Burgum Breaks The $2 Million Mark On Broadcast Advertising, Outspending Stenehjem By 233 Percent


Fargo businessman Doug Burgum has raised just over $1 million for his gubernatorial campaign according to campaign finance numbers, but he’s spent about twice that amount on broadcast advertising according to disclosures broadcasters must file with the FCC.

According to political advertising numbers disclosed in public files by the state’s broadcasters the Burgum campaign has spent¬†$2,008,321 on broadcast advertising through Friday. That number can change a bit – sometimes ad buys get canceled or shifted to different dates – but it’s a largely accurate reflection of just how much money Burgum is pouring into becoming governor.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]In broadcast advertising alone Burgum has outspent his opponent, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, by 233 percent.[/mks_pullquote]

I’ve asked Burgum’s campaign to disclose how much of their candidate’s personal fortune is being spent on the campaign, but they’ve declined to say. The Stenehjem campaign told me last month that their candidate has spent very little of his own money on the campaign, mostly consisting of putting fuel in his car.

In broadcast advertising alone Burgum has outspent his opponent, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, by 233 percent. Through Friday the Stenehjem campaign has spent $601,953.78 on broadcast advertising.

Stenehjem has closed the gap some in recent weeks. At the end of April the Burgum campaign had outspent Stenehjem by 514 percent.

Still, Burgum is funding an absolute onslaught of advertising against Stenehjem. Keep in mind that these figures are just for spending on broadcast advertising. North Dakota’s unfortunately lax campaign reporting requirements do not require that the candidates report their total spending figures, or what candidates¬†spend of their personal money.

Most political observers agree that the 2012 U.S. Senate campaign between Republican Rick Berg and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp was the most expensive in state history, with Berg specifically spending the most between the two candidates at over $6 million.

I have a feeling that if we knew how much Burgum is spending in total – on campaign staff and mailings and travel and online advertising – he might be on track to break Berg’s record.

Which would be remarkable given that Burgum is running for a primary, and on a much shorter campaign timeline than Berg.