Oct 3, 2022 - Politics

Democrats run the airwaves in Michigan's race for governor

Graph showing tv ads for Michigan's governor's race

Data: Kantar/CMAG with analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project; Chart: Madison Dong/Axios Visuals

Michigan has the widest margin between Republican and Democratic ad spending of any state's gubernatorial race, according to data from the ad-tracking firm AdImpact.

  • Incumbent Democrat Gretchen Whitmer is dominating the airwaves, as pro-Democrat ads aired 4,646 times from Sept. 5-18.
  • Groups supporting challenger Tudor Dixon aired just 19 ads in that same time frame.

Yes, but: The Michigan Republican Party just this week began its largest ad push of the election cycle, spending at least $100,000 on digital commercials hitting Whitmer as being "soft on crime," the Detroit News reports.

Between the lines: The gap could widen even further before Election Day.

  • Democratic groups supporting Whitmer have reserved $24 million in ads for the governor's race, while Republicans have reserved just close to $4 million, NBC News reports.
  • Most of the spending for Whitmer and Dixon comes from the Democratic Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association, respectively.

The intrigue: Whitmer is also ahead of Dixon in campaign funding. Dixon's latest finance report shows her with $523,000 on hand to Whitmer's more than $14 million.

The big picture: Abortion remains a top topic for Democratic ads, while Republicans are largely avoiding the subject.

  • Dixon has hit Whitmer over inflation and the economy, but in news conferences has focused her message on education, specifically giving parents more authority in public schools and keeping transgender youth out of sports.

What's next: The Detroit Economic Club is hosting a candidate forum with Whitmer and Dixon on Oct. 21. The two will appear separately on stage at the MotorCity Casino Hotel.

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