State - Race for the Governorship Hoekstra speaks directly to voters in 2nd TV ad Candidate has spent far below opponents in advertising on airwaves

By Kathy Barks Hoffman

AP Political Writer

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra launched a new TV ad late Tuesday that focuses on what he'd do as governor while ignoring ads attacking his record in Congress.

The Republican's ad will run most heavily in western Michigan from around Kalamazoo north to Traverse City, an area that includes the 2nd congressional district he has represented for nearly 18 years. It will run statewide for a week, mostly on cable stations.

Spokesman John Truscott said the campaign is spending "tens of thousands" of dollars to air the ad. That's more than the $5,470 Hoekstra spent in May to fight back against his critics by briefly airing an ad trumpeting his conservative credentials. But it's far less than most of his Republican rivals have spent to get Michigan voters' attention.

The nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network reported last week that Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder had spent $1.5 million to air ads so far, while Attorney General Mike Cox had spent $1.16 million and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard had spent just under $100,000.

Hoekstra remains confident he can win without having to flood the airwaves if he can hold on to his base in western Michigan while getting some votes in southeast Michigan, Truscott said. Cox, Bouchard and Snyder all live in southeast Michigan and are expected to split the vote in the state's most populated region.

The new 30-second Hoekstra ad doesn't have the flashy graphics, catchy tunes or color video some of his rivals' ads contain. Instead, the black-and-white ad shows Hoekstra sitting on a couch in a room with a brick wall speaking directly to the camera.

"We are going to have a tax code that works for the taxpayers and not for special interests and not for lobbyists," he says. "Every day, I am going to wake up trying to make sure that we create a better economic climate for Michigan."

Truscott expects the ad to stand out with voters precisely because it's not flashy. "It's just kind of pure Pete," he said.

The campaign plans to make larger TV buys as the primary election gets closer and already has ads prepared. Hoekstra has no plans to run negative ads against his opponents, Truscott said, even though he has been the target of negative ads run by Cox and a free-market group based in Virginia, Americans for Job Security. Cox also is being helped by radio ads running in southeast Michigan paid for by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce

Truscott wouldn't say how much Hoekstra plans to spend on ads in the remaining four weeks, but judging by this week's buy, it's unlikely to ever match most of his rivals' spending. Only state Sen. Tom George hasn't run any ads in the GOP governor's race.

But that doesn't mean Hoekstra won't have any money. Two fundraisers are planned Friday in Bloomfield Hills and Grosse Pointe Shores with Mitt Romney, son of former Michigan Gov. George Romney. Mitt Romney won Michigan's 2008 GOP presidential primary and is considering a 2012 presidential bid.

Published: Thu, Jul 8, 2010

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