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Burgum Will Debate Republican Rivals Despite Basketball Injury

(Bloomberg) -- North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum will participate in the first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee on Wednesday night despite suffering an Achilles tendon injury while playing basketball, the debate’s host said.

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In a memo to campaigns, Fox News said it had offered Burgum an accommodation: a stool behind his podium to rest during commercial breaks “so he doesn’t need to walk up and down steps to go backstage where there are chairs for all candidates.” The memo, which was obtained by Bloomberg News, said Burgum had accepted the offer.

Burgum’s appearance had been in doubt after being taken to a Milwaukee emergency room Tuesday following an injury incurred during a pick-up basketball game with staff. Touring the debate venue on crutches Wednesday, Burgum told Bloomberg he was heading to the doctor afterward to find out whether he could stand for the two-hour event.

The 67-year-old governor, who became a billionaire when he sold his software company to Microsoft, qualified for the debate in late July after his campaign offered $20 gift cards for a $1 donation to meet the Republican National Committee’s requirement of 40,000 individuals donors.

With an average of less than 1% support in national polls, Burgum is hoping that his emphasis on energy independence, technological innovation and national security will win over enough voters to qualify for the second debate in California next month.

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