Whitmer leads gov. candidates in fundraising, has $12.6M in the bank

By: - October 25, 2021 7:22 pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at the Flint drive-in rally for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with former President Barack Obama, Oct. 31, 2020 | Andrew Roth

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer leads the pack of gubernatorial candidates in fundraising in the last period, raking in $3.1 million from July 21 to Oct. 20. Whitmer has $12.6 million in cash on hand going into her 2022 reelection bid. 

In a statement, Whitmer’s campaign said it had “shattered fundraising records.” 

“The campaign is grateful for the support of Michiganders in every single county as we work to re-elect Governor Whitmer so that she can continue to fight for Michigan families, small businesses and communities,” said Preston Elliott, Whitmer’s campaign manager. 

This comes after she raised a record $8.6 million as of July 20. However, $3.4 million of the amount came from contributors who donated more than the state’s campaign contributions limit. Under state law, a candidate for governor is allowed to accept $7,150 from an individual for the entire election cycle. 

However, Whitmer has been subject to various recall efforts, and although none have posed a serious threat, candidates who are facing recalls have not been susceptible to donor limits since donors in recall elections are not limited to a contribution total. Since no recall election has been held, excess funds will have to be returned or donated to charity or a party. 

Despite this, Whitmer still had donations that exceeded the $7,150 limit in the third quarter. Two such donations exceeded $50,000. 

James Craig in Detroit during gubernatorial campaign announcement on Sept. 14,, 2021 | Ken Coleman

The candidate with the second-highest in contributions last period was Republican former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who raised $1.4 million and has $966,873 in cash on hand. Craig launched his committee on July 21. 

“I’m humbled and honored at the out-pouring of support we are seeing from Michiganders across this state,” Craig said in a statement to the Advance.

Prominent donors to Craig’s campaign include former Govs. John Engler and Rick Snyder as well as former Michigan Republican Party Chair Bobby Schostak. 

Craig also had eight donations that exceed the state’s limit, with five donations at $14,300. However, those donations are being re-attributed to spouses and other amounts that went over the limit have been refunded according to the Craig campaign.

So far, 11 Republicans have formed committees to run for governor for the 2022 race. 

Garret Soldano, a chiropractor and activist from Mattawan, raised $495,979 in the third quarter and  $1.1 million total since the start of his campaign. Soldano currently has $473,615 in cash on hand. 

Tudor Dixon, a right-wing commentator, raised $215,115 and has $165,742 in cash on hand. In an unusual move, Dixon’s campaign announced that a SuperPAC backing her campaign — which is supposed to be independent — took in $200,000 from Kim Van Kampen, owner of Hampton Green Farm.

Ralph Rebandt, a pastor at Oakland Hills Community Church in Farmington Hills, reported raising $47,586 since July 21. Rebandt has $6,945 in cash on hand. 

Ryan Kelley, an Allendale Township planning commissioner who was at the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C., raised $45,125 while Michael Brown, a Michigan State Police commander, raised $14,448 in the last period. 

The state primary election is on Aug. 2, 2022. The general election is Nov. 8.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (left) and Attorney General Dana Nessel (right) at the State of the State address, Jan. 29, 2020 | Andrew Roth

In the Michigan attorney general race, Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel raised $451,117 last period and has over $1.4 million in cash on hand. 

On the Republican side, former House Speaker Tom Leonard raised $350,580 last period with $409,848 cash on hand. State Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Twp.) raised $206,930 and has $180,493 in cash on hand. Attorney Matthew DePerno, who has been endorsed by President Donald Trump, raised $76,598 with $47,102 in cash on hand. 

In the secretary of state race, Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson raised $449,766 this quarter with over $1 million left. State Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) raised $5,700 and had no expenditures. Kristina Karamo, who has been endorsed by Trump, reported $99,042 in funds raised with $116,886 in cash on hand. 

Republicans will pick their attorney general and secretary of state nominees at an April 2022 convention.

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Julia Forrest
Julia Forrest

Julia Forrest is a contributor to the Michigan Advance. She has been covering Michigan and national politics for two years at the Michigan Daily and OpenSecrets. She studies public policy at the University of Michigan.