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Tracking spending in the governor's race

Michigan Municipal League

Election Day is one week from tomorrow.

Radio and television sales executives are going to be sorry to see the campaign ads come to an end, because Michigan campaign ad spending is among the highest in the nation.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network projects spending for the governor's race will top $30 million, with much of that money coming from outside Michigan. MLive's Capitol reporter Jonathon Oosting has been doing his best to follow the money trail.

In a general breakdown of where outside spending is coming from, Oosting says that for Snyder, it’s coming from big business figures including David Koch and the founder of 5 Hour Energy, Manoj Bhargava. For Mark Schauer, it’s coming from the UAW and other labor groups. Oosting notes it’s difficult to see exactly how much money is being spent and by whom. Part of the reason is issue ads, which don’t directly endorse a candidate and don’t have to report their spending. An interesting note Oosting makes is that former New York City Mayor Bloomberg has money behind both pro- and anti-Snyder ads. While Oosting notes that Bloomberg clearly supports Governor Snyder, he has donated money to the Democratic Governors Association, which spends nationally but has been running anti-Snyder ads in the state of Michigan.

Gov. Snyder is winning the spending battle, Oosting says. “Snyder, along with the (attorney general) and secretary of state Republican incumbents, have all now raised and spent more than they did in 2010." However, the Democratic Governor's Association (DGA) has been outspending the Republican Governors Association (RGA) in Michigan’s gubernatorial race, giving Schauer the edge in outside spending.

As for the actual ads being run, Oosting says Gov. Snyder has been running a generally positive race, while the RGA has focused heavily on negative ads. Schauer and the DGA have had a mix of both positive and negative ads throughout the campaign.

The big takeaway from all this is, Oosting says: “Because Michigan’s governor’s race is one of the closest in the country, outside groups are spending a lot of money here.” 

*Listen to Jonathan Oosting discuss campaign spending above

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