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Republican presidential candidate North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum in Elkhart, Iowa, on June 9, 2023.
Republican presidential candidate North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum in Elkhart, Iowa, on June 9.Charlie Neibergall / AP file

Burgum is the top ad spender since he entered 2024 campaign

The North Dakota Republican governor has spent more than super PACs supporting Trump and DeSantis since he jumped in.


North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has jumped into the Republican presidential race with a splash — spending more on ads since his launch than any other presidential campaign or outside group.

The wealthy businessman-turned governor has spent more than $2.9 million, largely on broadcast TV ads, since his June 7 announcement, according to the ad-tracking firm AdImpact. That's more than twice the spending of the candidate who's spent second-most over that period, South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott ($1 million).

And it's narrowly more than two prominent outside groups have spent too, Never Back Down (the super PAC backing Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, which has spent just under $2.9 million) and MAGA Inc. (the super PAC backing former President Donald Trump, which has spent $2.8 million).

Burgum isn’t just spending more on ads than the field, he’s spending at a furious rate. In his two weeks in the GOP presidential race, he’s spent more on advertising than the Scott, Trump and DeSantis' campaigns combined outlay in 2023 up until Burgum announced (those candidates have also received significant boosts from outside groups).

The spending blitz comes as the mostly unknown Burgum tries to gin up support for his campaign — including enough support to meet the criteria to make the Republican National Committee's first debate. Among the benchmarks are registering in a handful of qualifying polls and raising money from 40,000 unique donors.

Burgum told NBC News last month he would invest some of his personal wealth into his campaign, giving him an early injection of cash at the pivotal launch phase.

The governor's reliance on his own campaign dollars, as opposed to being carried on the airwaves by outside groups, is especially helpful for getting his word out. Not only are candidates not allowed to coordinate spending with super PACs, but candidates are able book ads at cheaper rates than outside groups, allowing them to reach more people for a lower price than those outside groups.