After a year in bed with the Koch Brothers, Michigan needs a Schauer…. Snyder launches an unprecedented advertising blitz a full 13 months prior to election day. Does it mean he’s “running scared”?

Yesterday, online ads began running in support of Rick Snyder’s 2014 reelection bid. And, tomorrow, a one-minute television spot will begin airing in select Michigan media markets as well. (According to the Detroit Free Press, it will likely be running in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Lansing and Traverse City.) As this is a full 13 months prior to the election, and, as Snyder has yet to formally announce his re-election plans, folks are understandably puzzled. Many, it would seem, feel as though it means he’s in serious trouble. Among those who share this opinion is BJ Neidhardt, campaign manager for Snyder’s Democratic rival Mark Schauer. Neidhardt has said the television ad buy, which is completely unprecedented for an incumbent this far in advance of an election, is proof that Snyder is “running scared.” While I’m tempted to say Neidhardt’s comments should be taken with a grain of salt, seeing as how he’s a political operative working for Snyder’s opposition, the polling data I’ve seen thus far would certainly support his assessment… Here’s a clip from a June 4 report by Public Policy Polling (PPP).

PPP’s first poll of the Michigan Gubernatorial race since Mark Schauer’s official entry finds the Democrat leading incumbent Rick Snyder 42/38. PPP’s polling of this match up over the last six months has been very consistent- in March Schauer also led Snyder by 4 points and in December he had a 5 point advantage.

Schauer’s initial lead has a lot more to do with Snyder than it does with himself. Even after his official candidacy announcement, he has just 38% statewide name recognition. But Snyder continues to be one of the most unpopular Governors in the country with only 40% of voters approving of him to 52% who disapprove. He’s at 40/51 with independents and Democrats (78% disapproval) dislike him a good deal more than Republicans (68% approval) like him.

Schauer’s low name recognition at this point means that things could actually get worse for Snyder. The undecideds for Governor voted for Barack Obama by a 16 point margin, and only 22% approve of Snyder to 64% who disapprove. Those are folks likely to move into the Schauer camp once he becomes better known.

Snyder’s role in the passage of right to work legislation continues to be a big problem for him. Just 40% of voters support that law to 50% who oppose it, numbers that have not seen any improvement since the initial furor after it passed in December. Snyder continues to have issues with his brand, as only 34% of voters now consider him to be ‘one tough nerd’ to 45% who don’t…

If true, it’s absolutely devastating, and goes a long way toward explaining why Snyder’s team, flush with DeVoss money, would set out early to dust off the “nerd” schtick, and attempt to define the debate. (Interestingly, he’s no longer “one though nerd,” as he was during the past campaign, but “one successful nerd.” I guess you loose the ability to use “tough” when you repeatedly cave-in to the pressure of the tea partiers, homophobes and anti-union corporatists who you come up against.)

Here’s the ad, titled “Michigan is Back,” which will begin running tomorrow.

[A much longer version, which includes footage of Snyder snorkeling in a pool for some inexplicable reason, can be found online at]

Based on this single ad, which I found to be completely uninspiring, and the polling data noted above, I’m tempted to say that Schauer’s got a pretty good shot, assuming he doesn’t have any skeletons in his closet that cam be exploited during the mud-throwing stage of the campaign, but you never know when something huge might happen. For instance, what if a widely respected elder statesman, someone with true gravitas, like Donald “show me your birth certificate” Trump, were to weigh in on Snyder’s behalf?

Actually, that just happened a few days ago. The opportunistic, sad-haired tea party favorite took to Twitter to say the following.


The Donald’s ridiculous endorsement, as you might expect, was quickly responded to by Schauer.


One hopes that Schauer is as cutting in his ads, which are sure to begin airing shortly… Speaking of which, here’s an idea, if he wants it. It comes from our friend Robert.

“I’d like to see campaign ads run against Snyder stating ‘After four years of that, Michigan needs a Schauer.’ Maybe they could show Snyder making promises and then cut to a shot of a creepy Snyder look-alike in suggestive situations with seedy business interests.”

With a suggestively mispronounced reference to Snyder’s time spent in the company of the “Koch Brothers,” I think it could be really brilliant. Maybe, if they have the budget, they could even work in an appearance by Bill O’Reilly, knocking on the shower door with a loofah.

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  1. anonymous
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Snyder’s killing unions, taxing seniors, defunding schools and alienating the those who care about gay rights and reproductive freedom. It’s hard to imagine that he’ll be given another term.

  2. Taco Farts
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    I could swear Snyder originally stated his intention to be a one-term politician. Did the atrophied optimistic part of my brain just make that up?

    The Nerd is a Turd.

  3. Meta
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Concerning education, I received the following from Gretchen Whitmer yesterday. It looks like the Dems might finally be getting ready to strike back.

    Friends –

    It’s no great secret that Michigan has been falling well short on our commitment to our kids as we have cut billions of dollars from public education in recent years, shuttering schools across the state and even dissolving entire districts in the process. The Detroit Free Press’ Stephen Henderson recently wrote that the way Michigan is funding our public schools is “ham-handed and half-baked” and concluded that “We can do better. The state’s kids deserve it.”

    As a Mom, I certainly agree with that sentiment. We absolutely can do better and it’s time for all of us to start demanding we do.

    I joined with my Democratic colleagues in the Michigan House of Representatives yesterday to announce a renewed focus on education designed to put our schools, our students and our teachers first once again. We’ll be unveiling legislation over the coming weeks that will ensure money intended for schools can not be diverted away for corporate tax breaks and banning for-profit education corporations from receiving state tax money to operate schools. We will require charter schools and online schools to adhere to the same transparency and accountability standards as traditional schools. We’ll also be requiring the state to be a partner with our local school boards to better manage financial problems and making sure our school districts can’t simply be dissolved without the input of the local community.

    As we unveil the specifics of our proposals over the next few weeks, we want to hear what you think. The Senate and House Democrats will soon be holding Town Hall meetings together across Michigan to talk to you about how we can make Michigan’s education system work better and hear directly from you about the ideas that you have as well.

    Giving our kids the quality education they deserve should not be a partisan issue, but somehow that’s become the reality in Lansing as Republicans continue to erode the quality of our schools throughout the state. I hope you agree that it’s time for that to change and for Michigan to reinvest in ourselves by putting the education of our kids at the top of our priority list once again.

    We’ll be sharing the details of our proposals soon along with the dates and locations of our Town Hall meetings, but until then, please let me know your thoughts about how we can make Michigan’s schools the envy of the nation once again.

    Gretchen Whitmer
    Michigan Senate Democratic Leader

  4. Posted September 25, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I’m happy to hop on the not-Snyder bandwagon, but in 12 years in the Michigan legislature, 8 of them as a party leader (Assistant Democratic Leader 1999-2000, Senate Minority Whip 2003-2006, Senate Minority Leader 2006-2009) and two years as a US Representative, what has he accomplished other than getting pepper-sprayed? GovTrack rated him a “moderate Democratic follower” who consistently voted the party line (no wonder then that the Democratic establishment is happy to line up in his support). The only thing he sponsored that Congress passed was a resolution commemorating the 150th anniversary of W.K. Kellogg’s birth.

  5. Posted September 25, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    “he” referring to Mark Schauer, obviously not Snyder.

  6. Edward
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    cmadler, who would you suggest? It’s not like Michigan has a very deep bench, and everyone seems to be getting out of Schauer’s way. My sense is that he’s our guy, like it or not.

  7. Eel
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Should O’Reilly be holding a loofah or a falafel?

    Here’s the original quote that came out in his sexual harassment case.

    Bill O’Reilly: “So anyway I’d be rubbing your big boobs and getting your nipples hard, kinda’ kissing your neck from behind… and then I would take the other hand with the falafel [sic] thing and I’d put it on your pussy but you’d have to do it really light, just kind of a tease business….”

  8. Posted September 25, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I’m just wondering what Shauer has to offer other than not being Snyder? That in itself might be enough to get him elected, but I’d like to think we can set the threshold for Governor a little higher than that.

    You’re certainly right that Michigan doesn’t have a deep bench of up-and-coming Democrats — another failure of the same Democratic leadership that is now falling in line behind Shauer, and of which he’s been a part for more than a decade — but it seems like there’s got to be someone out there.

  9. Dennis
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    schauer has the benefit of liberal guilt. all of those so-called democrats that played around in the republican primary 4 years ago hoping to prevent a union-busting, school destroying, homophobe from becoming governor will come back to the democratic party in 2014.

  10. anonymous
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t O’Reilly a Harvard grad? How does he not know the difference between a falafel and a loofah? Or did he really want to accost her in the shower and put a falafel in her vagina? Is that a fetish that I’m not aware of?

  11. Elf
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    The men in control won’t hand over power that easily. A mountain of cash is going to be spent in Michigan this year. The television and radio stations will make a mint.

  12. Posted September 25, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t matter what any of us do. Snyder will win again.

  13. Posted September 25, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    That’s just the bacteria talking, Pete.

  14. Oliva
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    No, Peter, no!

  15. Schauer
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Snyder is already up on TV with a $500,000 buy. This is simply unprecedented.

    We really must have him on the ropes if he’s spending that much money so early in the race. But if we’re going to compete, we must double down on our efforts before Monday’s crucial deadline.

    Can you click here and contribute before the deadline? This could be a true game changer.

  16. Robert
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Snyder started spending money so early because the stealth polling the state GOP has been doing shows he’s in a lot of trouble with the voters. Essentially, every demographic feels either betrayed by him, or disappointed that he has been such a pathetic wimp, so easily dominated by the most self-serving and exploitive interests in the state.

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  1. […] to the amount of trouble that he’s in, as his former Democratic supporters abandon him, his opponent starts gaining momentum, and the right wing zealots in the Republican party continue their search for an ideologically pure […]

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