Money pours in to Michigan congressional campaigns

Competitive races for the U.S. House of Representatives are shaping up as money pours into campaigns across Michigan.

There are 14 seats up for grabs, with two races in which incumbents have decided not to run for re-election, and a newcomer will win the seat. The primary is Aug. 2 and the general election is Nov. 8.

In one of the most competitive primary races of the 2016 season — the 10th congressional district election to replace U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, a Republican from Harrison Township who is leaving office at the end of the year and running for Macomb County Public Works Commissioner — four Republicans are busy raising cash.

Retired businessman Paul Mitchell, a Republican who used $3.5 million of his own money unsuccessfully trying to win a different congressional district in 2014, has moved from Saginaw to Macomb County and put $1.6 million into the 2016 race. He has $1.4 million in cash available for the upcoming race, according to recently released first-quarter campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Also vying for the seat are state Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair, who has raised $247,596 and has $135,482 in available cash; state Rep. Anthony Forlini, R-Harrison Township, who has raised $28,540 and has $27,343 in available cash, and Alan Sanborn, a former state senator and representative from Shelby Township who has raised $48,608 and has $19,241 available. No Democrats have filed yet for the seat.

Other tough races are shaping up in southeast Michigan, where in the 8th congressional district, U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, a
Republican from Rochester Hills, is facing off against actress Melissa Gilbert of Brighton. Neither campaign finance reports was downloaded on the Federal Election Commission website by Sunday afternoon, but the campaigns said in news releases Friday that they both had good fund-raising quarters.

Bishop has raised $968,014 this election cycle and has $721,692 in available cash. His campaign finance report is populated with some of Michigan’s biggest business and political names contributing the maximum amount of $2,700, including Anthony Soave, Danialle and Peter Karmanos, Lansing developer Ron Boji, Ambassador Bridge owner Matthew Moroun, Court of Appeals Judge Henry Saad and former state Republican Party chairmen Robert Schostak and Ron Weiser, according to campaign finance reports.

Gilbert said she outraised Bishop in the first quarter, which ended March 31, with $318,901 for the quarter and $722,084 so far this election cycle. Her report is full of famous names from the acting world, including Jennifer Garner, Michael Douglas, Matthew Perry, Seth MacFarlane, her husband, Timothy Busfield, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, according to campaign finance reports.

In the 7th congressional district, state Rep. Gretchen Driskell, D-Saline, is coming close to even with incumbent  U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, a Republican from Tipton, in fund-raising. She has raised $1,149,454, including $60,000 she kicked in herself, and has $815,814 in available cash this election cycle. Walberg has raised $1,259,607 and has $1,237,845 available for the upcoming race this election cycle. Republican Doug North of Jackson has also filed to run for the seat but campaign finance reports weren't available for him.

In the other open seat in Michigan — the 1st congressional district that will be left vacant since U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, a Republican from Crystal Falls, decided against running for re-election — Democrat Lon Johnson, the former chairman of the state party, has a big fund-raising lead on all of his competitors, with $283,310 raised in the first quarter and $608,642 in cash for the upcoming race for the seat that covers the entire Upper Peninsula and a good chunk of the northern Lower Peninsula. His Democratic rival, Kalkaska County Sheriff Jerry Cannon, has raised $43,304 and has $7,176 in available cash this election cycle.

On the Republican side, campaign finance reports for the 1st congressional seat weren’t available yet on Sunday, but the campaigns said that former state Sen. Jason Allen of Traverse City has raised $172,881 and had $151,000 in available cash this election cycle while state Sen. Tom Casperson of Escanaba has raised $168,908 this election cycle and has $192,991 in available cash. Also running is Republican Jack Bergman of Watersmeet, but the FEC doesn't have campaign finance reports available for him yet.

Below is a list of other U.S. House races out of Michigan. Candidates are listed but campaign finance records for each were not all available on Sunday:

  • 2nd congressional district: U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, a Republican from Zeeland, has raised $702,265 and has $467,524 in available cash this election cycle. Democrat Dennis Murphy of Grandville also has filed for the seat. 
  • 3rd congressional district: U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican from Cascade Township, has raised $533,088 and has $381,605 in available cash. Democrat Douglas Mark Smith Jr. of Belmont has filed to run for the seat. 
  • 4th congressional district: U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, a Republican from Midland, has raised $548,275 and has $214,614 in available cash.  
  • 5th congressional district: U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, a Democrat from Flint, has raised $414,927 and has $263,765 available. Republican Terry Whitney of Waterford has filed to run for the seat. 
  • 6th congressional district: U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, a Republican from St. Joseph, has raised $1,973,235 and has $1,278,074 available for the race; Western Michigan University professor Paul Clements, a Kalamazoo Democrat, has raised $419,380 and has $310,739 for the race.
  • 11th congressional district: U.S. Rep. David Trott, a Republican from Birmingham, has raised $820,063 and has $529,170 available. Democrat Anil Kumar, a Farmington doctor who ran for the seat in 2014, has raised $443,265, including $630,613 he’s given to the campaign over the last two election cycles, and has $341,838 available. Republicans John Paul Valle of Commerce Township and Christopher Morse of Bloomfield Hills have also filed to run for the seat.
  • 12th congressional district: U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Dearborn, has raised $607,773 and has $467,414 in available cash. Republican Jeff Jones of Taylor has filed to run for the seat.
  • 13th congressional district: U.S. Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat from Detroit, has raised $382,301 and has $61,718 in available cash. Democrat Janice Winfrey, the Detroit city clerk, has raised $52,594 and has $19,739 in available cash. Republican Jeff Gorman of Garden City has also filed to run for the seat.
  • 14th congressional district: U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, a Democrat from Southfield, has raised $453,716 and has $186,814 in available cash. Democrat Vanessa Moss of Southfield has also filed to run for the seat.

Contact Kathleen Gray: 313-223-4430, kgray99@freepress.com or on Twitter @michpoligal

2016 © Detroit Free Press


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