Rick Snyder to air Super Bowl ad in Michigan as gubernatorial finances reported
Michigan’s gubernatorial campaign is about to heat up in super fashion, but the top candidates are angling for votes with relatively small piles of cash.
Campaign finance reports filed today with the state will illustrate the emerging reality in the Michigan’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign: Cash is hard to come by.
Not so much for former Gateway Inc. President and Ann Arbor venture capitalist Rick Snyder, who announced this afternoon that his campaign would air a 60-second advertisement in Michigan during the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Snyder’s Republican campaign said late Monday that it had raised more than $3.2 million in 2009, including $2.6 million from Snyder himself, according to the Associated Press.
Among other major Republican contenders, Attorney General Mike Cox raised about $1.8 million, according to various reports. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard pulled in more than
$900,000 and U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra said he had raised just under $760,000, according to the Detroit News. That figure included about $276,000 in state matching funds, however, meaning Hoekstra had only raised about $475,000.
Campaign finance reports were due to the state at 5 p.m. today.
Collectively, the Republican candidates have raised less than $7 million - a small sum compared to the $56 million campaign waged between Gov. Jennifer Granholm and west Michigan businessman Dick DeVos in 2006.
The state’s economic crisis is cramping political fundraising, the Detroit Free Press reported:
Besides the cash-poor state campaign fund, a weak economy is making fund-raising tough.
"Money is so tight, a $10-million campaign would be extravagant," said Democratic consultant Joe DiSano.
In a state with 10 million residents, political experts say it’s difficult to win a campaign without a major TV advertising push.
That could boost Snyder, who will be the first candidate to start airing ads - an effort targeted at boosting his name recognition. Snyder was president of computer maker Gateway from 1991 and 1997 and briefly served as the company's interim CEO in 2006. He's also CEO of Ann Arbor-based VC firm Ardesta, a former executive chairman of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and founding chairman of Ann Arbor SPARK.
Early polls show that the race for the Republican primary is still a toss up, though Snyder has a sizable gap to close.
Cox has the support of 26 percent of GOP primary voters, according to a poll released last week by Lansing-based EPIC-MRA.
Hoekstra had 22 percent, Bouchard had 13 percent, and Snyder and State Sen. Tom George had about 3 percent each.
The Democratic Party is still searching for a gubernatorial contender with widespread political appeal. Speaker of the House Andy Dillon and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero are considering campaigns, and the party is reportedly courting University of Michigan Regent Denise Ilitch to run.
State Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith, who raised about $36,000 in 2009, is
the only Democratic candidate who is officially left in the race.