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North Dakota's Republican governor set to launch US presidential bid

FILE PHOTO: Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND) attends Republican State Convention in Grand Forks

(This May 26 story has been corrected to remove the incorrect reference to Fargo as the state capital, in paragraph 2)

By Nathan Layne

(Reuters) - North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum is planning to enter the 2024 presidential race, joining a growing field of candidates hoping to topple Donald Trump and secure the Republican nomination, according to a person familiar with his plans.

Burgum, who is serving his second term as the sparsely populated state's top official, is expected to launch his campaign with an announcement on June 7 in Fargo, the person said. The governor's office declined to comment.

Burgum, 66, built a successful software business before selling it to Microsoft Corp in 2001. A proponent of low taxes and fewer regulations, he will likely seek to portray himself as a traditional conservative who will focus on the economy and national security, the person familiar with his plans said.

Jeanette Hoffman, a Republican political consultant, described Burgum as a long shot for the nomination, but said he has a compelling personal story and represents a steady hand who could appeal to those tired of the chaos of Trump.

"Right now, GOP primary voters are like, 'Who?'" she said. "But this could be an open field and he has a story to tell."

An expanding field of Republicans are vying for the chance to take on President Joe Biden, who is expected to win the Democratic nomination for a second term but is seen as vulnerable amid economic headwinds and low approval ratings.

Reuters/Ipsos polling conducted on May 9-15 showed Trump is backed by 49% of Republicans, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in a distant second place at 19%. They were followed by former Vice President Mike Pence with 5% and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley on 4%, the poll showed.

Burgum, who won re-election in 2020 with more than two thirds of the vote, last month signed one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country, joining a conservative push to limit access to the procedure in many states. He also signed into law the largest income tax cut in state history.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut, and Jason Lange in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler)