In an Upset, Political Outsider Wins GOP Nomination for North Dakota Governor

June 15, 2016 AT 12:50 PM

Fargo entrepreneur Doug Burgum cruised to a convincing win over Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem in Tuesday’s primary for the Republican nomination for governor, an improbable victory against the GOP’s endorsed candidate after trailing by nearly 50 points in a poll less than four months ago.

A hush fell over Stenehjem supporters at the Bismarck Municipal Country Club as news quickly spread that the Associated Press had called the race for Burgum shortly after 9 p.m.

With 207 of 432 precincts reporting, the millionaire former Microsoft executive held a 59 percent to 39 percent lead over Stenehjem, while Bismarck oilfield consultant Paul Sorum was a distant third at less than 2 percent. Complete results were not available at press time.

Burgum now emerges as the favorite in November in a state where Republicans hold every statewide elected office and voters haven’t picked a Democrat for governor since 1988.

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