Why these MAGA gubernatorial candidates have been 'largely missing on the airwaves': report
In the 2022 midterms, the Republican nominees in gubernatorial races range from traditional conservative incumbents like Ohio’s Mike DeWine, Georgia’s Brian Kemp and New Hampshire’s Chris Sununu to far-right MAGA candidates such as Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, Kari Lake in Arizona, Tudor Dixon in Michigan and Dan Cox in Maryland. Mastriano, Lake, Dixon and Cox have all been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, and all of them are conspiracy theorists known for promoting the false, thoroughly debunked claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
In an article published by Politico on October 11, journalist Zach Montellaro reports that Lake, Dixon and Mastriano have something in common when it comes to campaigning: all of them have been “largely missing on the airwaves.”
“Republicans in some of the most hotly contested gubernatorial battlegrounds are barely spending any money on television ads, if at all, according to a Politico review of spending in state races,” Montellaro reports. “And elsewhere, GOP candidates who are on the airwaves are nevertheless getting significantly outspent by Democratic opponents…. The spending disparity has been most acute in a handful of the most tightly divided states at the center of American politics: Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania.”
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Montellaro notes, however, that although Lake herself hasn’t been running an abundance of ads, the Republican Governors Association (RGA) “has spent heavily on the airwaves in Arizona” — and in Michigan, Dixon’s campaign “has some support from a super PAC backed by the powerful DeVos family.”
Between Lake, Mastriano and Dixon, Lake is, by far, the one who has been performing the best in polls.
“While there’s a big gap in spending in Arizona, there’s little separating Lake and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Katie Hobbs in public polling,” Montellaro observes. “Polling averages show them separated by less than a point, and Politico forecasts the race as a tossup. The same, however, cannot be said for Mastriano in Pennsylvania, where Democrat Josh Shapiro has clobbered him on the airwaves for months largely without a response, as Shapiro ran up a fairly comfortable lead in recent polls…. Dixon, the Michigan gubernatorial candidate, is also not on television herself, and she has been trailing significantly in recent polls.”
A Detroit News poll released in late September found Dixon trailing Democratic incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer by 18 percent, while a CBS News/YouGov poll released in early October found Whitmer ahead by 6 percent.
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Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, polls released in late September found State Attorney General Shapiro leading Mastriano by 11 percent (Fox News and USA Today/Suffolk) or 10 percent (The Hill/Emerson College).
Democrats, according to Montellaro, plan to keep up their “ad blitzes” in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Michigan.
David Turner, a spokesperson for the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), told Politico, “No matter the election year, states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona are always competitive swing states.”
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