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Posted on Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 9:24 a.m.

Gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder launches TV ad contest

By Nathan Bomey

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.

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Michigan gubernatorial candidate and Ann Arbor venture capitalist Rick Snyder

"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.

His top competitors -- Attorney General Mike Cox, U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra and Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard -- don't face that challenge.

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.

Contact’s Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or or follow him on Twitter. You can also subscribe to Business Review's weekly e-newsletter or the upcoming breaking business news e-newsletter.



Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 5:44 p.m.

jimi1984 what are you smoking? Politicians in MI couldn't enact a no smoking policy without party politics. Lobbyists, unions, all have there hand in your pocket and big business as you call it in Michigan is the auto industry and the unions are now on your taxpayer welfare system. Get a clue and read a financial magazine once in a while. Dug Song yeah just what we need another security freak because Homeland Security has made it so much better for us. They did a great job on that Detroit flight. Now you want them to run the country. Get your head out the sand because you may have to apprehend the next terrorist. Snyder has my vote, if for nothing else, he's not a Dingle.

Joe Serwach

Sun, Feb 21, 2010 : 2:36 p.m.

Think I like Grindstone better... But both are good.

Dr. I. Emsayin

Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 8:41 a.m.

An earlier article on Mr. Snyder listed supporters, at least one of whom I thought was a Democrat. What are Mr. Snyder's take on issues (he must have some politics)? And, what is his crossover appeal?


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 8:22 a.m.

"All work and no play" - and they show him snorkeling in that first spot? Not sure I understand that. Second spot would have been better if he'd actually touched his nose onto the (fake) grindstone and sparks came out.


Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 11:33 p.m.

jimi, Who do you think enabled big business and unions to do these things?


Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 8:36 p.m.

Wow, some post just blow you away, kinda like Jenny Granholm said a few years back. Rick Snyder is the kind of experienced business leader that could help turn this state around. He's got my vote if he is on the ticket.


Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 1:06 p.m.

+1 Dug. What rock has Mr Snyder come from under when he "blames politicians for Michigan's economic downfall"? Really, if it's anyone's fault it's big business. Their greed and inability to change has idled assembly lines and subsequently put second- third-tier suppliers out of work. Sheesh, next thing Rick will blame politicians for the asian carp and emerald ash borer invasions.

Dug Song

Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 11:06 a.m.

"Geeks get it done - Nerds don't!" - Richard Clarke, former US counter-terrorism czar on the Colbert Report: