Cash hauls climb in Michigan U.S. House races

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Democratic challenger Elissa Slotkin outraised U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop for the second quarter, bringing in more than $440,000 and ending the year with $711,000 in the bank.

Bishop, a Rochester Republican seeking his third term, topped Slotkin in cash reserves – more than $971,000 after taking in about $306,500 in the last quarter, according to campaign finance reports.

In one of Michigan’s most competitive races, Bishop raked in the most money among the state’s GOP incumbents in Congress for the reporting period spanning Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.

“Supporters across the district recognize Mike Bishop help craft tax reform which will provide more money in people’s pockets and allow businesses to create jobs and invest in their workforce,” campaign spokesman Stu Sandler said in a statement.

Slotkin’s campaign stressed that most of her contributions have been from individuals, as she swore off donations from corporate political action committees.

“I’m proud to run a campaign powered by real people, by individuals, by hard work. Michiganders are sick and tired of their representatives being bought and sold by the big corporations who write the big checks,” Slotkin said in a statement.

Her campaign accepted $61,000 last quarter from nonprofit and issue-oriented political committees such as EMILY's List, the Human Rights Campaign PAC and several labor PACs.

Slotkin, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst who served three tours in Iraq, spent the last five years of the Obama administration at the Pentagon, most recently as a top adviser to two secretaries of defense on security and defense issues.

In the Democratic primary, Chris Smith of East Lansing is also running. Smith is a professor on leave from Michigan State University who officially began campaigning in December.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, maintains a strong cash advantage in her campaign for a fourth term, hauling in $1.9 million last quarter and reporting $8 million in the bank, according to a summary of her campaign finance report.

Her top Republican challengers include John James of Farmington Hills, a businessman who reported Wednesday raising nearly $691,800 last quarter, with about $647,270 cash on hand.

Grosse Pointe financier Sandy Pensler, also a Republican, has pumped $5 million of his own money into his campaign, which said Wednesday that his year-end report reflected roughly $5,008,500 in the bank as of Dec. 31.

11th District

Fundraising is heating up in the 11th District where a large field is competing to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Dave Trott of Birmingham.

On the Republican side, Bloomfield Township businesswoman Lena Epstein reported nearly $384,350 in receipts for the quarter, including another $315,000 she loaned her campaign. Epstein, who was recently endorsed by activist rocker Ted Nugent, had just over $1 million in the bank on Dec. 31.

Former state House Majority Leader Rocky Raczkowski of Troy reported $151,880 for the quarter, including $75,000 he loaned his campaign. He had nearly $141,200 on hand at year’s end.

Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt Heise, a former state lawmaker, had $123,650 in receipts, including $100,000 he loaned his campaign. He ended the year with $111,531 in cash.

State Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, raised $46,199 and hadn’t spent any of it.

Former U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Milford, and Kristine Bonds of West Bloomfield Township had not filed year-end reports with the Federal Election Commission as of Thursday morning.

On the Democratic side, Suneel Gupta raised about $503,800 last quarter, and the Birmingham entrepreneur had $468,200 on hand.

State Rep. Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, reported over $325,000 in receipts for his first fund-raising quarter, ending the year with more than $285,000 on hand. His campaign said more than 88 percent of contributions came from inside Michigan, and that he has received support from 15 labor groups.

Dan Haberman of Birmingham received $150,500, including $50,000 he loaned his campaign, and had $40,920 in cash on Dec. 31.

Haley Stevens, a Democrat from Rochester Hills, brought in about $131,200 in the last three months of 2017, ending with over $464,500 in the bank.

Fayrouz Saad of Northville reported $126,285 in receipts for the quarter and about $250,800 in the bank.

7th District

Democratic challenger Gretchen Driskell outraised U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, by about $20,000, reporting in $310,000 in receipts, including $50,000 she contributed to her campaign, according to her campaign finance report. The former mayor of Saline had about $419,350 on hand on Dec. 31.

Walberg defeated Driskell in 2016 by 15 percentage points. He took in just over $287,000 for the quarter and had nearly $773,600 in the bank at year’s end, according to his report.

6th District

Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, raised $216,000 in the last three months of 2017 and had over $1 million on hand.

Six Democrats are vying for the Democratic nomination in the 6th District, including former Kellogg lobbyist George Franklin, who reported $326,800 in receipts, including $100,000 he loaned his campaign. Franklin had $271,655 on hand as of Dec. 31.

Matt Longjohn of Portage, a physician and public health expert, raised $117,400 in the fourth quarter and reported $230,547 in the bank.

In the last two cycles, Upton faced Democrat Paul Clements, besting him by 22 percentage points in 2016. Clements raised $91,700 in the reporting period and had $141,262 cash on hand.

Others in the Democratic primary race include David Benac, Rich Eichholz and Eponine Garrod.

1st District

Another Democratic challenger raised more money than an incumbent Republican in northern Michigan, where Matt Morgan brought in $174,850 to GOP Rep. Jack Bergman’s $130,700.

Bergman holds an advantage in cash reserves with $220,845 on hand, while Iraq veteran Morgan reported $196,500 in the bank. Dwight Brady is also seeking the Democratic nomination.

9th District

Another seat up for grabs is the 9th District, where long-time Rep. Sandy Levin, D-Royal Oak, is retiring at the end of the term.

Levin’s son, Andy Levin, who is also a Democrat, raised $124,569 and had $113,920 on hand as of Dec. 31. Another Democrat, Martin Brook of Bloomfield Township, took in $7,799 and had $3,618 in the bank.

Republican Candius Stearns of Sterling Heights brought in $108,610 and had $100,466 on hand.

Other candidates in the race include Democratic state Sen. Steve Bieda of Warren; and former state Rep. Ellen Lipton, D-Huntington Woods.

Lipton brought in $257,000 during her first month of fundraising in January --  more than double Andy Levin's haul -- her campaign said.