By CRAIG MAUGER
Michigan Campaign Finance Network
LANSING — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s early September TV ad blast in Michigan amounted to an estimated $654,962 in ads across the state.
Based on the Michigan Campaign Finance Network’s analysis of Kantar Media tracking data, Trump’s campaign aired about 1,500 individual broadcast ad spots in Michigan markets from Sept. 1 through Sept. 7, costing an estimated $654,962. As of now, Trump has aired more general election campaign ads in Michigan than any other candidate currently running in the state.
Also, his early September ad buy amounted to more ad spending than either 2012 presidential campaign made in Michigan in the general election. A Republican hasn’t carried Michigan since 1988.
Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, has run ads nationally but hasn’t made a statewide ad purchase focused on Michigan since her primary race against Sen. Bernie Sanders. Before the March 8 primary election, Clinton’s campaign ran an estimated $2.6 million worth of broadcast ads in Michigan.
According to filings that TV stations must make with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , Trump’s campaign isn’t currently running ads in Michigan and hasn’t ordered any airtime for the coming weeks. But that could change.
Trump visited Michigan again today (Wednesday).
His early September ad buy in Michigan pushed an economic message. It was entitled “Two Americas: Economy.”
The majority of the Trump’s ad spending in Michigan was in the Detroit and the Grand Rapids television markets, the two largest markets in the state where TV time is more expensive than other out-state markets. Trump’s campaign spent an estimated $319,354 in the Detroit market and an estimated $143,198 in the Grand Rapids market.
In 2012, President Barack Obama’s ad buy in Michigan focused only on the Detroit and Grand Rapids markets The Obama campaign’s estimated spending on ad time in Michigan was $648,200. The 2012 campaign of GOP candidate Mitt Romney didn’t buy broadcast ad time in Michigan for the generel election but numerous Super PACs and nonprofit groups that opposed Obama did.
Of Michigan candidates for Congress, State Rep. Gretchen Driskell, a Democrat from Saline who’s running in the 7th District, has aired the most broadcast TV ads in the general election campaign so far.
Based on the Michigan Campaign Finance Network’s analysis of Kantar Media tracking data, Driskell’s campaign had aired about $370,672 in TV ads, more than 1,000 total spots, through Monday, Sept 12. Her ads have run in both the Detroit and Lansing markets.
Driskell is hoping to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton). Walberg’s campaign aired an estimated $69,161 in ads through Sept. 12. His ads have focused on the Lansing market. Both Driskell and Walberg have aired two different ads each. In her ads, Driskell labeled Walberg “Trade Deal Tim.” In one of his ads, Walberg alleged that Driskell’s first ad was false. The narrator in one of the Walberg ads also said of Driskell, “We can’t believe anything she says.”
The 1st House District that covers Northern Michigan is traditionally a swing district. And its voters should be prepared for an avalanche of political advertisements leading up to the Nov. 8 general election.
With former Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson facing retired Marine Lt. Gen. Jack Bergman, a Republican, about $1.6 million in ad time has already been ordered in the 1st District for the next two months, according to filings with the FCC as of Tuesday.
Johnson’s campaign, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the House Majority PAC, a Super PAC, have all reserved ad time with TV stations in Northern Michigan for the fall.
Johnson, who won a two-way primary race, has been airing ads since late June. But according to orders and invoices filed with the FCC, he’s used or reserved $411,658 in ad time for after Aug. 2, the date of the primary.
You can view one of Johnson's campaign ads here.
According to the FCC filings, the NRCC has ordered about $839,040 in ad time. The NRCC announced on Tuesday that it had begun airing an ad questioning whether Johnson actually lives in the 1st District and saying of Johnson, “It’s all an act.”
According to independent spending reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, the NRCC has spent $262,273 against Jonhson so far in the general election.
The House Majority PAC has reserved $404,390 in ad time. So far, the DCCC has reserved $20,205 in ad time, according to the filings, but that number could increase quickly.