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Four Gubernatorial Hopefuls Have $1M In The Bank

August 1, 2017

Courtesy MIRS News

Three 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidates raised at least $1 million in the first half of 2017 based on campaign finance reports that were required to be submitted to the Secretary of State by day’s end Tuesday.

Overall, four likely gubernatorial hopefuls reported having at least $1 million in cash on hand after the end of the reporting period, which spans from from Jan. 1 to July 21. 

Political newcomer Shri THANEDAR, a Democrat, stole Tuesday’s headlines by plunking down $3.2 million of his own money into his six-week-old campaign. The Democratic Party’s perceived frontrunner, Gretchen WHITMER, reported raising $1.5 million from 6,000 donors. Thanedar has $3.1 million in cash on hand. Whitmer has $1.1 million 

A third Democratic candidate, Abdul EL-SAYED, checked in with $1 million, which is what he told supporters Friday, July 21 he would do. All told, El-Sayed has $644,000 in the bank. 

The fourth candidate of consequence, former Xerox executive Bill COBBS, put about $55,000 of his own money into his campaign and has raised a few grand more from around 80 contributors. He’s spent about half of what he’s raised. 

On the Republican side, perceived frontrunner Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE, who has yet to declare his candidacy, raised $903,000 in 2017 in his “Bill Schuette For Michigan” account, giving him $1.5 million in cash on hand. Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY raised $478,000 so far this year in his Lieutenant Governor campaign account, giving him $1 million in cash on hand. 

Of the two announced Republican candidates, however, Saginaw Dr. Jim HINES has the fundraising edge, raising $234,000 in 2017. However, 90 percent of the $429,640 Hines has raised since jumping into the race last year has come from his own pocket. He’s received about 100 donations from other sources. 

Hines is also burning through his money in petition signatures and consulting fees. He has only $6,056 in cash on hand. 

Sen. Patrick COLBECK (R-Canton) reported raising $61,486 in his campaign’s first six weeks, which didn’t include the money he collected at his campaign launch. He spent most of what he’s raised up to July 20 on consulting and bookkeepers and now has $23,000 in cash on hand. 

But Thanedar, the rags-to-riches Ann Arbor business executive originally from India, reported made arguably the biggest statement when he cut checks totaling $3.26 million in his campaign account.

Outside of his own money, he reported only a single $100 donation from a Washington D.C. man. 

He’s spent $25,000 on graphic design work, $40,000 on assorted consulting fees and another $15,000 on printing and other assorted expenses for $80,000 spent, leaving him with $3.1 million in cash on hand. 

“I am very committed to this race and winning the Democratic primary for Governor,” Thanedar said. “I want to go all out to make this happen. I have a vision for Michigan. I don’t like what I’ve seen in the six or seven years with complete Republican control in Lansing and I don’t like what how the Democratic race is going so far.” 

Thanedar said he plans to hire a fundraising director and a “qualified staff” to begin getting out his message. His plans going forward are to “criss-cross Michigan,” engage in discussions and talk about why he is the progressive candidate in the race. 

He’s hired 834 Designs out of Grand Rapids for graphic design work and Washington D.C.-based Indigo Strategies as a general consultant. Douglas FULMER of Tennessee is doing research for him. 

The $3.2 million Thanedar gave to his committee is more than the $2.7 million then-candidate Rick SNYDER, also an Ann Arbor business executive, gave to his gubernatorial campaign in all of 2009. Overall, Snyder spent $6.12 million on his winning 2010 campaign. 

Thanedar’s decision to dump more than $340,000 of his own money into his campaign opens the door for other candidates who want to qualify for state-matching dollars to spend beyond the $2 million cap in the primary. Next year, the gubernatorial candidates have the opportunity to match all of their in-state donations $100 or lower. 

Whitmer is declaring victory in the sense that she saved three out of every four dollars she raised and that 86 percent of her individual donations were for amounts $100 or less. Of her 6,000 contributors, 84 percent came from Michigan. 

The former Senate Minority Leader and Ingham County prosecutor got $66,000 from EMILY’s List, $64,000 from the Michigan State Utility Workers PAC, $51,000 from her own leadership fund, $26,000 from the Pipefitters Local 636 PAC, $20,000 from the Carpenter’s PAC and another $15,000 from the leadership fund of Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor). 

Among the 38 people who gave the maximum individual $6,800 contribution were her father, Richard Whitmer, Michigan State University (MSU) Trustee Joel Ferguson, MSU Trustee Dianne Byrum and University of Michigan Regent Shauna Ryder Diggs. Former Rep. Brian Banks also gave $3,400. 

“Gretchen Whitmer has built the largest movement of local grassroots support in this race because Michiganders know she puts people ahead of politics, and she’s going to shake up the status quo of Lansing,” said Whitmer campaign manager Jerid Kurtz. 

El-Sayed received no PAC money, but did receive maximum $6,800 contributions from 27 individuals, 15 of whom are from out of state. Of the total 3,716 contributions the former Detroit medical director reported to the Secretary of State, 58 percent are from Michigan and 42 percent are from contributors living outside the state. 

Also, with $644,324 in cash on hand, El-Sayed has spent 36 cents for every $1 he’s raised compared to Whitmer, who spent 25 cents for every $1 he’s spent. 

Much of his costs are on payroll. For his July 14 payroll, El-Sayed paid out $23,000 in salaries for nine employees. He’s also had several consulting and printing bills. 

Schuette is still raising money out of his Attorney General account until he announces for Governor. He’s reported having raised $905,000 for the year and $1.98 million for the campaign cycle, giving him $1.55 million in cash on hand. 

The Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association has given him $34,000 overall, the DTE PAC $31,000, the Blue Cross Blue Shield PAC $27,000 and the Consumers PAC $17,000. The 25 who gave him the maximum $6,800 contribution included Roger Penske. John Rakolta and Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe also gave $6,000. 

Calley has taken in $25,150 from the Michigan Chamber PAC, $38,350 from the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers and $10,000 each from the AT&T PAC and the Miller Canfield PAC. He’s had 33 individuals give the maximum $6,800 contributions which included William Parfet and Peter Karmanos. 

How Are Attorney General Candidates Doing? 

Looking ahead at the Republican nomination for Attorney General, House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt), a likely candidate, reported raising $136,000 in his House account and having $207,000 in cash on hand. 

Of the 228 contributions he recorded 106, or 46 percent, were from political action committees like those from the Auto Dealers of Michigan ($5,000), Jackson National Life ($3,000) and Molina Health Care ($3,000). 

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) raised $25,750 this year, giving her $199,000 in cash on hand. About half of her contributions came from PACs like those from CMS Energy ($5,500), Blue Cross Blue Shield ($3,575) and Pfizer Michigan ($3,000). 

Secretary of State? 

Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot showed Republicans he is serious about his bid to replace Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, giving $63,1000, from assorted personal committees to raise $72,500 overall. 

Sen. Mike Kowall (R-White Lake) reported raising $600 toward his Secretary of State bid, but he’s got $22,450 raised in his state Senate account and $19,000 in cash on hand.

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