Mitchell sinks $2.7M into Congressional race

Jonathan Oosting, and Chad Livengood

Lansing — Businessman Paul Mitchell has poured more than $2.7 million of his personal fortune into his bid for the Republican nomination in the 10th Congressional District, according to a new campaign report filed Friday.

Mitchell loaned his campaign $700,000 during the second quarter and raised just $5,391 in donations from 17 contributors, including a $2,700 maximum contribution from former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser, according to Mitchell’s campaign finance report.

The one-time owner and CEO of former Ross Medical Education Center has reported more than $428,000 in direct or in-kind contributions to his campaign and designated the remaining $2.3 million as loans. At the end of June, Mitchell had about $714,000 in cash on hand heading into the final five weeks of the race.

Mitchell’s spending has dwarfed his four opponents vying for the GOP nomination in the Aug. 2 primary to succeed U.S. Rep. Candice Miller in Congress, representing northern Macomb County and Huron, Lapeer, Tuscola and St. Clair counties.

State Sen. Phil Pavlov, a St. Clair Republican considered one of the top candidates in the race, raised roughly $115,000 in the second quarter, including a personal loan of $30,000 and around $85,000 in contributions. He ended June with $116,000 cash on hand.

State Rep. Anthony Forlini, R-Harrison Township, reported raising $50,210 from April 1 through June 30, $20,000 of which was a personal loan to his campaign, according to a Federal Election Commission report. Forlini had around $7,700 in cash on hand.

David VanAssche, a Shelby Township Republican and U.S. Air Force veteran, loaned himself $95,000 and received $15,000 in contributions for the quarter. VanAssche ended the period with around $2,000 cash.

Former state Sen. Alan Sanborn, R-Shelby Township, loaned himself $3,000 and raised another $4,095 from contributors. He also ended the period with around $2,000 cash.

1st District: Johnson outraises GOP candidates

Former Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Lon Johnson, D-Kalkaska, outraised his primary competitor and all three Republicans vying for an open seat in the sprawling 1st Congressional District.

U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, is not seeking re-election in the sprawling district, which includes the Upper Peninsula and wide swath of the northern Lower Peninsula.

Johnson reported more than $352,000 in contributions and ended the second quarter with around $245,000 in the bank. Fellow Democrat and retired military general Jerry Cannon of Traverse City raised just $2,865.

On the Republican side, political newcomer Jack Bergman lent his campaign more than $270,000 as he seeks to make in a 1st District primary that features state Sen. Tom Casperson and former Sen. Jason Allen.

Bergman, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general who lives in Watersmeet, reported around $66,000 in contributions to bring his second quarter fundraising total to nearly $337,000. He ended June with $242,000 cash on hand.

Casperson, R-Escanaba, reported $102,000 in contributions and lent himself $20,000, ending the period with more than $136,000 cash on hand. Allen, R-Traverse City, reported $109,000 in contributions and ended the quarter with $207,000 cash.

13th District: Conyers keeps on ticking

U.S. Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving active member of Congress, reported raising $112,000 for the quarter as he seeks re-election in the 13th District. The Detroit Democrat and Dean of the House ended the period with $85,000 cash on hand.

Conyers is seeking his 27th term in Congress but faces a Democratic primary challenge from Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey. She raised $20,155 in the second quarter and ended June with $10,700 cash on hand.

7th District: Walberg edges Driskell in general election preview

Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg of Tipton narrowly outraised 7th District Democratic challenger and state Rep. Gretchen Driskell of Saline, who is running unopposed in the Aug. 2 primary.

Walberg reported around $375,000 in contributions, including $208,000 from political committees and maximum donations from Agnes Moroun, sister of Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun, and Meijer president Mark A. Murray.

He ended the period with nearly $1.5 million cash on hand, compared to $1 million for Driskell.

Driskell raised roughly $350,000 in the second quarter, mainly from small donors. She got around $95,000 from political committees, including $5,000 contributions from several union groups.

Driskell has raised more than $1.4 million since entering the race in early 2015, compared to Walberg’s $1.5 million in contributions this election cycle.

11th District: Trott has cash advantage

Congressman David Trott, R-Troy, reported raising $145,000 for his 11th District re-election bid and ended the quarter with $683,000 cash. Democratic challenger Anil Kumar, unopposed in the primary, raised $12,621 after refunding a series of old contributions and ended the period with $245,000 in the bank.

8th District: Bishop raises $261,000

In the 8th Congressional District, incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop’s re-election campaign said he had raised more than $261,000 during the second quarter, ending the period with roughly $850,000 in cash on hand.

This spring, Bishop had been preparing to face Democrat and actress Melissa Gilbert, who had shown an ability to raise money with her connections in Hollywood.

But Gilbert abruptly ended her campaign for Congress in late May, citing debilitating health problems. Democrats recently since recruited Macomb County assistant prosecutor Suzanna Shkreli of Clarkston to replace Gilbert on the general election ballot.

Gilbert reported raising more than $81,000 for the quarter but refunded $75,000 in contributions. She ended the period with $149,230 left in her campaign coffers.