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Presidential primary ads filling Michigan TV screens


New numbers show Democrats outspending Republicans on TV ads in Michigan leading up to the March 8 presidential primary.

Next Tuesday’s primary could play a major role in deciding who stays in the race and whose time is up. 

Craig Mauger is with the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

He says before Super Tuesday, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had spent more than $2 million on TV ads in Michigan. The Republicans spent less than $200,000 dollars.

But that’s changing.  

Mauger says with the primary less than a week away, there’s a very noticeable uptick in campaign ads hitting local TV and cable.

However, he says there’s an interesting difference in who is paying for the ads.

“The Democratic spending is being done by the campaign committees,” says Mauger. “On the Republican side, the majority of the spending is being done by these super PACs (political action committees).”

Clinton and Sanders have been almost even with how much money they’ve been spending on TV ads in Michigan – but not where.

Analysis by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network shows Sanders spending more money on ads in the Flint market than Clinton, who has focused her ad spending on the Detroit and Grand Rapids markets.

Mauger says $6.4 million was spent on TV ads leading up to Michigan’s 2012 presidential primary. He expects more will be spent this year. 

Mauger is particularly interested in how the Kasich and Rubio campaigns and their third-party backers spend in Michigan. He says next week’s results may be pivotal for the two campaigns trying to stay alive in the Republican presidential race.

Mauger also expects to see ads featuring Donald Trump, though he expects those ads will be financed by groups opposed to the New York billionaire’s bid for the GOP nomination.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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