Pro-Romney groups go dark in Michigan

Conservative groups backing Mitt Romney have stopped airing ads in Michigan, an indication that Republicans might see the state as a likely win for President Obama in November.

Pro-Romney groups are pulling money out of Michigan, the state where Romney was raised and his father was governor, though they are continuing to spend money elsewhere to help the Republican nominee, according to The Associated Press.

The last pro-Romney ad to air in Michigan came from the super-PAC Restore Our Future during the Olympics, the AP found.

Obama's campaign, and a super-PAC that backs him, has also gone dark in Michigan.

Polling in Michigan has been trending in Obama's direction. The most recent average of polls from Real Clear Politics gives the president a lead of 2.4 points.

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The Romney campaign has long argued that Michigan would be in play this fall, even though Republicans haven't won the state in a presidential election since 1988. Obama took the state, which has a heavy union presence, by 16 points in 2008. 

Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) campaign essentially conceded Michigan to Obama in 2008, a decision that was publicly questioned by his running mate, Sarah Palin, and others in the party.

Michigan Republicans insisted to the AP that they remain competitive in the state, and the Romney campaign has given no indication that it plans to stop campaigning there.

The Obama and Romney camps have also stopped airing ads in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, according to the AP.

The Romney campaign hasn't aired an ad in Pennsylvania since April, although pro-Romney groups have been active there since then. The Obama campaign and pro-Obama groups have launched ads since then as well, but they, too, have gone dark in the post-Labor Day period, which is widely considered the start of the general election season.

The race for Pennsylvania does not appear to be as close as Michigan.

The president has consistently led in every poll of Pennsylvania since February, most recently posting a 9-percentage-point advantage in two consecutive polls. 


The Romney campaign is sitting on a vast reserve of funds that it has been collecting jointly with the Republican National Committee for the general election fight. They'll be able to spend that money when the general election officially starts — after the Democratic National Convention comes to a close on Thursday — and could quickly begin airing ads in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

During an event at the Republican National Convention last week, Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom noted that the campaign would have access to its general election funds, indicating expenditures could shift as the race continues.

"The money disadvantage goes away," Fehrnstrom said of the post-convention campaign season.

However, the Romney campaign is expected to run ads in eight battleground states beginning Friday, none of which are Pennsylvania or Michigan, according to a source tracking ad buys.