Slotkin touts $2.6M fundraising haul for Rep. Bishop challenge

Jonathan Oosting
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.

Lansing — Democratic congressional challenger Elissa Slotkin raised more than $2.6 million in the third quarter, her campaign said Friday, announcing her latest fundraising haul 10 days before federal disclosure reports are due.

It’s the richest quarter yet for Slotkin, a former Obama administration defense official who is attempting to unseat incumbent Rep. Mike Bishop in Michigan’s 8th Congressional District. Slotkin had outraised the Rochester Republican through July 18, reporting roughly $3 million in contributions to his $2.2 million.

Her third quarter total is substantial for a U.S. House race and the kind of sum more often seen in a Senate contest. 

“I’m proud of the surge of grassroots support for our campaign,” Slotkin, who resides in Holly, said in a statement. “Republicans, Democrats, and independents are all telling me the same thing: They’re sick of the vitriol, and they’re sick of politicians who put their corporate donors before voters.”

It’s not yet clear who all donated to Slotkin because she has not filed her full disclosure report, which is due October 15. But her campaign stressed that she did not accept any money from corporate political action committees and supports campaign finance reform.

Stu Sandler, a spokesman for the Bishop campaign, pointed to online photos from late August that show Slotkin at the same California fundraiser as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Slotkin has said she would not back Pelosi as speaker if Democrats regain control of Congress.

“Elissa Slotkin has been fundraising with Nancy Pelosi in California and taking money from Hollywood liberals who want to pass their agenda,” Sandler said in a statement,. “Slotkin can call it whatever she wants, but she is powered by Nancy Pelosi.”

Slotkin spokeswoman Laura Epstein said the fundraiser in question was hosted by U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, another California Democrat. Pelosi also attended.

"Slotkin has repeatedly made clear she will not support Nancy Pelosi for speaker," Epstein said. "Two adults can be in the same room and disagree with each other."

Bishop has not yet disclosed his third-quarter fundraising numbers and has more than a week to file his latest report with the Federal Election Commission.

The Slotkin campaign has criticized Bishop over receiving donations from pharmaceutical companies under scrutiny amid the opioid drug crisis. But Sandler accused Slotkin of "gaming the system," noting that one of those same corporate PACs donated $2,500 to Democratic House Whip U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland in 2017 on the same day his campaign donated $2,000 to Slotkin.

While her filing is not yet official, it appears Slotkin has now raised roughly $5.6 million since launching her campaign in June 2017. Two years ago, Democratic challenger Suzanna Shkreli raised a total of $780,514 through the general election, which she lost to Bishop by 16.8 percentage points.

National experts are predicting a much closer outcome this year on Nov. 6. The 8th Congressional District race is rated a “toss-up” by the University of Virginia Center for Politics team that runs Sabato’s Crystal Ball, which said this week that Bishop is “the next Republican incumbent in danger of being moved to the Leans Democratic column.”