FACT CHECK: In Super Bowl Ad Perry Johnson Claims Credit for Governor Whitmer’s Strong Record Delivering Jobs, Accountability, and Results to Michigan Working Families

A major signal of his commitment to spend as many millions as it takes to buy his standing in the crowded and messy Republican primary for governor, newest candidate and self-funding millionaire Perry Johnson put $1.5 million behind a blitz to boost his name recognition, including a TV ad that aired during last night’s Super Bowl.

This buy brings the total amount of money spent on negative attack ads against Governor Whitmer to over $3 million since the 2022 cycle began.

Johnson’s ad both overinflates his record and levels a number of misleading attacks on Governor Whitmer. Here’s the facts:

Governor Whitmer Has Created Tens of Thousands of Auto Jobs and Attracted Major Manufacturing Deals to Michigan, Earning Her Praise From Across the Aisle.

Johnson opens his ad by taking credit for every single job in the American auto industry, but it’s Governor Whitmer that has been putting in the work. Since taking office, she’s created 20,000 auto jobs, 4,000 of which were just secured in GM’s historic $7 billion dollar investment in making Michigan “the ‘hub’ of electric vehicle development and manufacturing.” 

This “big win for Michigan” that represents GM’s “single largest investment announcement” in the company’s history was praised by Republican legislators, many of whom were brought to the table by Whitmer to secure critical bipartisan economic incentives. State House Speaker Jason Wentworth singled Governor Whitmer out for her demonstrated willingness “to work with anyone from either side of the aisle” to bring the GM deal across the finish line.

Johnson’s ad even features concrete proof that Whitmer’s leadership has once again made Michigan the hotbed of the auto industry, relying on a visual of GM’s Grand River assembly plant that will be one of the facilities benefitting from $510 million in upgrades as part of the auto industry giant’s “historic” investment in the state.

Governor Whitmer Has Cultivated Initiatives to Ensure All 83 Counties Can Economically Prosper, Kept Seniors Safe During the Height of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and Saved Taxpayers From Footing the Bill for Billions in Fraudulent Unemployment Claims

In the second half of the ad, Johnson rattles off a number of groundless attacks. First, he claims that small towns have been ignored while sidestepping the fact that Governor Whitmer recently created the Office of Rural Development to “improv[e] life in rural communities throughout Michigan” and aid efforts to boost economic and workforce development, improve infrastructure, and implements public health and environmental sustainability programs. 

And in the case of nursing homes, an audit completed last month determined that Michigan did not undercount or underreport the number of deaths in facilities across the state. Speaking to lawmakers, Auditor General Doug Ringler explained that it would be inaccurate “to say the state health department underreported COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities.”

While working taxpayers were getting back on their feet during the pandemic, Governor Whitmer’s Unemployment Insurance Agency also “prevented about $43.7 billion in fraudulent claims” and worked with federal and state law enforcement to prosecute over 50 cases of unemployment fraud

MDP spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite issued the following statement:

“Perry Johnson’s millions will do little to distract Michigan working families from Governor Whitmer’s strong record. Since day one of taking office, she has reached across the aisle to create good-paying jobs and ensure Michigan once again becomes an economic powerhouse for the auto industry. Additionally, she’s worked to make sure rural communities aren’t left behind. That’s not a track record that can be bought.”

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