If you think you’ve been bombarded with TV ads in the congressional race between Republican Rep. Mike Bishop and Democratic challenger Elissa Slotkin, you are right on the money.
According to an analysis of television ad spending in congressional races, the Bishop-Slotkin contest ranks first nationwide at the close of the campaign, with an astounding $6.1 million spent in the final week. Some 10 or 15 years ago, that total in a competitive House race would likely amount to the TV price tag for an entire campaign.
But this is 2018, in the raucous era of President Donald Trump, and Michigan’s 8th Congressional District (northern Oakland County, Livingston County and Ingham County) has been labeled a must-win territory by both parties.
Kantar Media, a global market research company, found that the Michigan 8th is at the top of list for TV advertising in the final week and No. 2 in broadcast/cable ads for the entire campaign, $21.7 million, with one day to go before Election Day.
In these 2018 hyper-intense battles over the midterm elections, the Bishop-Slotkin standoff has easily emerged as the most expensive House contest Michigan has ever seen, according to the nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN).
In addition, the fundraising in Michigan’s 14 congressional districts combined for the general election stands at more than $36 million, another record-breaking amount. The MCFN reported recently that the previous high was $32.7 million in the 2010 election.
To be clear, the $36 million figure is based on campaign finance reporting as of Sept. 30, before the big final push by Democrats and Republicans, so the final numbers will certainly shatter previous numbers. The same applies to the $16.5 million spent as of Sept. 30 in the 8th District.
Those cash totals include money raised by the Bishop and Slotkin campaigns plus outside money provided by PACs, nonprofits and the two parties.
At the end of September, Slotkin, a former CIA agent from Holly who served three terms in Iraq, had raised $5.4 million. Bishop, a two-term congressman from Rochester and a former state Senate Majority Leader, had tallied $3.6 million.
Among the $7.4 million in outside cash raised overall at the time, Slotkin’s biggest backers were: the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $1.2 million; VoteVets, a “progressive” veterans’ group, $805,000; and the House Majority PAC, a committee devoted to electing Democrats to Congress, $783,000.
For Bishop, the stalwart financial supporters were: the National Republican Congressional Committee, $2.1 million, and a pro-Trump Super PAC known as American First Action, $759,000.