Information obtained by ND xPlains shows outside special interest groups spent over $1 million on television and radio to try and influence Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s vote on Brett Kavanaugh. This does not include online and digital spending. The largest outside spender was the conservative Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) who spent approximately $870,152 in North Dakota. Demand Justice a progressive-leaning organization comes in a distant second spending approximately $199,369.
North Dakota’s media market is relatively cheap compared to those in other parts of the country. $870,000 will get you seen and heard a lot. It wasn’t just television and radio, I mentioned earlier this doesn’t include online and digital, but other activity was undertaken to try and influence votes. For example, the Judicial Crisis Network also paid for polling in North Dakota. The results of this poll were then pushed out repeatedly by right-wing pundits and partisan politicians in the state to amplify the message. JNC didn’t need to spend a dime for that assist.
Ultimately, this outside spending didn’t influence Heitkamp’s vote. On Saturday, Heitkamp voted against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. I wrote about that decision after she announced it earlier that week. The ultimate question is whether or not that outside money, amplified by partisans on the ground, influenced North Dakota voters’ perspective. We may not know that answer until November 6th.