LANSING, Mich. — Democrat Shri Thanedar said Tuesday he will spend $1 million to air 10 new TV ads in the governor’s race over the next two months, with an emphasis on giving positions on issues such as roads, education and the economy.
The new spots will air across the state starting Wednesday. The self-funded businessman and political novice had spent at least $1.2 million to run ads on network stations through late March — not including cable networks, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
“Voters everywhere will have the opportunity to learn more about me and the progressive agenda I want to take to Lansing,” said Thanedar, who again promoted himself as the “most progressive choice for governor.”
In a 30-second spot , he says he is an immigrant and that some people tell him he as an accent. He adds, though, that his ideas to fix the roads, improve public schools, create jobs and ensure health care for all show “we are more alike than you think.” The ad features people saying “Shri is just like me.”
In the nine other ads — 15-second spots — Thanedar briefly makes varied policy pledges such as improving road conditions , bringing “single-payer health care to Michigan” and eliminating for-profit charter schools so traditional public schools receive more funding. People in each ad say, “I agree with Shri.” His campaign intends to buy the first and last slots in a commercial break so viewers see two ads within a few minutes.
Thanedar, who has given his campaign nearly $6 million and is searching for a new manager, is the only Democrat to have run TV ads. Former legislative leader Gretchen Whitmer is considered the favorite for the Democratic nomination in a contest that also includes former Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed and retired business executive Bill Cobbs.
The ads have helped Thanedar rise in Democratic polling to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. The primary election is in August, when voters also will choose a GOP nominee from among Attorney General Bill Schuette, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, state Sen. Patrick Colbeck and Dr. Jim Hines.
In response to Thanedar frequently claiming to be the most progressive candidate, El-Sayed spokesman Adam Joseph pointed to reports that Thanedar initially was not committed to running as a Democrat and considered potentially seeking the Republican nomination or launching an independent campaign.
“A lie is a lie, even if you spend millions of dollars to tell it. Shri Thanedar lied about being a Democrat. He is not a Democrat, let alone a progressive,” Joseph said.
Whitmer, said spokeswoman Annie Ellison, has “broken records with her grassroots fundraising and the campaign is confident we’ll have the resources to communicate her message, which people across the state have been responding to in such a positive way.”
On Wednesday, Whitmer is poised to secure backing from the Michigan AFL-CIO. She already has been endorsed by 17 labor organizations representing 893,000 Michigan workers and retirees.