North Dakota Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Doug Bergham suffered a high-grade tear in his Achilles tendon while playing a pick-up basketball game with his staff on Tuesday, requiring him to be on crutches, a source familiar with the situation said.
Burgum, 67, will attend a candidates’ walkthrough of the debate event site Wednesday afternoon and then decide whether he will be physically able to participate in the debate, the source said.
Burgum is focused on the first Republican debate of this primary season and understands that as much as he wants to participate, he will have to walk the stage and stand behind a stage for two hours, the source said.
“He’s a total cowboy and not phased by injuries and pain. His mindset is focused and tough. We’re going to see what happens on the walk and throughout the day,” the source told CNN. The governor is a lifelong athlete and is familiar with sports injuries, the source added.
According to the source, other candidates approached him personally to ask how he was doing. Republican senators Tim Scott and Vivek Ramasamy took to social media to congratulate the governor.
Burgum is one of eight candidates in the debate lineup. The event will air on Fox News at 9pm ET.
The GOP governor, a wealthy former software executive, described himself as a lesser-known contender on stage Wednesday night. He said Sunday on NBC that he would have won the debate “if I had a chance to explain who we are, what we’re about and why we’re running.”
He reached the Republican National Committee’s 40,000-unique donor threshold and qualified for the debate stage in July — attracting donors by offering $20 gift cards in exchange for $1 donations. He then met voting requirements and eventually signed a pledge to support the GOP presidential nominee, both of whom were required by the RNC to participate in Wednesday night’s debate.
Burgum, currently serving his second term as North Dakota governor, announced in June that he would run for president in 2024, with less name recognition than others vying for the GOP nomination. His campaign focused primarily on the economy, energy and national security.
This story has been updated with additional reporting.