DeVos TV campaign at $5.4 million

LANSING – Three months prior to the traditional beginning of political campaign season and five months before Election Day, Dick DeVos for Governor already has purchased more television advertising than any gubernatorial campaign committee in Michigan history: $5.4 million. DeVos is unchallenged in the August primary election for the Republican nomination to face Democratic incumbent Governor Jennifer Granholm.

The nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) collected the advertising data between May 25th and May 31st from the public files of 28 commercial broadcasters across Michigan and Comcast cable's central sales office. The $5.4 million total represents gross sales through June 1st and does not include production costs for the advertisements.

In comparison, George W. Bush for President had spent $5.4 million for television advertising in Michigan through May 26, 2004 and John Kerry for President had spent $3.9 million through the same date. By Election Day 2004, the Bush campaign and its party and 527-committee allies had spent $16.8 million for television advertising in Michigan, while Kerry's campaign and its supporters spent $21.2 million.

"It's worth noting that the gubernatorial candidates have already raised and spent more money than any two gubernatorial campaign committees in our state's history," said Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. "But we are still almost two months from seeing the first campaign finance reports for this year."

"Reporting requirements in Michigan are completely inadequate," said Robinson. "At minimum, all state candidates should be required to file quarterly reports in addition to pre- and post-election reports, the same as federal candidates must."

The scale of the early gubernatorial advertising highlights another policy issue – the responsibility of broadcast license holders to serve the public interest. Robinson noted, "The broadcasters are going to take in tens of millions of dollars in political advertising revenue this year. In exchange for virtually free use of the public airwaves, those broadcasters have a responsibility to serve the public with meaningful coverage of the policy issues that are important to Michigan voters this year."

Detroit: $2,355,080
Grand Rapids / Kalamazoo: 960,995
Lansing: 643,681
Flint / Tri-Cities: 453,745
Northern Lower Peninsula: 415,586
Western Upper Peninsula: 142,455
Cable: 428,195
Total: $5,397,927
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