ND Gov. Burgum says he’s “in” for GOP primary debate stage on his injured leg

Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 9:20 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2023 at 4:25 PM CDT
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MILWAUKEE (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum will participate in the Republican presidential debate Wednesday, after confirming the news with a simple message.

“I’m in,” Burgum posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Burgum planned to have a walk-through of the Republican presidential debate stage on his injured leg on Wednesday.

Burgum hurt his Achilles tendon playing basketball with members of his campaign staff on Tuesday and was taken to the emergency room. Campaign spokesman Lance Trover said that it was “unclear if he will be able to stand at the debate,” set for Wednesday night in Milwaukee. He said Burgum’s team would have more information later on the injury, which was first reported by CNN.

Burgum was wearing a boot and using crutches Wednesday afternoon.

“So many Americans make so many sacrifices, think of law enforcement, think of military and all they do for us,” Bergum said. “If you’re going to lead this country, you’ve got to be able to stand on one leg for two hours. It’s not Dancing with the Stars, I mean come on. I’d have to scratch if it was that. Pain is not a factor.”

Burgum said his pain is manageable and that he hasn’t taken any prescription medications. As far as whether any accommodations are being made to take him to the podium, like a chair, that is still being determined.

Missing the two-hour debate would be a major setback for Burgum, who is the least known of the eight candidates expected to take the stage at Fiserv Forum in downtown Milwaukee, home to the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team. The first debate of the GOP primary, which early front-runner Donald Trump has said he’s skipping, is Burgum’s best opportunity to introduce himself to voters.

Burgum, a wealthy businessman, qualified for the debate after offering $20 gift cards to donors who gave his campaign a $1 contribution — helping him meet a requirement for the number of donors set by the Republican National Committee for participation.

The governor, who’s 67, had a hip replacement surgery in 2021.

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