Trump is endorsed by a former rival, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, ahead of the Iowa caucuses

INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum endorsed Donald Trump ’s comeback bid for the White House Sunday ahead of the Iowa caucuses, a month after he ended his own longshot campaign for the Republican nomination.

Burgum appeared on stage with the former president at a rally in Indianola, where he heaped praise for Trump.

“I’ve had an opportunity to have a front−row seat,” Burgum said. "I’ve seen President Trump and what he’s been able to do. I’ve seen it as a business leader and I’ve seen it as a governor. I’ve seen the difference that President Trump can make.”

The support from Burgum, who did not build a substantial base in his own presidential campaign, is unlikely to make a difference in the Monday caucuses, which polls indicate Trump is likely to dominate. But it reflects the sense of inevitability surrounding Trump’s candidacy as his remaining rivals try to build their movement against him.

When Burgum dropped out, he blamed his inability to resonate in the race on the Republican National Committee’s strict requirements to qualify for the debate stage. He qualified for the first two GOP debates with the help of a unique fundraising scheme, offering $20 gift cards in exchange for a $1 donation so he could juice his number of supporters. But he could not keep up as more donors were required to make the stage for later debates.

He nearly missed the first debate due to an Achilles tendon injury he suffered while playing basketball with aides the night before.

Burgum largely funded his campaign with his own money. Before his time as governor, he was largely known as a businessman who led Great Plains Software, which Microsoft acquired for over $1 billion in 2001. Burgum stayed on as an executive with Microsoft until 2007. He’s led other companies in real estate development and venture capital.

He is in his second term as governor and is eligible to seek a third in 2024, though he hasn’t indicated whether he plans to run again.

The Associated Press

Photo: AP