North Dakota governor mocked for giving away $20 gift cards for $1 donations to his campaign

North Dakota governor Doug Burgum announced his campaign for president in June

Ariana Baio
Tuesday 11 July 2023 19:37 BST
Trump says he doesn’t want to do any primary debates

Before 2024 presidential candidate Doug Burgum can debate his fellow Republicans on stage in the first primary debate, he needs 40,000 individual donors to give to his campaign.

In order to meet that, the North Dakota governor has developed an incentive for donors: pay him $1 and he will give you a $20 gift card.

“Yes, 50,000 people will actually get a Visa or Mastercard gift card to their mailing address,” Mr Burgum wrote on Twitter. 

The new initiative was met with raised eyebrows and mockery.

“Is this a legit way to amass enough donors to get on the debate stage @GOP?” one user wrote on Twitter.

Another Twitter user wrote: “Literally bribing your constituents for votes? Lmao”.

Mr Burgum claims the new initiative is intended to provide “economic relief to the American people” who have been “hurt by Bidenflation” – though in an email to The Independent, a spokesperson for Mr Burgum’s office said the initiative is also intended to help secure Mr Burgum’s spot on the debate stage.

The so-called “Biden Relief Card” will benefit the first 50,000 people who donate to Mr Burgum’s campaign.

“Doug knows people are hurting because of Bidenflation and giving Biden Economic Relief Gift Cards is a way to help 50,000 people until Doug is elected President to fix this crazy economy for everyone,” Lance Trover, a spokesperson for Mr Burgum, said.

The 40,000 individual donor threshold was recently enacted by the Republican National Committee (RNC). As the pool of candidates grows more crowded, some may be weeded out by the new rules.

In order for candidates to debate one another on the RNC stage in August, they need to have at least 40,000 individual donors contribute to their campaign with at least 200 unique donors from 20 states or territories.

They also need to be polling with at least one per cent of national support and commit to supporting the eventual Republican nominee.

The new rules have sent candidates like Mr Burgum scrambling for ways to incentivise supporters to donate.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is offering supporters who donate any amount a free “Team Suarez” t-shirt.

Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy launched a program that will pay participants 10 per cent of the money they raise for his campaign.

Others like Chris Christie, Asa Hutchinson and Mike Pence have posted messages on social media encouraging people to support their efforts to get to the debate stage.

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