Snyder has $1.8M, Schauer $1.4M for final campaign push

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau
Snyder, left, and Schauer

Lansing — The cost of Gov. Rick Snyder's bid for a second term has surpassed what the former business executive spent in 2010 getting elected to the state's highest office.

The Republican governor's campaign reported Friday having spent $12.45 million this election cycle, blowing past the nearly $11 million Snyder spent in 2010, including about $6 million of his own personal fortune.

Snyder's first foray into electoral politics in 2010 included winning a bruising five-man GOP primary before breezing to victory over Democratic Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero in the general election.

But Snyder's re-election campaign has grown more costly this fall as former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer of Battle Creek has remained close in the polls.

"(Schauer has) forced the governor to campaign pretty hard and Virg Bernero, I don't think, never really did that," said David Dulio, chairman of the political science department at Oakland University. "As it has stayed close, Snyder has had to spend more money."

Snyder's campaign said Friday it raised $2.5 million during the past two months and had $1.8 million in the bank for the final 10 days before the Nov. 4 election.

Schauer reported having $1.37 million in cash on hand for the final stretch of the campaign after raising $1.6 million from 18,000 contributors and spending $2.22 million during a two-month period that ended Sunday.

"Our campaign is firing on all cylinders," Schauer spokeswoman Cathy Bacile Cunningham said.

Friday was the deadline for all statewide candidates to disclose their fund-raising and campaign spending activities with the Secretary of State.

During the Aug. 26 to Oct. 19 reporting period, Snyder's campaign spent $3.5 million, mostly on a television advertising blitz that began airing after Labor Day and has not let up.

Saul Anuzis, a former Michigan Republican Party chairman, said Snyder has had to use the airwaves to respond to Schauer's campaign claims on education funding, tax cuts for businesses and the economy.

"Schauer's willingness to play very loose with the facts have been damaging," Anuzis said. "The Democrats and Schauer very effectively used the billion-dollar education cut lie. … Whenever an issue has an effect, you're forced to react and that costs a lot."

Snyder's campaign committee still reports $5.1 million in debt owed to Snyder from the 2010 campaign. This year, Snyder has not loaned his campaign any money, instead relying on donors to fill his campaign war chest.

"Whenever you're an incumbent, you tend to have a greater ability to raise money and greater ability to spend money," said Anuzis, noting the cost of elections continues to rise.

Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette's re-election campaign reported having $1.08 million in cash on hand for the final two weeks of his campaign against Democrat Mark Totten, a Michigan State University law professor from Kalamazoo.

Schuette's campaign spent $1.3 million from Sept. 13 through Oct. 19 and raised $434,000, a campaign finance report said.

Totten raised about $340,000 during the period, spent $406,000 and had $105,000 in the bank for the final two-week stretch, according to his report.

In the secretary of state race, Democrat Godfrey Dillard outraised Republican incumbent Ruth Johnson from Sept. 13 through Sunday, $72,283 to $55,900. That was largely because of a $34,000 contribution the United Auto Workers union made to Dillard's campaign.

Johnson reported spending about $365,000 on her re-election campaign during the period, leaving her with $44,186 in cash on hand. Dillard, a Detroit attorney who didn't become a candidate for the seat until this summer, reported having $49,866 for the final two weeks.