By CRAIG MAUGER
Michigan Campaign Finance Network
LANSING — Candidates for Michigan governor combined to bring in $71,000 a day on average over the last three months. The primary election they’re collecting money for is still 10 months away.
According to new campaign finance disclosures, declared candidates for Michigan governor in 2018 have already collected about $12.8 million in contributions and loans. As of Friday, they still had about $10.2 million in their accounts left to be spend
Fundraising reports covering the period from July 21 through Friday, Oct. 20, were due to the Michigan Secretary of State's Office by 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Democrat Shri Thanedar, a businessman from Ann Arbor who is self-funding his campaign for governor, is driving the combined fundraising numbers upward. Thanedar loaned his campaign $2.7 million over the last three months. Since the beginning of his campaign, he’s chipped in a total of $5.9 million.
Gov. Rick Snyder gave about $6 million of his own money to his first campaign for governor in 2010. By the end of 2009, the off-year before the election, Snyder had only provided $2.6 million of his own money.
Thanedar’s campaign has reported spending $281,835 so far with $5.6 million still available on Oct. 20. The campaign has spent about $45,000 on Facebook and Google advertisements, according to the new disclosures. One of his Facebook ads shared a press release about the amount Thanedar had invested in his campaign.
“I’ve invested a lot into this campaign because I believe in Michigan and its future,” the ad’s text said.
In addition to Thanedar’s loans, about 20 other individuals have contributed to his campaign so far.
Other candidates for Michigan governor have raised money from thousands of individual donors but they haven’t been able to match Thanedar’s self-funding.
Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Midland Republican who formed his new campaign committee to run for govenror on Sept. 2, reported collecting $2.3 million by Oct. 20. Of that amount, $1.8 million came in the form of transfers from his attorney general campaign committee.
The last attorney general who ran for Michigan governor, Republican Mike Cox, had raised only $1.8 million for his gubernatorial campaign by the end of the off-year. Cox lost to Snyder in the 2010 primary election.
Schuette reported 3,017 individual contributions with some of his top contributors being Steven and Joan Gordon, of Bloomfield Hills, who gave $13,600, and William and Janice Currie, of Grand Rapids, who have gave $13,600.
The maximum amount an individual – other than the candidate himself or herself — can give a candidate for governor in Michigan is $6,800 per election cycle. So a married couple can give up to $13,600. A PAC can give a candidate up to $68,000.
Democratic candidates Gretchen Whitmer, of East Lansing, and Abdul El-Sayed, of Detroit, reported numerous maxed-out donors in their new reports. And both candidates are beating the fundraising pace of the Democrats’ last two nominees for governor.
Whitmer, the former Senate minority leader, raised $768,459 over the last three months for a new total of $2.3 million for the campaign. Her campaign has reported the most individual contributions at 13,394. It had $1.5 million still available on Oct. 20.
Over the last three months, the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters contributed $40,000 and members of the Cotton family, of Meridian Health, combined to give $27,200.
El-Sayed, the former director of the Detroit health department, raised $612,472 over the last three months. His campaign has raised $1.6 million since it launched in February 2017. El-Sayed has reported the second most individual contributions at 6,163. The campaign had $903,565 still available as of Oct. 20.
Over the last three months, his top contributors included Asim and Jazmin Khan, of Arizona, who gave $13,600, and Mamood and Naznin Khimji, of Texas, who also gave $13,600.
The 2014 Democratic nominee, Mark Schauer, had raised only $1.6 million by the end of 2013. The 2010 nominee, Virg Bernero, formed his campaign committee in December 2009.
As for other 2016 candidates, Republican Jim Hines, a doctor from Saginaw, reported raising $84,602 over the last three months. Democrat Bill Cobbs, a businessman from Farmington Hills, reported raising $32,781. For the entire campaign, Hines has raised $565,377 and Cobbs has raised $72,058. Both are largely self-funded candidates.
Bill Gelineau, a Libertarian from Lowell, reported raising $41,810 and Earl Lackie, a Republican from Royal Oak, reported raising $8,200.
Numerous other candidates for governor have pledged that they’re not raising more than $1,000 in order to get waivers from having to file campaign finance disclosures.
The disclosure for state Sen. Pat Colbeck, a Republican from Canton, wasn't available on the Secretary of State's website as of early Thursday afternoon.
A potential candidate, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, a Republican from Portland, reported raising $333,313 for his lieutenant governor candidate committee over the last three months. He had $1.1 million available in the account as of Oct. 20. That money could be transferred to a campaign for governor in the future if Calley gets in the race.
Over the last three months, Calley’s top contributors have included Sam and Ann Haddad, of West Bloomfield, who gave $13,600, and Clint and Courtney Masnour, of Bloomfield Hills, who also gave $13,600.
Of the announced candidates for attorney general, state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, a Republican from Lawton, has pooled the most money for her campaign committee so far. Her campaign reported $288,600 in contributions as of Oct. 20. Of that total, $200,000 came from her senate candidate committee, according to the Senate committee, and $25,000 came from a PAC tied to Schuitmaker.
The other GOP candidate, House Speaker Tom Leonard, a Republican from DeWitt, reported raising $236,559. Of his haul, $140,204 came from his state representative committee.
On the Democratic side, the candidates don’t have existing committees from which they could transfer dollars. Pat Miles, a former U.S. attorney from Grand Rapids, raised $189,778 by the Oct. 20 reporting deadline. He reported 579 individual contributions. Dana Nessel, an attorney from Detroit, raised $148,331 by the deadline. She reported 523 individual contributions.
Democrat Jocelyn Benson, of Detroit, who ran for secretary of state in 2010, raised the most money of the announced candidates for secretary of state in 2018. She reported $252,838 raised through 368 individual contributions.
She received $13,600 from Kara and Stephen Ross, of New York, $10,000 from the Miller Canfield PAC and $6,800 from Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy.
Republican Stan Grot, Shelby Twp. clerk, raised the second most. By Oct. 20, Grot’s campaign brought in $102,523. His top contributor so far this election cycle has been a previous Grot campaign committee, which gave $31,000.
Republican Mary Treder Lang, an Eastern Michigan University board member, raised $28,800. Republican Jose Guzman, a Michigan State University assistant professor, has raised $4,125 for his campaign.
Candidates will have to turn in their next disclosures in January 2018.