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The money behind the candidates in Michigan – Part I: The Governor’s Race

February 1, 2022

On Monday, MLive ran two articles that focused on campaign finances and the Michigan Gubernatorial race. The first article was headlined, Rinke leads Republican fundraising for governor, but Craig collected more from supporters. The second article was headlined, Whitmer collects $2.5M for re-election, gives Michigan Democratic Party $3.5M raised for recall defense.

Let’s start with the campaign finances for Governor Whitmer. The MLive article provides readers with a total raised through the January 31st deadline, but most of the narrative consisted of the money she raised in anticipation of a recall campaign. In fact, there are no names of donors included, except one, which was money she returned because it was from the recall campaign.

The MLive article says that 92% of donors contributed $200 or less. However, this narrative is a bit misleading, considering that the top 550 contributors gave between $1,000 and $50,000. In other words, most of what Gov. Whitmer has raised in the past fundraising period is from large donors. Some of those donors are:

Michigan Education Association – $30,500

Operating Engineers Local 324 PAC – $15,000

Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 333 PAC – $13,000

Michigan Association for Justice – $10,000

Meijer Political Action Committee – $10,000

Blue Cross & Blue Shield – $10,000

Auto Dealers of Michigan – $10,000

Independence Blue Cross PAC – $7,000

Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers – $6,150

Michigan Bankers Association – $5,500

Ford Motor Company – $5,000

The MLive article on the GOP candidates for Governor, focused on the top two fundraisers Kevin Rinke and James Craig, with less information on a few of the other GOP candidates, like Garrett Soldano, Tudor Dixon, Michael Brown and Perry Johnson (who just announced, so there are no campaign finance records for him). Far Right candidate Ryan Kelley, did not even receive a mention in the article. If you click on the names of the GOP candidates who raised money during this campaign finance quarter, you can see who contributed to their campaigns. 

What is clear so far from the coverage, is that candidates who raise more money are given more attention, regardless of their platform or their previous involvement in electoral politics. As with most things in a Capitalist society, money rules.

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