, establishing veterinary services for remote and politically hostile nations.

Despite losing at his party’s convention in 2016, Burgum made a push in the primary and eventually became the party’s nominee and governor.

While state budgets are running ahead of forecast, businesses have remained open for months, and COVID testing continues to increase, the recent spike in numbers and the no-call on a statewide mask mandate, has put public pressure on the office.

“You could see a return to businesses being shut down. I know in some other cities, I think in Chicago today they announced that they’re suspending indoor dining, I mean which I think means you’re suspending dining in Chicago. I mean they got weather that’s pretty similar to ours as we head into winter. I mean, you’re going to have that. We in North Dakota have a choice. We have a chance to keep our kids in school, our businesses open, our economy going,” Burgum said during Thursday’s COVID media briefing.

During the closures in the spring, Burgum found himself fighting within his party over how long the closures should be in place.

Ultimately, the governor let the closures expire in May.

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