Gubernatorial TV spending passes $26 million

LANSING – Spending for television advertising has reached $26 million in Michigan’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign. Governor Jennifer Granholm has spent $2.5 million for TV ads and the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee has spent $5.5 million for “issue” ads supporting Granholm’s campaign. Challenger Dick DeVos has spent $17.9 million for TV ads in his campaign that has been 80 percent self-funded.

Those figures are gross sales. The figures for Granholm and the MDSCC are through September 27th. The DeVos figures are through October 2nd, reflecting a different schedule of advertising flights. The nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network collected the data from 26 commercial television broadcasters from September 25-27. Figures for two small northern Michigan stations were estimated based on previous sales and market share.

For September, the DeVos campaign spent $5.1 million on TV. The Granholm campaign spent $2.0 million, while the state Democratic Party spent $2.1 million. While sales for October are incomplete, the ad buys that have been recorded already indicate clearly that the pace of spending is increasing and totals for the remaining five weeks of the campaign will top $10 million, probably by a wide margin.

Beginning on September 28th, the Republican Governors’ Association is running a ten-day schedule of ads supporting DeVos. MCFN was able to collect data for the RGA’s buy only from Detroit’s two leading stations, where the buy totaled $315,000.

In comparison, the 2004 presidential television advertising campaign in Michigan - including the candidate committees, the political parties, political action committees and 527 committees - was $38 million. The 2002 gubernatorial campaign between Granholm and Dick Posthumus cost $18 million for all categories of expenses in the general election. The competitive primaries in both parties cost an additional $18 million.

“Michigan voters have been subjected to an unprecedented barrage of shallow messages designed to drive an emotional reaction to the candidates,” said Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. “It remains to be seen whether voters will be shown enough depth to make a thoughtful choice on Election Day.”

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