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Always follow the money: 2nd Ward Grand Rapids City Commission Race also sees a contrast in candidate donor amounts

October 31, 2022

Our most recent posts have taken a look at the campaign finances data for the 1st and 3rd Ward races. The most overwhelming factor in both of those races has been the fact that the Grand Rapids Power Structure has put all of their considerable money behind Andrew Robbins in the 1st Ward and Kenneth Hoskins in the 3rd Ward. 

I was curious to see if the same pattern was taking place in the 2nd Ward race, but unfortunately, the incumbent, Joe Jones, has not filed all of his campaign finance information. The deadline for filing was last Friday, so it seems a bit disconcerting to see an incumbent candidate be later with providing the public with their campaign finances. The County Clerk’s office sent a letter to the Committee to Keep Joe Jones, stating:

Please send the required Statement to the address listed below. If a required filing is not received in this office within 9 days of the due date, MCL 169.216(8) requires us to refer the matter to the Attorney General.

Joe Jones is running against Lisa Knight, who is a newcomer in the electoral arena. Knight did provide all of her campaign finance data, but we can get a sense of who is backing Jones, based upon previous data provided earlier this year, campaign contributions that were raised in 2021. 

However, people can draw their own conclusions, based upon the campaign finance data from the two 2nd Ward candidates. We have posted both the final campaign finance documentation for the 2022 election on the GRIID site, with the campaign finance data for Knight here and the data for Jones here. Editors note: This is incomplete data for Jones, plus the link provided for his data does not include $1000 from Michael Jandernoa, which was included in campaign finance reporting in early 2022. 

Joe Jones

Total raised: $14,000

Total spent: $ ?

Total # of contributions: 14

Largest contributors:

Political Action Committees and organizations



  • Mike & Gayle VanGessel, CEO of Rockford Construction – $2000
  • Daniel & Sharon Bowen, Principal Owner of Dempsey Ventures – $2000
  • Brian Britton, President & CEO, National Heritage Academies – $1000
  • Kalli Britton, Express Employment Professional – $1000
  • Darryl Elmouchi, President at Spectrum Health West Michigan – $1000
  • Rosalynn Bliss, Mayor of Grand Rapids – $1000
  • Mark Murray, Vice Chairman of Meijer – $1000
  • Christina Freese Decker, President & CEO of Spectrum Health – $1000
  • Michael Price, Retired – $1000
  • David Cassard, Mercantile Bank – $1000
  • David Quade, Regional President of Horizon Bank – $1000
  • Michael Jandernoa, Chairman of 42 North Partners – $1000

14 contributions were $500 or more.

Lisa Knight

Total raised: $12,332.77

Total spent: $10,847.65

Total # of contributions: 94

Largest contributors:

Political Action Committees & Organization

  • Equity PAC – $1500 


  • Tamara Vandenberg, The Meanwhile Bar Inc. – $1000
  • Deb Cleland, Retired – $500
  • Blythe Kaźmierczak, BlytheTalent – $500
  • Janay Brower, Public Thread – $500

5 contributions were $500 or more.

The numbers for the campaign contributions going to the candidates in the 2nd Ward Grand Rapids City Commission race speak for themselves and while we do not have the full picture of campaign contributions for Joe Jones, it is clear that those who have contributed have substantial political and economic influence in this community. With what information we do have, it is instructive the with the 14 donors listed in Joe Jones campaign finance information, he still raised more money than the total raised by Lisa Knight from the 94 contributors. 

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