Democrats keep raising large cash sums in Michigan's U.S. House races

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News
Democrat Elissa Slotkin hopes to challenge U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop in the 8th District, which has been referred to as a benchmark for who will control the U.S. House.

Michigan Democrats continue to haul in big sums of money in competitive U.S. House districts with the primary election three weeks away. 

Democratic House hopefuls Elissa Slotkin and Gretchen Driskell each raised more money than incumbent Republican U.S. Reps. Mike Bishop of Rochester and Tim Walberg of Tipton, respectively, for the quarter ending June 30.

Slotkin topped $1.1 million for the reporting period — more than any other Democrat running for the U.S. House in Michigan. 

Slotkin, a former top defense official, has nearly $2.25 million in cash reserves, besting Bishop's $1.68 million war chest. Bishop raised just under $589,000 for the quarter, according to campaign finance reports. 

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report last week shifted the race in Michigan's 8th District from "leans Republican" to a toss-up. Slotkin's campaign said over 75 percent of donations in the past quarter were under $100.

The Bishop campaign has tried to portray Slotkin as captive to out-of-state interests. 

“Coastal elites continue to work arm-in-arm with D.C. insider Elissa Slotkin to try and buy this congressional seat,” Bishop consultant Stu Sandler said, highlighting the amount of donations she accepted from California and New York. 

“This effort of coastal elites to buy the 8th District does not sit well with voters.”

Slotkin campaign spokeswoman Laura Epstein criticized Bishop for taking donations from corporate PACs, which Slotkin has sworn off.

“Rep. Bishop only decided to run for Congress because he got a call from Washington insiders to do so,” Epstein said.

“To this day, he continues to do their bidding, supporting pharmaceutical companies and special interests instead of holding them accountable." 

Slotkin's rival in the Democratic primary, Chris Smith of East Lansing, generated about $46,000.

The office of U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, said the Massachusetts AG recently extended the deadline for applications from Dec. 15 to March 1.

Driskell, a former state lawmaker from Saline, brought in $100,000 more than Walberg, raising $408,200 to his $304,600. Walberg has more cash on hand with $1.15 million to Driskell's $897,000.  

"I think it’s a continuing pattern of success that female candidates are having in the 2018 election cycle," said David Dulio, who chairs the political science department at Oakland University. 

"We've seen it in fundraising. We've seen it in election results — the most recent being the primary in New York, where it continues to provide evidence that 2018 is going to potentially be the Year of the Woman 2.0."

Dulio was referring to the 1992 election when voters elected more new women to Congress than ever before.

13th District

In the race to succeed resigned Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Detroit, former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib continues to dominate the money race, generating more than $304,000 in the second quarter.

Rashida Tlaib.

Tlaib was followed by Westland Mayor Bill Wild with nearly $253,000 in receipts and Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones with $128,000. Jones has been endorsed by the United Auto Workers union and the Michigan AFL-CIO. 

Tlaib has more than double what Wild has on hand — $219,000 to Wild's $100,000. Jones had $53,700 in the bank as of June 30.  

State Sen. Ian Conyers of Detroit — the former congressman's great nephew — raised $93,200, and state Sen. Coleman Young II of Detroit brought in $15,200, including $6,000 he loaned himself.

11th District 

The Democratic primary in the 11th District, where GOP Rep. Dave Trott of Birmingham is retiring, candidates continue to report large figures.  

Entrepreneur Suneel Gupta reported nearly $407,000 in receipts, although that included $150,000 that he loaned his campaign from a San Francisco address, according to his campaign finance report. Gupta has $799,500 in cash on hand.

Gupta's home is in Birmingham but "through a clerical database update error, his address was reverted to an old address he no longer occupies," Gupta spokesman Jamaine Dickens said.

An amended report has been filed with the Federal Election Commission, Dickens said. 

State Rep. Tim Greimel of Auburn Hills hauled in $261,500 with $456,300 in cash reserves. Greimel has been endorsed by the UAW and Michigan AFL-CIO. 

Haley Stevens, the former chief of staff for the auto bailout, raised nearly $166,200 in receipts and had more than $340,200 in the bank.

Former Detroit immigration director Fayrouz Saad brought in nearly $120,800 and reported $313,700 cash on hand. 

In the 11th District Republican primary, state Rep. Klint Kesto of Commerce Township won the money race last quarter, raising $166,440 but with just under $20,000 cash on hand.

Bloomfield Township businesswoman Lena Epstein still has the most in cash reserves, with over $658,300 in the bank. Epstein reported nearly $143,000 in receipts for the quarter. 

State Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, said Thursday he expects some bills to pass out of committee next week.

State Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake Township, brought in nearly $114,300 and had $137,700 cash on hand as of June 30. Kristine Bonds, who was disqualified from the GOP primary, on Monday endorsed Kowall. 

Former state Rep. Rocky Razckowski of Troy had nearly $24,000, including $10,000 he loaned to his campaign. 

9th District 

Former state Rep. Ellen Lipton of Huntington Woods maintained a cash edge over Andy Levin of Bloomfield Hills in the Democratic primary to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Sandy Levin of Royal Oak, who is Andy's father.

Lipton reported $540,800 in receipts but loaned herself $289,800 of that amount. She had over $625,300 cash on hand as of June 30. 


Levin brought in just over $353,000 and reported nearly $430,800 in cash reserves. His campaign said 65 percent his contributions last quarter were $200 or less, and he has been endorsed by the UAW and Michigan AFL-CIO.

“Our team is working really hard to reach voters and spread our message of strengthening education and passing Medicare for all,” Levin said in a statement.

Republican Candius Stearns of Sterling Heights, who will face the Democratic winner in the fall, raised nearly $81,000 and had about $72,750 in cash. 

6th District 

Longtime U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, raised $687,700 last quarter and has $1.6 million cash on hand.

In the Democratic primary, former Kellogg lobbyist George Franklin brought in nearly $166,000 and reported about $259,600 in the bank. Physician and public health expert Matt Longjohn raised nearly $149,000 and had $261,000 in cash reserves.  

1st District 

Freshman U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, this quarter raised more than his potential Democratic challenger, Matt Morgan. 

Bergman brought in nearly $237,000 and reported about $480,500 in cash reserves. 

Morgan raised $181,470 and reported $385,800 in the bank. He is pursuing a write-in campaign after losing a legal battle last month to have his name restored to the primary ballot. 

Twitter: @nannburke