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Record spending in Michigan's governor race, and it's not done yet

Shanna Grove/WZZM-TV • Aug 16, 2018 at 10:00 AM

As you have probably noticed, campaigns have spent a lot of money on political TV ads, most of which focus on the races for governor.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network reports around $23.6 million in political ads aired on broadcast TV before the state’s primary. If you're already tired of them, you might be in for a rude awakening.

“These are the most expensive primary races for governor that we’ve seen in Michigan," said Craig Mauger, the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

According to the network, as of late July, the state’s 2018 race for governor already drew about $42 million.

“We haven't had competitive primary races for governor since 2010,” Mauger said.

Spending in this year’s primary races easily exceeds past primary campaigns for governor in Michigan.

Mauger provided the following numbers that reflect candidate fundraising, reported independent spending and issue-ad broadcast TV advertising:

— 2018 gubernatorial primaries: $42 million (tracked on July 27)

— 2010 gubernatorial primaries: $24 million

— 2002 gubernatorial primaries: $17 million

“There’s a lot more money in politics," Mauger said. "The rules have changed allowing more money in politics, so it’s not surprising the number has gone up over 2010. Also, you have this factor additionally that Shri Thanedar, who was one of the candidates, put $11 million of his own money into the race.”

The race for governor has the potential to be among the most expensive the state has seen.

“The most expensive race for governor that Michigan has seen was in 2006, and this includes from the beginning to the end of the general election, and that was $79 million,” Mauger said.

This one could be a record-setter.

“The expectation is the amount of money pouring into these races will continue to be high going into the general election, and a lot of it will depend on how close the race is because money often follows competition,” Mauger said.

If you're wondering when the ads will really start kicking in, Mauger said a lot of the heaviest advertising won’t happen until the last few weeks of October into the first week of November.

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