Buying Time 2016 - Montana

This page features Montana Supreme Court television advertisements from the 2016 election cycle.

May 30, 2017

Three seats were up for election on Montana's Supreme Court. In Montana, justices are chosen in nonpartisan elections and serve for eight year terms. On June 7th, Judge Dirk Sandefur, professor Kristen Juras, and attorney Eric Mills competed in a contested primary election for one open seat, which had been held by Justice Patricia O'Brien Cotter. The top two vote getters, Judge Sandefur and Kristen Juras, faced each other in a general election. On November 8th, Judge Sandefur won a seat on the court. Chief Justice Mike McGrath and Justice Jim Shea also ran unopposed in retention elections for their seats in the general election. Both were retained. 

The Brennan Center used multiple sources for spending information, which showed the following: 

Kantar Media/CMAG: Estimated Total TV Spending: $418,340*

  • Estimated spending by Dirk Sandefur: $146,300
  • Estimated spending by Montanans for Liberty and Justice: $258,290
  • Estimated spending by Kristen Juras: $13,750

*Spending estimates last updated on May 30, 2017

FCC Contracts: Recorded TV Contracts: $324,925*

  • Television ad buys recorded for Dirk Sandefur: $182,475
  • Television ad buys recorded for Montanans for Liberty and Justice: $127,025
  • Television ad buys recorded for Kristen Juras: $15,425

*Recorded ad buys last updated November 2, 2016. 

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November 2 - Brian Schweitzer

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad says Sandefur "not in anyone's pocket," but criticizes Juras as "not fair or honest."

Sponsor: Montanans for Liberty and Justice

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $155,590


October 21 - Out of State Attack Ads

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

Sandefur says the attack ads are "paid for by out of state interests...trying to buy the Montana Supreme Court."

Sponsor: Dirk Sandefur

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $21,690


October 21 - 4th Generation Montanan

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad discusses Juras' upbringing and experience.

Sponsor: Kristen Juras

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $13,750


October 18 - Beholden to Corporations Rev

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad criticizes Juras for support from businesses and blocking stream access, while praising Sandefur. 

Sponsor: Montanans for Liberty and Justice

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $5,260


October 17 - Beholden to Corporations

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad criticizes Juras for backing from out of business corporations, while praising Dirk Sandefur.

Sponsor: Montanans for Liberty and Justice

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $97,440


October 12 - Brant Light

Stream Video (QT)  | Download Storyboard

Brant Light, Chief Prosecutor for the Montana Attorney General, gives his support to Dirk Sandefur.

Sponsor: Dirk Sandefur

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $19,740


October 2 - Experience Truly Matters

Stream Video (QT)  | Download Storyboard

This ad describes Dirk Sandefur's experience and support from law enforcement

Sponsor: Dirk Sandefur

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $104,870


Methodology


Data on ad airings and spending on ads are calculated and prepared by Kantar Media/CMAG, which captures satellite data in the nation’s largest media markets. CMAG’s estimates do not reflect ad agency commissions or the costs of producing advertisements, nor do they reflect the cost of ad buys on local cable channels. Cost estimates are revised by Kantar Media/CMAG when it receives updated data, resulting in some fluctuations in the reported ad spending.

Data on spending on ads was also compiled from ad purchase contracts posted by the FCC and from state disclosure databases when available.