BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota Republican governor candidate Doug Burgum has a significant fundraising and cash advantage over his Democratic opponent Marvin Nelson, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday.
The disclosures show Burgum, a wealthy businessman who had a competitive primary race against Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, raised nearly $1.6 million this year through Sept. 29. He ended the period with roughly $151,000 in the bank.
“We are thankful for all the support we have received across North Dakota,” Burgum said in a statement. “Together we can balance our budget without raising taxes, create jobs and revitalize our main streets across our state so we can attract and retain a strong workforce.”
Burgum is known in North Dakota as the godfather of software for building Fargo’s Great Plains Software into a billion-dollar business, which he later sold to Microsoft. During the primary, Burgum personally funded his campaign though he declined at the time to say exactly how much. State law does not require candidates to disclose their own contributions.
Nelson, a lawmaker from Rolla who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, raised roughly $92,000 through Sept. 29. He had nearly $23,000 on hand.
Nelson is seen as a longshot in a state that hasn’t had a Democratic governor since 1992.
“Even though we don’t have a lot of money, we are using it to its fullest advantage,” Campaign Manager Josh Dryer said. “Marvin Nelson is obviously a fiscally conservative person. We’ve built this out of nothing, and we’re going to keep fighting till the end.”
Libertarian Party of North Dakota governor candidate Marty Riske has raised about $1,700.
In another lopsided race, records show a California businessman has put roughly $2 million so far this year toward a ballot measure that would incorporate victims’ rights provisions into the state constitution. Opponents of Marsy’s Law had raised about $10,000.
The constitutional amendment is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Henry Nicholas, the California businessman who is Marsalee Nicholas’ brother, is bankrolling a national effort to expand the law into more states.