Schuette ups TV buy for closing argument
Lansing — With the election four days away, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s gubernatorial campaign on Friday went back up with television commercials in the Grand Rapids market three days after cutting all ad spending outside of Metro Detroit.
The Republican Governors Association is also putting some new money into the race in an attempt to help Schuette close the gap with Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, who has led public opinion pollsof the race and has been outspending her GOP rival.
The Schuette campaign is putting $160,000 into the Grand Rapids market over the final four days. The RGA is spending an additional $60,000 on broadcast ads in Grand Rapids and $70,000 in Traverse City, a smaller market where ads are less expensive.
An Oct. 25-27 poll of 600 likely voters for the Detroit News and WDIV showed Whitmer with an unchanged lead of 12 percentage points, but “Michigan races typically narrow close to Election Day” and some public surveys have shown Schuette gaining ground, said spokesman John Sellek.
“More resources are pouring in as we execute Bill’s strategy to win.”
The combined $290,000 in new spending does not fully replace the $445,000 in ads Schuette’s campaign cancelled earlier this week, including $222,000 trimmed from Grand Rapids. The RGA’s $70,000 ad buy in Traverse City surpasses the $51,000 Schuette’s campaign had planned to spend there.
In a new ad running in Detroit and Grand Rapids that serves as his closing argument, Schuette asks Michigan voters if they want to go “forward or backward, that’s Michigan’s choice this year.” It criticizes Whitmer for supporting a 2007 income tax hike signed into law by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat.
The tax increase was intended to be a temporary budget fix amid the Great Recession, but Gov. Rick Snyder and the GOP-led Legislature froze the rate at 4.25 percent in 2011.
Whitmer spokesman Zack Pohl said the fact Schuette “scrounged enough last-minute cash for a small TV buy” won’t “save” his campaign.
"After running out of money and cancelling advertising in nearly half the state, Bill Schuette demonstrated he can't handle a campaign budget, much less manage an entire state's finances,” Pohl said.
Schuette personally loaned his campaign $325,000 on Oct. 21. But Sellek said the new ad spending was made possible by additional fundraising.
Whitmer raised more money and outspent Schuette during the latest campaign finance period, pulling in $4 million in contributions between Aug. 28 and Oct. 21 compared with his $2.4 million.
As of last week, advertising data indicated the East Lansing Democrat and allies were poised to outspend the Midland Republican during the last week of the campaign, even with a $1.25 million assist from the Michigan Republican Party.