LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republican Gov. Rick Snyder raised about $5.1 million last year toward his re-election bid and not surprisingly starts the year with a financial advantage over his likely Democratic opponent, Mark Schauer.
The Snyder campaign said Monday that it would report having $4 million in the bank at year's end after spending $1.9 million in 2013. The Schauer campaign will report raising around $1.6 million and having at least $1 million cash on hand, a spokesman said.
Detailed campaign finance reports showing donors and expenses don't need to be submitted to the state until Friday. But Snyder's announcement was the first indication of his fundraising since a year ago and came as his campaign and the Democratic Governors Association prepared to run dueling TV ads more than nine months before the November election.
"We are in a strong position to communicate Gov. Snyder's positive plan to continue Michigan's comeback," said political adviser Kyle Robertson.
He said Snyder did not give his own money to the campaign or accept donations from political action committees. The former venture capitalist and computer executive spent $6 million of his own to win the 2010 GOP primary.
Schauer spokesman Zack Pohl said Snyder's disclosure confirms he "always has been on the side of the wealthy and the well-connected."
Though Snyder has not officially launched his re-election campaign, he all but did so in September at a Republican conference and quickly followed with a two-week TV advertisement campaign that cost at least $500,000 — an extraordinarily early ad blitz for a political campaign.
The first-term governor will run his second ad during Sunday's Super Bowl, for which ads are expensive but which helped him splash onto the political scene four years ago as "one tough nerd." The Democratic governor's group on Tuesday is expected to launch roughly $1 million worth of TV ads for three weeks.
Snyder is on the Democrats' list of most vulnerable GOP governors, and the Michigan TV ad will be the DGA's first anywhere this election cycle.
Snyder's 2013 fundraising haul is comparable to the last time an incumbent governor faced re-election. Then-Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm brought in just shy of $5 million in 2005. Republican businessman Dick DeVos raised $1.8 million that year, including $776,000 of his own money, and would go on to spend $35 million of his money in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat Granholm.
Schauer, a former Democratic congressman from Battle Creek, likely will be limited to spending $2 million until the August primary — for which he has no opponent — because he is taking public campaign funds.
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