UPDATE: This post originally reported Burgum’s ad buys at $491,277. Due to a mistake in my spreadsheet I accidentally added $20,000 to one of the ad buys for WDAY. I’ve fixed that on the spreadsheet and updated the ad buy total to $471,277.
Back on March 11, when I wrote about Fargo businessman Doug Burgum’s first television ad buy in the NDGOP’s gubernatorial nomination race, I cited a source familiar with the buy saying the campaign was putting in $150,000.
To date the Burgum campaign has declined to answer when I’ve asked about the dollar amounts of their advertising buys, but based on publicly available broadcast disclosures I can now report that the Burgum campaign has already spent nearly a half a million dollars on television advertising.
The FCC requires that licensed stations report details about political advertising in their public inspection files. According to those reports, Burgum has spent $471,277 on ads from March 7 through April 4.
I found no spending for Burgum’s opponents, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem or state Rep. Rick Becker, but I’ve been told that Stenehjem is planning a television advertising campaign of his own after the NDGOP convention in early April.
Anyway, back to Burgum, that’s a lot of money for a pre-convention, pre-primary campaign.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]The FCC requires that licensed stations report details about political advertising in their public inspection files. According to those reports, Burgum has spent $491,277 on ads from March 7 through April 4.[/mks_pullquote]
You can see a spreadsheet of the buys below. I’m pretty sure I got them all, but feel free to click the FCC link above and double-check my math.
To put that dollar amount into perspective consider that Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, a Republican who won the most competitive race on the statewide ballot in the last election cycle, collected just $91,250 according to his pre-primary report. He collected just $511,846 in all of the 2014 election year.
Those numbers for his opponent, Democrat Ryan Taylor, were $54,634.42 and $313,807.23, respectively.
In 2012 when Governor Jack Dalrymple ran for re-election he reported just over $530,000 in his pre-primary report.
Burgum has spent nearly as much in about four weeks just on television advertising. That’s not counting Burgum’s expenses for travel, staff, polling, supplies, etc.
It will be interesting to see how that works for him. On one hand, he has to raise his name recognition and lower Stenehjem’s popularity, and spending money to spread the appropriate messaging is pretty much the only way to do it.
On the other hand, a man famous for being one of the state’s wealthiest citizens ostentatiously spending lots and lots of money promoting his campaign might turn some voters off.
So far Burgum hasn’t had to make an official campaign disclosure. He started his campaign in January, so didn’t have to make a year-end report for 2015 (I wrote about those disclosures for Stenehjem and state Rep. Rick Becker here).
The next reporting date is the pre-primary disclosure, which is due on May 13. That will only include contributions over $200, and no details on spending at all, because that’s all North Dakota’s too-lax campaign disclosure laws require.
Here’s the spreadsheet for Burgum’s TV ad buys:
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