In a tightly contested primary, North Dakota’s Rep. Kelly Armstrong emerged victorious over Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller to become the Republican nominee for governor. Armstrong’s win came with significant support from former President Donald Trump, who endorsed him late in the race, solidifying his frontrunner status.

The primary race underscored a unique division between Trump and current North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, who had supported Miller. Burgum, having opted not to seek a third term, has become a potential vice-presidential candidate for Trump. Despite their differing endorsements, Burgum praised both candidates, emphasizing the state’s fortune in having strong contenders. “I’m supporting one; President Trump is supporting the other,” Burgum noted in a recent CNN interview. “But whoever wins that primary in about 12 days from now, North Dakota is going to have a great governor.”

Following the primary results, Burgum congratulated Armstrong and Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak, who secured the GOP nomination for Armstrong’s congressional seat. “Competition is great for the Republican Party and our state is better for it,” Burgum wrote on X, expressing confidence in their leadership.

Armstrong’s victory sets the stage for a general election face-off against state Sen. Merrill Piepkorn, the unopposed Democratic nominee. Given North Dakota’s strong Republican leanings, with no Democratic governor elected since 1988, Armstrong is favored to win.

Armstrong, who has served as North Dakota’s at-large congressional representative since 2019 and previously chaired the state Republican Party, emphasized his extensive campaign efforts. “Since we started, we’ve gone from one end of the state to the other,” Armstrong remarked during a debate with Miller. “We’ve done over 100 media interviews, and we have got the opportunity to meet with thousands of North Dakotans across the state.”

Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller, 64, positioned herself as a political outsider with extensive private-sector experience, having been CEO of a major electrical distributor before entering politics. Appointed by Burgum as lieutenant governor in 2022, Miller campaigned on the value of business experience in governance. “Our country and our state have done so well with leaders who have business experience like Gov. Burgum and President Trump,” she asserted during their debate.

Both Armstrong and Miller showcased their loyalty to Trump throughout their campaigns. In the wake of Trump’s conviction on 34 felony counts in a hush money trial, Armstrong, a lawyer, expressed disbelief at the verdict. “I used to do this for a living,” Armstrong said. “And I don’t know what the hell he got convicted of.” Miller echoed the sentiment, viewing the prosecution as politically motivated. “We would not have had any of these cases if President Trump was not seeking re-election,” she argued.

With the primary behind them, Armstrong now prepares for the general election, bringing his strong conservative credentials and extensive political experience to the race, aiming to continue North Dakota’s Republican leadership.