Governors: NBC, citing data from AdImpact, reports that Democrats have dwarfed their GOP rivals in Michigan $16.5 million to $924,000 in ad spending for the general election for governor, with Republican nominee Tudor Dixon responsible for just $25,000. A separate study by the Wesleyan Media Project has also found that Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her allies ran over 4,600 commercials in the time between Sept. 5 and Sept. 18 while the Republicans aired all of 19 spots.
But Dixon, who has not run a single TV ad since her primary win nearly two months ago, doesn't see this as a problem at all. “Isn’t that sad that Democrats have to spend so much money?” she asked when a reporter inquired if she was perturbed by the lack of outside support for her campaign.
Dixon, who badly trails Whitmer in most recent polls, may be getting some help down the line because the RGA still has nearly $4 million reserved for her. However, that’s just a fraction of the $24 million that NBC says Whitmer and her backers have booked for the remainder of the campaign. Michigan Families United, which is funded by the DeVos family, could also step in to bail out Dixon, but so far it has just $330,000 reserved.
Dixon, though, isn’t the only GOP nominee for governor in dire straits financially. The GOP firm Medium Buying said on Thursday that three others also haven’t run any TV ads for the general election: Illinois’ Darren Bailey, Maryland’s Dan Cox, and Pennsylvania's Doug Mastriano. (All four were endorsed by Trump before their primaries.)
Minnesota Republican Scott Jensen isn’t exactly a member of that sorry clique, but he’s nonetheless facing a massive ad deficit in his battle to take down Democratic Gov. Tim Walz: According to Wesleyan, Democrats were responsible for a whopping 87% of the commercials that aired for this race in the two weeks it studied.
A major reason things are so lopsided is that the DGA affiliate Alliance for a Better Minnesota has spent nearly $9 million here, while Jensen has yet to get any outside help. A conservative group, the Foundation for Minnesota's Future, announced Monday that it would enter the fray, but so far, we haven’t gotten any information about how much it plans to spend or seen any of its ads.
There is one feeble fundraiser that Republicans are, however, not giving up on: Kari Lake, a Trump-backed election denier who won the early August primary over opposition from termed-out incumbent Doug Ducey, who happens to chair the RGA. Despite his earlier resistance to Lake's candidacy, Axios reports that Ducey's organization recently engaged in some creative reshuffling to maximize its investment.
The committee in fact canceled $6.5 million it had reserved to help Lake but then put that money toward a joint ad campaign from Lake and the Yuma County Republican Party. RGA political director J.P. Twist explained to Axios that this coordinated campaign can buy about $1 million worth of ads more than the group’s independent effort because of the more favorable advertising rates available to candidates.
But like many of her compatriots in other states, Lake herself had been off the airwaves since the primary. As a result, Wesleyan says that Democrat Katie Hobbs and her allies had aired 78% of the spots from Sept. 5 to Sept. 18. Lake, though, made use of her cash infusion to go on the air this week with a biographical commercial in which she touted her humble upbringing.
Until that spot went up, all the RGA’s commercials had attacked Hobbs without mentioning Lake, while Democrats have run both positive and negative ads. However, that’s now changed, and Lake and the Yuma County GOP are airing spots contrasting the two on immigration and taxes.
P.S. Axios also looked into why the RGA is partnering with the GOP in Yuma County—a relatively small county in the state's southwestern corner—instead of the state party. Twist merely told Axios that Yuma was a “better fit,” but he was far more vocal last year when state party chair Kelli Ward won another term after two dysfunctional years in charge. “And with that, the AZGOP will have no significant role in '22,” he tweeted after he learned the two-time failed Senate candidate had prevailed, adding, “No other option but to work with others. We’ve been here before. No big deal.”
Ward’s organization denied there was any friction between it and its would-be allies, though it snipped that its donors “value the fact that large percentages of their donor dollars do not go into the pockets of political consultants.” Hobbs, by contrast, has been airing ads in coordination with the Arizona Democratic Party.