Doug Burgum’s Rebranding: ‘He’s Playing the Game Now’

Former president Donald Trump (right) shakes hands with North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum during a campaign rally in Laconia, New Hampshire, on Jan. 22. | Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

AMIDON, North Dakota— The rain had passed, and the June sun shined down on the Badlands.
The pastures of John Hanson’s 11,000 acres ran green between the sandstone buttes that dotted the land. Hanson, sat in the back of an F-150 truck next to Beau Bateman. John’s kid brother Ted was driving, a rifle by his side. All three have been friends of Doug Burgum’s for nearly half a century. Hanson, dressed in a blue checked shirt, giant belt buckle, work jeans and tattered cowboy hat, had already put in a full day, but the most difficult task still lay ahead: explaining why their buddy would make a great vice president for former President Donald Trump.

“I voted for Trump in ’16,” John Hanson said. “I won’t tell you what I did in ’20. I’m not against his policies, but that wasn’t the way I was taught to lead. Doug doesn’t work that way.” We stopped the truck, and Hanson quickly checked on an innocent pine tree scorched by a lightning strike. “That tree’s dead,” said Hanson.

He returned to talking about his friend. “Doug has all this information in his head, and he listens to everyone. He knows how to lead.” He let out a snort of a laugh. “Maybe it will rub off.”

North Dakota state Sen. Jeff Magrum stands for a portrait on his ranch in Emmons County, North Dakota, on May 31. | Stephen Rodrick for POLITICO

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Thank you Senator Magrum for standing up for the right things, things that matter!