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Incumbents, Money and the Michigan Congressional Races

March 8, 2018

In electoral politics, money rules. This is the case with the upcoming Congressional races in Michigan, particularly the races in West Michigan. We take a look at the Michigan Senate race and the races in the 2nd and 3rd Congressional Districts, which are just 8 months away.

Senator Debbie Stabenow has $6 million more in campaign funds than her closest competitor, Republican Sandy Pensler, according to recent campaign finance data. Senator Stabenow has raised $11,428,649 and the leading Republican candidate, Sandy Pensler, has raised $5,015,888.

Stabenow, who is the ranking member of the Agricultural Committee, also sits on the Budget Committee, Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Finance Committee. Committee seats often determine what sectors candidates receive lots of money from during elections.

You can see listed here, the top 20 entities contributing to Stabenow’s re-election campaign. There are numerous financial entities, like Goldman Sachs, Rock Holdings (a subsidiary of Quicken Loans), Citigroup, BlackRock Inc and the Sterling Group. In the Energy and Natural Resources arena, Stabenow receives money from DTE Energy and CMS Energy. In addition, the Senator from Michigan has received funds from Ag sector companies such as DowDuPont, Monsanto and the Coca Cola Co.

Other notable contributors are Votesane PAC, which is a bipartisan group, which has contributed to more Republicans than Democrats and   the Blackstone Group, which is the largest real estate company in the world. The Blackstone Group has been the target of many popular movements and tenant unions around the globe, according to the group Right to the City

2nd Congressional District

In the 2nd Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Bill Huizenga ($873,441) is way ahead of the his challenger, Democrat Rob Davidson ($139,478).

Huizenga sits on the House Financial Services Committee and is Chairman of the Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment Subcommittee. Therefore, it is no surprise that nearly all of the top 20 contributors in the 2018 Elections are from the financial sector. 

3rd Congressional District

Of the three races we are looking at, the 3rd Congressional race has the least amount of money in it. Incumbent Rep. Justin Amash has raised a total of $382,709, with the three Democratic candidates raising a combined $35,000.

Amash sits on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and is part of the Subcommittee on Information Technology and the Subcommittee on National Security. Amash’s campaign contributors are more homegrown, with entities like Michigan Industrial Tools, S. Abraham and Sons, Wolverine Gas & Oil, Autocam Corp, Morning Star Company and the Windquest Group. 

However, Amash has also received sizable contributions from the House Freedom Fund, the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Libertarian Think Tank founded by the Koch Brothers, the Cato Institute

It seems pretty clear that in all three of these races, the incumbents, all of which have far big campaign war chests, will be the likely winner in the November 2018 Election.

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