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Whitmer touts raising $3 million in 2017

Michael Gerstein
The Detroit News

Lansing — Democratic candidate for governor Gretchen Whitmer raised $3 million for her campaign in 2017, a campaign spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

Campaign spokeswoman Annie Ellison released the amount — generated by at least 9,000 donors — ahead of the filing deadline at the end of the month. The former Michigan Senate minority leader raised about $700,000 in the final few months of 2017.

Ann Arbor businessman Shri Thanedar — whose Democratic campaign is almost entirely self-financed — raised nearly $6 million by the end of October but has not released his latest campaign donation figures. His campaign did not immediately respond to a request for an updated fundraising total.

Thanedar has been touting in his latest television advertisement, which began airing on Thursday, that he does not accept money from corporate donors, although his fortune was earned through his own companies in St. Louis and later in Michigan.

Abdul El-Sayed, another Democratic hopeful and Detroit’s former public health director, raised about $1.6 million through October. An El-Sayed spokesman said the campaign will release its latest donation figures in their filing due at the end of the month.

Whitmer has the backing of some labor unions and is considered by many to be the party’s front runner. They include the Michigan Construction and Building Trades Council; the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights; the Michigan State Utility Workers Council; the Michigan Pipe Trades Association; the Michigan Joint Council of the Retail.

She has also been backed by a slew of Democratic representatives and former elected officials such as former Gov. James Blanchard and former Attorney General Frank Kelley.

But the former Ingham county prosecutor has not earned the endorsement of the United Auto Workers, which is one of the Michigan Democratic Party’s most influential interest groups.

“The people of Michigan have made it clear that they want someone who is in their corner and will fight for them,” Ellison said in a statement. “Whitmer is a proven fighter whose unprecedented coalition of support has demonstrated once again that she is our strongest candidate to take back the Governor's office, and she's ready to keep mobilizing Michigan for change.”

None of the Republican gubernatorial hopefuls have yet released updated fundraising totals.