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Michael Coachman

Michael Coachman

A frequent candidate for statewide office in recent years has announced a bid for North Dakota governor.

Michael Coachman, who in 2018 received 13% of the vote as an independent candidate for secretary of state, said Monday he will run for governor in 2020 as a Republican.

Coachman was previously an unsuccessful lieutenant governor candidate in 2012 and 2016. He is a retired U.S. Air Force veteran who lives in Larimore. He's a teacher helper at a Christian school and volunteers at a prison ministry.

"I believe what I'm standing on is what people of North Dakota is looking for, someone who is going to stand on the Constitution from beginning to end," said Coachman, who expressed confidence in winning the Republican endorsement.

First-term GOP Gov. Doug Burgum has made no announcement as to a reelection campaign. But he has said he and Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford are "leaning in" to another run.

"Governor Burgum has provided effective, conservative leadership in North Dakota, and he looks forward in the future to highlighting his record of delivering results for North Dakotans," said Mike Schrimpf, a Burgum spokesman. "Simply put, Gov. Burgum and Lt. Gov. Sanford have one of the strongest records in the country."

Burgum is a wealthy former software executive who lost the Republican endorsement but won the nomination in his 2016 primary challenge against Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, the endorsed candidate.

Burgum ran in 2016 on a message of "reinventing" state government amid a $1 billion state revenue shortfall from sagging commodity prices, winning 76% of the vote with Brent Sanford, who is lieutenant governor.

The Democratic-NPL Party has made no announcement as to the 2020 governor's race, but the party's chairwoman has said Democrats will put forth "a strong candidate."

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Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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Capitol Reporter