LANSING – With just more than four weeks to go until primary Election Day, television advertising is lagging far behind the pace of Michigan’s last two gubernatorial campaigns. Five candidates and one nonprofit organization have spent $3,371,214 so far, with Republicans Mike Cox and Rick Snyder accounting for 79 percent of that total.
At the end of June in 2006, Dick DeVos had already spent $7 million and the Michigan Democratic Party had spent $2.3 million for gubernatorial television advertising. Mr. DeVos and the Democratic Party spent nearly $13 million by the time of the primary election in 2006, despite the fact that neither Mr. DeVos nor Gov. Jennifer Granholm had primary opponents that year.
The 2002 gubernatorial primaries that featured former U.S. Rep. David Bonior, former Gov. Jim Blanchard, now-Gov. Jennifer Granholm, former Lieutenant Gov. Dick Posthumus, former state Sen. Joe Schwarz, the PAC Citizens for Responsible Leadership and the St. Clair County Democratic Party, had $10 million in television advertising.
Rick Snyder’s television advertising started three months before any other candidates this year but his spending has slowed dramatically over the last month. Since Memorial Day, Attorney General Mike Cox has outspent Mr. Snyder, $634,726 to $161,030, although Mr. Snyder has spent more overall, $1,497,923 to $1,162,463.
Among the other Republican candidates, Oakland County Sherriff Mike Bouchard has spent $98,000, including $48,000 in the last month. All Mr. Bouchard’s spending has been on cable.
U.S. Rep. 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 the nonprofit business association known as Americans for Job Security. AJS has spent $273,000, all in the Grand Rapids market, for ads attacking Mr. Hoekstra. The ads appear to be synchronized with the Cox campaign.
On the Democratic side, Speaker of the House Andy Dillon has spent $335,380. Mr. Dillon has spent $282,880 on broadcast outlets in Detroit. The remainder of his spending has been on cable.
So far, Republican state Sen. Tom George and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero have not purchased television advertising.
Television advertising data were collected by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network from the public files of the state's broadcasters and cable systems between June 28th and July 2nd.
In accordance with the state’s flimsy campaign finance reporting requirements, the candidates have not filed a complete campaign finance report since year-end 2009. Their next reports are due on July 23rd.