Jan. 22 (UPI) -- North Dakota governor and former Republican presidential candidate Doug Burgum announced Monday he will not seek a third term as the state's leader when his current stint expires at the end of this year.
Bergum, 67, who was first elected to office in Nov. 2016, did not give a specific reason for his decision in an issued statement but later told reporters at a press conference in Bismarck, N.D., that family considerations played a role.
"It was a very difficult decision for us, a heartfelt decision," he said.
Burgum, a Fargo, N.D., tech entrepreneur who became wealthy after selling his software business to Microsoft Corp., launched a bid for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination in June, declaring, "We need a change in the White House. We need a new leader for a changing economy. That's why I'm announcing my run for president today."
He dropped his longshot candidacy on Dec. 4 after failing to the make the cut for the fourth Republican candidates' debate, at the time criticizing what he called the Republican National Committee's "clubhouse debate requirements are nationalizing the primary process and taking the power of democracy away from the engaged, thoughtful citizens of Iowa and New Hampshire."
Burgum endorsed former President Donald Trump ahead of last week's Iowa caucuses, and following Trump's victory there, the GOP front-runner praised the North Dakota governor, hinting he may have a role in a possible second administration.
The governor, however, claimed the possibility of a vice presidential nod or a Trump Cabinet post played no role in his decision to not seek a third term, calling the kind words "flattering," but adding, "the two things are not connected at all."
He said he would continue to tend to his chief initiatives during the remainder of his tenure this year.
"There's never been a better time to live, work and raise a family in North Dakota," he said. "Our state is extremely well positioned for the future thanks to the efforts of everyone on Team ND to empower people, improve lives and inspire success."