The Democratic Governors Association has set aside $6 million to run TV and radio ads in Michigan on behalf of Democrat Mark Schauer and rolled out a new campaign and website June 11 blasting Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s economic record.
The DGA has already spent $1.9 million on TV ads in Michigan, compared to the $1.3 million spent on a Republican Governors Association broadcast air attack, according to Politico.
Politico also reported the newest Democratic campaign on behalf of Schauer is “for seven figures.”
The new ad campaign, “Online,” features Schauer, a former congressman from Battle Creek, Mich., saying Snyder’s economic policies have benefited the wealthiest in Michigan at the expense of the middle class.
The ad opens with a shot of Schauer in a manufacturing setting; then the camera pulls back to show that the Democrat is actually a video playing on a website that says, “Make Michigan Work For The Middle Class.”
Schauer says, “I’m Mark Schauer, and there is a lot we can do to make Michigan’s economy better.”
The camera then pulls back to reveal the computer screen on which Schauer is seen is actually in a school computer lab full of students.
This ties into the latest Schauer campaign theme that Snyder’s budget cuts have hurt public schools in Michigan.
“The education budget that passed today (June 10 by a legislative conference committee) is an insult to Michigan students and families. It does nothing to address the challenges that our students and teachers are facing every day in classrooms across the state,” Schauer said.
“The numbers in this budget simply don’t add up. Most schools will get about 29 cents more per pupil, per school day. At the current rate of inflation, this means districts will actually get less in next year’s budget than they did this year, which will likely result in more teacher layoffs and larger class sizes.”
The video also slams what Schauer describes as the Snyder administration practice of granting tax breaks to manufacturing companies even if they sent jobs overseas.
The Democratic Governors Association launched a website for Schauer that accompanies the ad, “OurMichiganEconomy.com.”
“Mark Schauer understands that a strong Michigan economy requires investing in education, high-tech research, and good jobs that support families,” said Danny Kanner, the communications director of the Democratic Governors Association.
“Governor Snyder just doesn’t get that – his policies have rewarded the wealthiest and companies that ship jobs overseas while punishing students, seniors, and middle-class families. Michigan needs policies that work for everyone, not just the very wealthy,” Kanner said.
“Online” is the fourth television ad that the Democratic Governors Association has run on behalf of the Schauer campaign in Michigan.
While the television ads and the new website use a wealth of statistics to attack the Snyder record, Schauer does not present a plan to improve Michigan other than “reversing” education spending cuts.
This plays into the counterattack voiced by Republicans that voters don’t know what Schauer stands for.
“Since launching his campaign one year ago, Democrat Mark Schauer has yet to offer a path forward for Michigan,” said Gail Gitcho, the communications director of the Republican Governors Association on May 28.
“Schauer is quick to criticize the real progress Governor Snyder has made, but offers no specifics on the issues most important to Michigan voters — whether it’s education, the budget, roads, Detroit, or the economy. Michigan deserves a governor with a proven track record of success, not someone who simply has no plan.”
Snyder has had a rocky couple of months. His good days have included deals to settle the Detroit municipal bankruptcy, chiefly approval of the state’s contribution to a proposed settlement to mitigate cuts to Detroit retiree pensions.
“People around the world know of our largest city’s proud past as well as the struggles of its difficult but necessary bankruptcy. May this proposed settlement now cast Detroit forever as an example of a community and a state pulling together and making tough decisions to create a brighter future,” Snyder said when the Michigan Senate approved the package on June 3.
A Detroit News poll shows 45.6 percent of Michigan residents support the way Snyder has handled the Detroit bankruptcy and 66.4 percent backed the state settlement to save the pensions of retired city workers.
He also signed bipartisan legislation May 27 raising Michigan’s minimum wage to $9.25 an hour by 2018, a move Snyder said would help “hard-working residents without hindering the state’s improving economy.”
Senate Bill 934 increases the minimum wage from $7.40 an hour to $9.25 over the next four years and would be adjusted to the rate of inflation or 3.5 percent, whichever is lower, starting in 2019. Tipped employees would have a rate that is 38 percent of the minimum, or about $3.51 an hour.
However, during the bad days, the Snyder administration has also had to deal with the news that hundreds of millions of dollars have disappeared from a projected $1 billion budget surplus.
Still, Snyder has the power of the incumbency behind him with a Detroit News poll in May showing the Republican has a 10-point lead over Schauer.
An EPIC-MRA poll conducted for the Detroit Free Press puts the difference at 9 points, in Snyder’s favor.
And the most recent polling also showed that Schauer has a real name recognition problem among his Democratic base, with many union members saying they plan to vote for Snyder.
(For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)