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Michigan Senate campaigns find deep pockets for ad spending

Oct 21, 2014

Michigan has seen a torrent of political ads in the Senate race between Gary Peters and Terri Lynn Land – more than 45,000, according to Center for Public Integrity.

Michigan has the third-highest spending of any state in a Senate race. Who's paying for these ads? Todd Spangler is the Washington reporter for the Detroit Free Press.

Michigan senatorial candidate Gary Peters
Credit Detroit Regional Chamber / Flickr

He says initially it looked like the Senate race would be competitive, but newer polls show Peters appears to have the edge. That's attracted a lot of outsider spenders.

On the Republican side, Spangler says some spenders include Joe Ricketts and his group, Ending Spending, which has donated more than $6 million; Americans for Prosperity and the Koch brothers, spending $5 million, although Spangler notes this was initial spending and that Americans for Prosperity has toned down its spending.

"The National Republican Senatorial Committee also pulled out some money," Spangler says. "They were in for about $1.6 million; they pulled about half of that out lately."

Spangler says Democrats get a lot of money from the unions and environmental groups, including NextGen Climate Action, which has donated about $3.5 million. Another donor to the senatorial race is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who supports Gary Peters campaign, as well as Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Snyder.

Spangler says Bloomberg backs both candidates because he believes both politicians run on centrist platforms. "You see a lot of similar people who give to one group giving to another – money sort of moving back and forth, shifting from here going to there," Spangler says. 

*Listen to Todd Spangler discuss Senate race spending above.