Gov. Doug Burgum has had a banner year outside his native North Dakota, emerging from relative obscurity to become a leading contender for the Republican vice presidential nomination.

But back home on the prairie, the retiring software mogul is already yesterday’s news. Though North Dakotans are celebrating the possibility of having one of their own on a national ticket for the first time, they’re much more focused on the cascade of statewide openings triggered by Burgum’s sudden pivot to the national stage.

The GOP primary to succeed Burgum as governor has turned North Dakota’s “Peace Garden” moniker on its head, with U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong and Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller swiping at each other over the state’s cheap airwaves. Meanwhile, the Republican primary to replace Armstrong in the At-Large District has become the site of yet another ideological civil war, with the possibility of advancing a true Freedom Caucus-aligned hardliner.


Until 2016, Republican primaries in North Dakota followed a fairly rigid process: Candidates would compete for the party’s nomination at the statewide GOP convention, and those who failed to earn

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