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Lansing — Democrat Shri Thanedar says his campaign for Michigan governor has already spent or committed $1.2 million on television ads, including the Super Bowl commercial that ran Sunday night in several state markets.

The 30-second halftime spot, titled “the name game,” used self-deprecating humor to introduce the Indian immigrant and Ann Arbor businessman to voters by poking fun at difficulties pronouncing his name.

“Hi, I’m Shri Thanedar; running for governor,” he tells a man in the ad, his first to feature his own voice.

“Free Darth Vader?” the man responds.

“No, Shri Thanedar.”

The founder and former CEO of the Avomeen chemical testing business is spending aggressively to boost his name identification after committing nearly $6 million of his own money to the race.

Thanedar is considered a long shot for the Democratic nomination and is fighting a lawsuit over the sale of his business. Other candidates include former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, former Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed and former Xerox executive Bill Cobbs.

Thanedar’s latest ad is expected to continue running across the state throughout February, according to his campaign.

He was among a handful of Michigan politicians and candidates who ran Super Bowl ads on Sunday.

Republican U.S. Senate Sandy Pensler ran a “Detroit tough” ad that highlighted his childhood in the city and work to turn around the Korex Corp. plant in Wixom that produces detergent products.

The Grosse Pointe businessman has committed $5 million of his own money to the race as he competes for the GOP nomination against Farmington Hills businessman John James for the chance to take on incumbent U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing, a Democrat.

GOP Gov. Rick Snyder, who is term-limited and cannot seek re-election, ran a 60-second touting economic gains under his watch while pushing to “accelerate and protect Michigan’s comeback.”

Jim Hines, a Saginaw obstetrician and Republican running for governor, ran his first television ad earlier Sunday morning on Fox News suggesting it is “time to put career politicians out to pasture.”

Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette, also running for governor, ran a football-themed online ad criticizing Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, his rival for the GOP nomination.

joosting@detroitnews.com

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