Running for First: Outside groups spend millions in northern Michigan race

Oct 17, 2016

Democrat Lon Johnson and Republican Jack Bergman

Washington political groups are targeting northern Michigan airwaves this election season, spending millions of dollars in the race for the 1st Congressional District. Independent political groups representing Democrats and Republicans have spent $1.4 million on TV advertisements alone, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network reports.

“These are groups that do not locate their headquarters anywhere close to northern Michigan,” says Craig Mauger, the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Independent groups have spent around $2.1 million total on the campaign, Mauger says. 

Michigan’s 1st District, which spans the northern third of the Lower Peninsula and the entire Upper Peninsula, is expected to be one of the more competitive races in the nation this November 8. 



The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and House Majority PAC have both spent money on anti-Jack Bergman advertisements. 


The National Republican Congressional Committee has paid for anti-Lon Johnson TV spots. 

Mauger says around $4.5 million has already been spent in the race total, including spending by the candidates. But Mauger says he expects the number to approach the $10 million mark that was hit during the 2012 election. 

“There are three weeks of this to go until Election Day, and those numbers will continue to skyrocket if this race remains close,” Mauger says.