Jul 8, 2010

Millions already spent on TV ads in gubernatorial campaign is chump change compared to Amway guy cash

Despite seemingly incessant political TV ads from Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidates attacking each other, television advertising is lagging far behind the pace of Michigan’s last two gubernatorial campaigns, according to Rich Robinson of the non-profit Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

In fact, five candidates and one nonprofit organization have spent $3.3 million so far, with Republicans “Manoogian” Mike Cox and Rick Snyder accounting for 79 percent of that total. Snyder’s television advertising started three months before any other candidates this year but his spending has slowed dramatically over the last month, as has his support. Since Memorial Day, Cox has outspent Snyder, $634,726 to $161,030, although Snyder has spent more overall, $1,4 million to $1,1 million.

But that’s chump change compared to what the Amway guy – AKA Republican Dick DeVos – spent in 2006 trying to by the governorship. At the end of June in 2006, DeVos had already spent $7 million despite the fact he did not have a primary opponent. The Michigan Democratic Party had spent $2.3 million for gubernatorial television advertising over the same period. The two parties spent nearly $13 million by the time of the primary election in 2006.

Among the other Republican candidates, Mike Bouchard has spent $98,000, including $48,000 in the last month. All of Bouchard’s spending has been on cable. ”Twitter” Pete Hoekstra’s television spending has been limited to $5,470, all on one Sunday in May.

The remaining advertiser on the Republican side is a group known as “Americans for Job Security.” AJS has spent $273,000, all in the Grand Rapids market, for ads attacking Hoekstra. The ads appear to be synchronized with the Cox campaign.

Local television stations pulled the AJA ads after Hoekstra's lawyers complained the ads were false and misleading. The Cox campaign has denied any connection, but with Cox’s troubles with the truth it’s pretty clear he is behind them.

On the Democratic side, Speaker of the House Andy Dillon, D-Redford, has spent $335,380. Dillon has spent $282,880 on broadcast outlets in Detroit. The remainder of his spending has been on cable. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero have not purchased television advertising.

The candidates have not filed a complete campaign finance report since year-end 2009. Their next reports are due on July 23.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts research and public education on money in Michigan politics.

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