Michigan Campaign Finance Network

News from MCFN: 03/01/2012

Pres TV 2012: Independents outspend candidates by 50%

LANSING – First quarter television advertising in Michigan related to the 2012 presidential election stands at $7.6 million. SuperPACs and nonprofit “issue” advertisers have outspent the candidates’ campaign committees by 50 percent.

Spending data were compiled by the nonprofit Michigan Campaign Finance Network from the public files of Michigan television broadcasters and cable systems.

Republican candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul spent $2,547,075 for television advertisements in advance of the February 28th Michigan presidential primary, while SuperPACs supporting Romney and Santorum spent $3,161,589 for television.

President Barack Obama’s campaign committee spent $528,887 for television while the SuperPAC supporting his candidacy spent $235,640.

Two nonprofit social welfare organizations have spent an additional $1,114,200 for candidate-focused “issue” advertisements criticizing the Obama administration for its policies and personnel.

Romney and his supporting SuperPAC, Restore Our Future, spent $3,459,205 in advance of the Michigan primary election: $1,493,036 by the candidate committee and $1,966,169 by Restore Our Future.

Santorum spent $997,834 and his allies at Red White and Blue Fund spent $1,195,420.

Ron Paul spent $56,205 for television, all on cable.

The Obama campaign did its initial advertising in January in response to a $670,000 ad blitz by Americans for Prosperity that criticized the failed government loan to Solyndra. The Obama campaign and Priorities USA Action bought additional advertising in the week prior to the primary, mainly criticizing Mitt Romney’s opposition to the federal bailout of the auto industry in 2008-2009.

American Future Fund began a two-week $414,000 ad blitz the day after Election Day, criticizing Wall Street types in the Obama administration.

As nonprofit corporations, Americans for Prosperity and American Future Fund will not disclose their donors.

Contributors to the SuperPACs and candidate committees are being disclosed in monthly reports to the Federal Election Commission, although nonprofit corporations that contribute to the SuperPACs do not disclose their donors.

“The Michigan primary was a perfect illustration of the fact that political campaigns are now mainly the domain of the very wealthy,” said Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. “I don’t know how you can reconcile this with any conventional notion of democracy.”

Other State Political Advertising News
Former congressman Pete Hoekstra has spent $137,040, so far, for television advertising in his campaign for the Republican senatorial nomination. Hoekstra’s spending paid for his widely reviled Super Bowl ad and cable advertising.

Clark Durant, Hoekstra’s opponent for the Republican senatorial nomination, has spent $62,303, all for cable advertising.

A third candidate for the Republican senatorial nomination, Randy Hekman, spent $1,000 for TV.

The Detroit International Bridge Company has spent $755,000 for television advertising so far this year in its ongoing campaign against a public-private partnership to build a new international bridge between Detroit and Windsor. DIBC spent $6 million for television advertising opposing the bridge project in 2011.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts research and public education on money in Michigan politics.

Contact

Rich Robinson

(517) 482-7198 or (517) 896-2246