WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published November 23, 2009, 10:30 PM

Large Number Of Political Ads

If you think you're seeing a lot more political advertisements than usual, you're right.

By: Casey Wonnenberg, WDAZ

If you think you're seeing a lot more political advertisements than usual, you're right. National organizations are buying advertising space at an unprecedented pace in North Dakota.

A North Dakota ad agency, Kranzler Kingsley, says since February about three million dollars has been spent in North Dakota on political advertisements. That's more than last year's election cycle when there were several high-profile races going on...like those for governor, a senate seat, and for insurance commissioner.

With no high-profile elections on the radar, it's an unusual time to see a lot of political ads. However, health care reform is bringing in more advertising bucks than the races for North Dakota governor, insurance commissioner and a US senator seat combined last year.

Rod Sigvaldson says, “The ads are just starting. After the first of the year, it's going to get a lot tougher. You're going to have everybody out there because then you're going to see the people running for office starting to campaign too, along with the people campaigning for or against.”

Rod Sigvaldson is a physician assistant, who's starting a group to campaign about health care reform. He hopes to get an advertisement on the airwaves in the next few months.

“I just have some real concerns, not only just in health care, but all of the packages that have been spent so far,” says Sigvaldson.

Many of the current advertisements are supporting or opposing politicians for their votes on health care reform.

Senator Kent Conrad says, “Well some very specifically target me. They have my name right on the top of the page.”

Conrad says he's not sure who's paying for the ads about him because many of them are sponsored by national organizations.

“They tend to be vested interest groups that don't want to change anything because they're making a lot of money from the current system, and they run these ads, and they do it in a way that they're largely anonymous,” says Conrad.

While most of the advertisements are from national organizations, Sigvaldson is hoping to start one from a local group that's not necessarily in favor or opposed to reform but encourages lawmakers to make smart, informed choices about health care reform.

Sigvaldson says, “To rush into it and try to force it through in a 60 to 90 day span of time is not thinking it through, and we're not going to come up with a good plan that's going to be comprehensive.”

When it comes to the healthcare reform bill, the groups advertising against the current proposal are outspending groups in favor of the bill two to one.