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Always Follow the Money: Largest donors in State Senate races in West Michigan

November 3, 2022

Campaign Finance data for candidates for State Senate seats in the West Michigan was fairly predictable in terms of the amounts of money that were spent on these races.

  • In contests where one candidate raised no funds or very little, their opponent also raised a lower amount, but enough for mailers and other Get Out the Vote efforts.
  • Candidates from both parties relied heavily on contributions from Political Action Committees, funds set up by other politicians, and their county partisan headquarters.
  • The DeVos family members and one their associates contributed to 2 of the 5 State Senate races in West Michigan.
  • There was also over $1 Million total for media buys in the race for the 30th Senate District, which ran on local TV and cable services in this region. Media buys provide little incentive for broadcasters to conduct investigative or robust journalism about political contests, since they will pocket thousands of dollars.

18th District State Senate

Kai De Graaf (D)

No funds raised

Thomas Albert (R)

https://cfrsearch.nictusa.com/documents/537931/details/filing/contributions?schedule=*&changes=0&page=1 

Largest Contributions:

  • Southwest MI First PAC – $5000
  • MI Restaurant & Lodging Association PAC – $2500
  • Terri Land – $2100
  • Michael Jandernoa – $2100
  • Susan Jandernoa – $1900
  • Ionia County Republican Committee – $1750
  • Auto Dealers of MI PAC – $1750

20th District State Senate

Kim Jorgensen Gane (D)

https://cfrsearch.nictusa.com/documents/538240/details/filing/contributions?schedule=*&changes=0&page=1

Largest Contributors:

  • John Newman – $1650
  • Cynthia Evick – $1500
  • Cheryl Evick – $600
  • Barry Conybeare – $533

Aric Nesbitt (R)

https://cfrsearch.nictusa.com/documents/535723/details/filing/contributions?schedule=*&changes=0&page=1

Largest Contributors:

  • Small Business PAC – $10,000
  • MI Oil & Gas PAC – $5500
  • Michigan Aggregates – $5000
  • United Health Group Inc PAC – $5000
  • Auto Dealers of MI PAC – $4000
  • Michigan Altria Group inc PAC – $3500
  • Eli Lilly & Company PAC – $3000
  • ACPAC – $2750
  • Mannik & Smith Group Inc PAC – $2500

29th District State Senate

Winnie Brinks (D)

https://cfrsearch.nictusa.com/documents/535812/details/filing/contributions?schedule=*&changes=0&page=1

Largest Contributors:

  • American Federation of State County – $8000
  • Progressive Turnout Project – $5000
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of MI PAC – $4500
  • United Health Group Inc PAC – $4500
  • MEA – $3750
  • Auto Dealers of MI PAC – $3500
  • Justice PAC – $3250
  • Planned Parenthood of MI PAC – $2601
  • John Hunting – $2100

Tommy Brann (R)

https://cfrsearch.nictusa.com/documents/535896/details/filing/contributions?schedule=*&changes=0&page=1

Largest Contributors:

Tommy Brann – $123,750

  • Kent County Republican Committee – $10,000
  • TGIF Victory Fund – $7000
  • Nesbit Majority Fund – $5000
  • Compete Michigan PAC – $2500
  • Dick DeVos – $2100
  • Betsy DeVos – $2100
  • Pamela DeVos – $2100
  • Dan DeVos – $2100
  • Suzanne DeVos – $2100
  • Doug DeVos – $2100
  • Maria DeVos – $2100
  • Steve Ehmann – $2100
  • John Kennedy – $2100

30th District State Senate

David LaGrand (D)

https://cfrsearch.nictusa.com/documents/536047/details/filing/contributions?schedule=*&changes=0&page=1

Largest Contributors:

  • Michigan Senate Democratic Fund – $30,000
  • Curtis Hertel Jr for MI – $15,000
  • The PAC for America’s Future MI – $11,000
  • Ananich Future Fund – $10,000
  • Sabo for Michigan – $9750
  • Swing Left Michigan Left Fund – $7600
  • Brinks for Michigan – $7500
  • Operators Engineer’s Local 324 – $7000
  • MI Regional Council of Carpenters – $7000
  • SEIU Michigan State Council – $6000
  • Kent County Democratic Party – $6000

Mark Huizenga (R)

https://cfrsearch.nictusa.com/documents/536104/details/filing/contributions?schedule=*&changes=0&page=1

Largest Contributors:

  • Realtors PAC MI – $27,500
  • Nesbitt Majority Fund – $25,000
  • Compete MI PAC – $22,500
  • Nesbitt Majority Fund 2 – $21,000
  • Defending MI Values – $21,000
  • Compete MI PAC 3 – $20,000
  • Victory Values Fund – $11,000
  • Compete Michigan PAC 2 – $10,000
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield PAC – $8000
  • MI Oil & Gas PAC – $5000
  • Dick DeVos – $4200
  • Betsy DeVos – $4200
  • Pamela DeVos – $4200
  • Dan DeVos – $4200
  • Suzanne DeVos – $4200
  • Doug DeVos – $4200
  • Maria DeVos – $4200
  • Steve Ehmann – $4200
  • GR Chamber of Commerce PAC – $3300
  • John Kennedy – $3100

33rd District State Senate

Mark Bignell (D)

https://cfrsearch.nictusa.com/documents/535809/details/filing/contributions?schedule=*&changes=0&page=1

Largest Contributors:

  • Progressive Turnout Project – $3750
  • Newaygo Democratic Party – $1000
  • Mark Bignell – $874

Rick Outman (R)

https://cfrsearch.nictusa.com/documents/536075/details/filing/contributions?schedule=*&changes=0&page=1

Largest Contributors:

  • Realtors PAC – $9250
  • MI Action Committee for Rural Electric – $7000
  • 4th Congressional District Republican Committee – $5000
  • Auto Dealers PAC of MI – $4000
  • Health PAC – $3500
  • MI Oil & Gas PAC – $3000
  • Comcast Corp/NBC Universal PAC – $3000
  • Dow Inc PAC – $2000

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