Bush-Kerry TV ad race reaches $34 million

But Prop 1 overtakes the presidential contest in the home stretch

LANSING -- With just one week to go until Election Day, the presidential candidates, their parties and supporting groups have spent nearly $34 million for broadcast television advertising in Michigan. Sen. John Kerry and his supporters have outspent President Bush and his allies by 30 percent - $19.2 million to $14.7 million – but the two sides have settled into spending parity in the last weeks of the campaign with each side spending roughly $2.6 million since early October.

Meanwhile, spending on both sides of Proposal 1, the proposed constitutional amendment to require statewide and local voter approval of most new forms of gaming in Michigan, has accelerated dramatically. Total spending has reached $8.4 million, with $4.9 million of that total spent in just two weeks between October 11th and October 25th.

In the Detroit television market during that two-week period, President Bush and the RNC spent $463,000; Sen. Kerry and the DNC spent $645,000; 'Yes' on Proposal 1 spent $1.25 million; and 'No' on Proposal 1 spent $1.4 million.

'Yes' on Proposal 1 is funded mainly by the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Mount Pleasant, the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians of Manistee. Opposition to Proposal 1 is channeled through two committees, both of which are funded almost entirely by the state’s horseracing industry.

"The campaigns have been a revenue bonanza for the state’s commercial TV broadcasters," said Rich Robinson, executive director of the nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network. "I'm not sure whether the electorate is informed and motivated or scared and confused, but this is the way we do things."

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network collected advertising data from the television broadcasters' public files between October 19th and 25th.

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