GOP candidate for Michigan governor planning Super Bowl ads

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Republican Perry Johnson, the newest competitor in the race to be Michigan's next governor, is planning $1.5 million in advertising in the coming weeks, including commercials during the Feb. 13 Super Bowl game, his campaign said Tuesday.

The Super Bowl-tied ads will air in "most markets across the state," according to Johnson's campaign. The ads will appear in the pre-game programming, during the game or in the post-game coverage, the campaign said.

Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder used ads during the 2010 and 2014 Super Bowl games, events that gain widespread viewership, to boost his election efforts.

Republican Perry Johnson

Johnson's overall ad blitz will run from Feb. 13 through March 6, making it the largest advertising buy of the 2022 GOP gubernatorial primary race that's been publicly announced so far.

The news came a day after candidates had to file fundraising disclosures, which showed some of the top contenders had spent more money than they raised over the final two months of 2021.

"The failed field of candidates demonstrated in their campaign finance reports that they have failed to inspire support from the millions of people who are ready to replace Gov. Whitmer,” said John Yob, CEO of Strategic National, a political consultant who's helping with Johnson's campaign. "Launching this ad campaign at this time demonstrates that Perry Johnson is the only person who is ready to go the distance and defeat Gov. Whitmer."

Johnson, a businessman and self-described "quality guru," announced his campaign for governor on Thursday.

The 74-year-old from Bloomfield Hills is founder of the Perry Johnson Companies. He's one of 12 Republicans who've formed committees to seek the GOP nomination in the August primary. The winner will take on Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November.

As of Jan. 1, another self-funding businessman, Kevin Rinke, led the Republican candidates in the amount of money available to spend through their campaigns, according to disclosures. Rinke of Bloomfield Township has contributed $2 million to his effort and his campaign had $1.5 million cash on hand.

Whitmer, who was elected to her first term in 2018, easily bested the GOP contenders by having $9.9 million available as of Jan. 1. She reported raising $2.5 million during the final reporting period of 2021 from Oct. 21 through Dec. 31.

On Monday, Johnson, who hasn't had to file a fundraising report yet because he started his committee after the last period ended, vowed to match Whitmer's haul by putting $2.5 million of his own money into his own campaign.

Michigan's last Republican governor, Snyder, sponsored a 2010 Super Bowl ad that touted his "one tough nerd" theme before he won the GOP nomination as a political outsider in August 2010.

In 2014, he aired another Super Bowl commercial, which called Snyder "the comeback kid."

According to Johnson's campaign, his upcoming ad is titled, "Quality Guru."

cmauger@detroitnews.com