Lansing – — Republicans led by Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette out-raised Democrats in 2013 and enter the 2014 election year with substantially more on hand, campaign finance reports filed Friday with the Michigan Secretary of State show.
The disparity has election implications for Democrats hoping to win back control of the House and the governorship. Republicans, aiming to maintain their hold on Lansing, start the year with a distinct advantage.
GOP legislative campaign funds were heavily stocked with money from Grand Rapids’ DeVos family, leading Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer of East Lansing to complain of “one very powerful family with limitless resources trying to buy the state Senate” in a fundraising appeal.
Nine members of the family gave $40,000 apiece to Senate Republicans’ campaign funds. Nine DeVoses gave a total of $340,000 to House Republicans’ campaign efforts, reports also indicate.
The Michigan Senate Republicans’ campaign committee out-raised Senate Democrats $445,593 to $64,000 in the most recent quarter and had a $1.6 million war chest; Democrats had $526,410, reports show.
Snyder reported a re-election trove of $4 million on hand toward his November bid for a second term. He took in $5 million during 2013 and spent $1.9 million, his filing shows.
Democratic contender Mark Schauer reported contributions of $1.6 million and just over $1 million on hand. Schauer, who is without opposition, has applied for public funds — limiting his campaign spending to $2 million for the August primary. Unions were his major donors..
Schuette reported contributions totaling almost $1.4 million and about that same amount in his re-election pot. Major donors of $34,000 each were the Meijer PAC, Michigan Chamber PAC, Blue Cross-Blue Shield and the Republican State Leadership Committee.
Schuette’s announced opponent, Michigan State University law professor Mark Totten, reported donations of $170,695, nearly $65,000 of which came from his own money, and had $128,411 on hand.
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson reported contributions of $417,000 for the year and had $527,000 on hand. Her leading donor, at $338,000, was her dentist husband, Don Nanney.