- Associated Press - Saturday, January 9, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Philanthropist and former Microsoft Corp. executive Doug Burgum says he will announce next week if he is running for governor.

The 59-year-old native of Arthur is a longtime Republican supporter but has been critical of the GOP-led Legislature’s stance on social issues, including its failure to pass a bill that would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Some GOP faithful fear Burgum, if he does seek the governorship, may do so as an independent, and his financial wherewithal would make him a formidable candidate. Burgum is known in North Dakota as the godfather of software for building Fargo’s Great Plains Software into a billion-dollar business, which he later sold to Microsoft.

Burgum is the recipient of North Dakota’s highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider award.

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