Gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder launches TV ad contest
Ann Arbor venture capitalist and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder is asking supporters to select which TV advertisement he should run next.
Snyder, who drew a wealth of attention for his Super Bowl ad labeling him "one tough nerd," has posted two new ads to his website. The first discusses famous "nerds" like Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Apple founder Steve Jobs and Superman's alter ego, Clark Kent.
"Michigan can't be fixed. It needs a total reinvention. New innovative companies. Great new jobs for families -- all based on a solid business plan. It's what I've done all my life," Snyder says in the ad. "This nerd gets results."
In the other ad, a narrator says "nerds out-think, out-focus, out-accomplish," and blames politicians for Michigan's economic downfall.
Snyder is the only candidate who has started running TV ads. That's partly because he has an edge in fundraising. He raised more than $3.2 million in 2009, including some $2.7 million of his own money.
The campaign said people who want to vote on the nerd ads have to create an account with the campaign website. The contest runs through Monday, and the winning ad will reportedly start running next week.
Snyder, CEO of Ann Arbor-based VC firm Ardesta and former president of computer maker Gateway Inc., hopes that his entrepreneurial background will entice voters frustrated with "career politicians." And his campaign has stirred the Ann Arbor business community to offer donations.
But he faces an enormous hurdle: his lack of name recognition among most voters. Some 80 percent of likely Republican voters didn't recognize his name in a recent poll.
For the Democratic Party, meanwhile, the gubernatorial race is still unsettled. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and State Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith are the only candidates who have officially declared that they're running. Speaker of the House Andy Dillon is said to be considering a run.
The primary race takes place in August, and voters will elect a new governor in November. Gov. Jennifer Granholm is term-limited.
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