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TV ad spending off to an early start in Michigan's governor's race

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

This year, TV ad spending is spiking early among candidates running for Michigan governor.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Networkreports $1.7 million has been spent on TV ads to promote candidates in Michigan’s governor’s race. 

The network’s Craig Mauger says most of that spending was by Democrat Shri Thanedar, who’s poured $1.2 million into TV campaign ads since the January 1.

“What we’re seeing is changing now, from ad spending being dominated by one candidate who is self-funding, to now numerous groups getting involved,” says Mauger.

Mauger says Republican candidates, most notably Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, and outside groups are stepping up their TV ad budgets. 

Mauger wonders if the campaigns will be able to maintain this escalating level of TV ad spending through the August primary.

In the short term, Thanedar’s TV ads appear to be having the desired effect. A recent poll put the Ann Arbor entrepreneur atop the Democratic field for governor.

In the Marketing Resource Group poll, Thanedar led all Democrats with 21%, followed by former state senator and Ingham County prosecutor Gretchen Whitmer with 18%. In a poll last September, Thanedar received support from only 3% of those polled. 

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.