Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota, the wealthy former software executive who entered the presidential campaign in June hoping a back-to-basics appeal on the economy would propel him forward, dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination on Monday.
Though his personal fortune could have kept his campaign afloat, Mr. Burgum’s mild demeanor and resolute focus on three issues, the economy, energy and foreign policy, never caught on with a G.O.P. electorate steeped in the pugilistic flash of Donald J. Trump and the more visceral appeal of social issues.
Mr. Burgum claimed on Monday that he had shifted the conversation on the campaign trail from divisive social issues to energy and foreign policy. He blamed media inattention and Republican Party rules for his poor showing.
“Our decision to run for president came from a place of caring deeply about every American and a mission to re-establish trust in America’s leadership and our institutions of democracy,” he said in a statement announcing he was suspending his campaign. “While this primary process has shaken my trust in many media organizations and political party institutions, it has only strengthened my trust in America.”
Mr. Burgum’s base in tiny, remote North Dakota and a short political résumé had given him almost no name recognition when he began the campaign, leaving even his home-state constituents wondering how he might rise in a crowded field laboring in the shadow of the former president and prohibitive front-runner, Mr. Trump.
But Mr. Burgum believed there was a market for his business acumen — he sold his software company to Microsoft for $1 billion — and a kitchen-table focus that resolutely avoided confrontation with Mr. Trump or anybody else in the field.
He was wrong, never polling above the low single digits. But he may have made an impression on Mr. Trump. Advisers in the former president’s orbit have put out word that Mr. Burgum’s looks and money made him “central casting” for a second Trump term.
Mr. Burgum’s departure technically narrows the field of Republican hopefuls, as Mr. Trump’s critics, such as Senator Mitt Romney of Utah and the commentator George F. Will, issue calls for candidates not named Trump to consolidate around a single alternative. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, former Vice President Mike Pence, the former Texas congressman Will Hurd and Larry Elder, a conservative talk radio host, have also left the race.
That pressure is now on Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, who has shown no sign of traction with Republican voters nationally but whose relatively strong polling in New Hampshire is preventing Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, or Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida from consolidating the anti-Trump vote.
Mr. Burgum’s short-lived presidential run did make some impact in Republican circles, even if it didn’t with Republican voters. To muster the 40,000 individual donors he needed to qualify for the first debate in August, he offered $20 gift cards to the first 50,000 people who donated at least $1 to his campaign.
Just before that debate, he tore his Achilles’ tendon and had to sit during commercial breaks. In the second debate, he largely faded into the background. When he made his presence known, it was to plead with the moderators to let him answer any of the questions that he could make about energy, ostensibly a strong suit in oil-rich North Dakota.