State Land Commissioner John Thurston spent $22,000 in October for radio advertisingurging people to pay their property taxes by the Oct. 15 deadline.

The land commissioner doesn’t assess, bill or collect property taxes. Those are county office functions. When property taxes become delinquent, it is the job of the land commissioner to oversee disposition of the property.


Thurston, who provided the voice-over, noted in the ads that property taxes go to good public purposes, particularly schools.

I inquired about the ad buys after hearing them a number of times on a station I follow.   I didn’t recall Thurston doing such advertising previously, but a spokesman for his office said such advertising had been purchased “consistently” in the past. I’ve asked specifically about ad buys in 2017. UPDATE: The office showed he’d spent $22,000 twice in 2017 — one to urge people to meet the assessment deadline and once to meet the tax payment deadline.


Thurston’s ads appeared as election day nears on his bid to be elected secretary of state. He’s term-limited as land commissioner. The 30-second ads ran on 51 radio stations, as per this invoice.

Thurston faces Democrat Susan Inman and Libertarian Christopher Olson in the race for secretary of state. Incumbent Mark Martin is term-limited.