By CRAIG MAUGER
Michigan Campaign Finance Network
The amount presidential campaigns are spending on TV advertising in Michigan skyrocketed last week with Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton having now invested about $1 million each.
The Democratic candidates had combined for $2.2 million in broadcast TV ads, as of Feb. 28, with nine days left before the March 8 primary. However, Republican candidates and the Super PACs supporting them had spent only $125,521.
As of Sunday, Sanders’ campaign had exceeded the $1-million mark at $1.231 million in ads while Clinton had spent $979,117, according to tracking by Kantar Media. Sanders’ campaign had run 2,662 ads on broadcast TV in Michigan, and Clinton had run 1,987, according to the tracking.
The numbers show that Sanders’ campaign is continuing to invest heavily in Michigan and that Clinton’s campaign is hiking its investment to try to keep up.
As of Feb. 21, Sanders campaign spent $319,037 while Clinton’s campaign spent only $100,001, according to Kantar Media's tracking. From Feb. 22 until Feb. 28, Sanders’ campaign increased spending to $912,484, three times the amount previously spent. Clinton’s campaign spent $879,116 over the Feb. 22-Feb. 28 period, more than eight times the amount her campaign had previously spent.
Both Clinton and Sanders are airing ads in Michigan’s five major markets. Sanders aired the most ads in the Flint market at 597 and aired the least of his ads in the Traverse City market at 419, according to Kantar Media’s tracking. Clinton ran the most of her ads in the expensive Detroit market at 429. She’s run the least of her ads in the Flint market at 304.
On the Republican side of things, spending was somewhat quiet as of Feb. 28, at only $125,521.
Almost all of the spending has been done by two Super PACs, which allegedly operate independent of the campaigns and thus, can take unlimited contributions.
Conservative Solutions, a group supporting Republican Marco Rubio, had spent $110,966 in Michigan as Feb. 28, according to Kantar Media’s numbers. And New Day for America, a group supporting Republican John Kasich, had spent $13,443.
Both Super PACs have ads runnings in Michigan this week and will likely increase their investments in the days leading up to the March 8 primary as they seek to cut into Republican Donald Trump’s lead in the state.
Before Michigan’s last set of presidential primaries in 2012, there was a total of $6.4 million in TV ads, including cable, run in the state.
The following is a list of total broadcast TV ad spending for 2016, according to Kantar Media figures as of Feb. 28:
Bernie Sanders campaign, $1,231,521
Hillary Clinton campaign, $979,117
Conservative Solutions, $110,966
New Day For America, $13,443
Ted Cruz Campaign, $1,112