Stabenow outpaces GOP challengers in raising cash

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow outpaced her Republican challengers in fundraising during the first three months of this year, raising more than both of her top opponents combined.

Stabenow, who is seeking a fourth term, brought in nearly $1.63 million last quarter and had about $8.8 million cash on hand at the end of March, according to her campaign finance report.

Her top Republican challengers include John James of Farmington Hills, who raised $1.17 million — his best fundraising quarter since launching his campaign last summer.

He quadrupled the number of his individual donors since December, according to his campaign, and closed with $1.19 million cash on hand.

“It takes career politicians decades to build a donor base, and John has done it in a quarter, a testament to his strong message and conviction,” said Tori Sachs, campaign manager for James.

“The fact we have four times the donors we had in December is proof that John’s strong message focused on creating jobs and keeping Americans safe is resonating on social media and word of mouth considering the fact that we have yet to go on TV.”

GOP Grosse Pointe financier Sandy Pensler reported just under $80,000 in contributions for the three-month reporting period. He had nearly $3.98 million in cash reserves, after loaning his campaign $5 million last year.

“As I travel across this great state, our campaign to create jobs, secure our borders, fight for lower taxes and clean up Washington continues to gain support,” Pensler said in a statement.

“I have the resources and experience to run a successful campaign and a plan to create jobs and put Michigan First.”

James’ contributors included high-profile Michigan names, including Compuware co-founder Peter Karmanos and his wife Danialle; former Michigan GOP Chairman Bobby Schostak; philanthropist Phillip William Fisher; Michael Jandernoa, former chief executive of Perrigo; Michael Kojaian, owner of Kojaian Management Corp., and former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, who was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2014.

James also received a $250 donation last month from Paula White, the Florida pastor and televangelist who is President Donald Trump’s spiritual confidante.

One of Pensler’s donors was Matthew Moroun, whose family owns the Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit and Windsor. Moroun gave Pensler $2,700 last month, according to his report.

Stabenow is one of 10 Senate Democrats up for re-election in a state won by Trump in 2016.

Trump, who prevailed in Michigan by about 10,000 votes, plans to campaign in Macomb County on Saturday, hosting a rally in Washington Township, rather than attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C.

Trump has not endorsed in Michigan’s Republican Senate primary race.