Snyder Super Bowl ad: ‘Protect’ Mich. comeback

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — Gov. Rick Snyder won’t be on the ballot this fall, but with another election fast approaching, he’ll use his third Super Bowl commercial since 2010 to tout economic gains under his watch while pushing to “accelerate and protect Michigan’s comeback.”

The 60-second ad, first released to The Detroit News, suggests the term-limited Republican governor is working to shape his legacy and will use his remaining political and fundraising clout to support candidates who will continue his agenda beyond his time in office.

The ad harkens back to the “one tough nerd” Super Bowl ad Snyder used to introduce himself to voters eight years ago, along with the “comeback kid” ad he ran during his re-election campaign in 2014.

Michigan tried “career politicians” before but “it was clearly time for a nerd,” a narrator says atop familiar images of Snyder, a bustling Detroit and residents at work on various jobs.

Echoing his recent State of the State address, the ad notes the addition of more than 500,000 private-sector jobs over seven years, state budgets routinely completed early and steps to pay down long-term debt. It does not mention the Flint water contamination crisis, which the governor has acknowledged will also be part of his lasting legacy.

Michigan’s comeback has been “remarkable,” Snyder said in a statement announcing details of the ad. “We now kickoff the final year of my administration the same way we began this journey to reinvent Michigan, with Super Bowl Sunday, and highlighting Michigan’s talent and grit to succeed.”

With less than a year left as governor, Snyder also promised “to continue to work hard for the people of Michigan, up until my very last day in office.”

The commercial does not include any images of Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who is running to replace Snyder in a contested Republican primary that also features Attorney General Bill Schuette.

The governor’s Making Government Accountable 501c4 nonprofit is paying for the Super Bowl ad as part of what it calls an educational campaign to tell the Michigan “comeback story.” The total size of the ad buy is not clear but is also expected to include an online component.

A filing with the Federal Election Commission shows the fund will spend $12,000 to run a single pre-game ad on WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids. The MIRS subscription news service reported the ad also will run in Detroit, Traverse City and Flint television markets.

The nonprofit, which has run so-called “issue ads” before, is expected to remain active this year, along with Snyder’s “relentless positive action” political action committee, which directly supports candidates. In 2016, they backed six winning state House members.

The PAC this week disclosed $114,180 in contributions between Oct. 21 and Dec. 31. Businessman William Parfet, who helped fund Snyder’s gubernatorial campaigns, donated $100,000. The non-profit does not disclose donors.

The PAC ended 2017 with $261,300 in cash reserves after a $2,000 October donation to Republican state House candidate Rich Rossway, who lost the 109th District special election to Democratic Rep. Sara Cambensy of Marquette.