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Spending on senate race soars ahead of Election Day

Posted at 5:50 PM, Oct 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-22 13:53:46-04

MICHIGAN - You simply can’t escape them, and with just two weeks left until Election Day, radio, television and even the roadways are flooded with political ads. Close contests for U.S. Senate and governor are spurring spending in Michigan.

From the campaigns themselves, to political action committees, super PACs and others, the numbers in this nation are staggering: according to the Center for Public Integrity, more than 748,000 ads have been run and more than $321 million have been spent to air those ads.

“We haven't had a senatorial campaign get to this level of spending, previously - this century, anyway,” said Rich Robinson, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. “Again, most of the advertising viewers are seeing has been sponsored by, through third-party groups.”

Michigan is among the top spending states.

In the race for U.S. Senate between Democrat Rep. Gary Peters and Republican Terri Lynn Land, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network says more than $32 million have been spent on T.V. ads and with 14 days left until Nov. 4, that number is expected to rise. Much of the spending stems from so-called dark money – groups that don’t disclose their donors.

“That's not symmetric,” said Robinson. “More of the dark money is coming in behind Terri Land's campaign than Gary Peters.”

Both campaigns have released fundraising figures for the third quarter, running July 17-Sept. 30. During that time, the Peters campaign raised $2.09 million while the Land campaign receipts totaled $2.13 million.

If you include the 16 days prior, which is part of a separate reporting period, the Peters campaign raised $2.3 million.

During that time frame, the Land campaign raised $127,517.

Robinson says we’re in an age where there is a lot of money in the system.

“You can have a multi-million dollar experiment to see if you can move the needle,” Robinson explained. “I think the polls suggest that was unsuccessful, but of course we have to vote to find out if the polls are right.”

The question remains are the ads working?

According to polling aggregator, Real Clear Politics, Land and Peters were deadlocked in late April. Since then, Peters has widened his lead and the polling average now has him ahead nine points.