Leonard, Nessel enter final weeks of AG campaign with combined $1.5M on hand

Michigan Attorney General candidates: Dana Nessel, (D), left, and Tom Leonard (R).

The Republican and Democratic candidates for Michigan's attorney general will enter the final weeks before the Nov. 6 election with roughly $1.5 million in campaign cash between them.

The fundraising amounts represent historic cumulative totals for both Republican House Speaker Tom Leonard of DeWitt and Democratic Plymouth Township attorney Dana Nessel, though Leonard has more than double the cash on hand that Nessel reported, according to state filings.

Between the Republican convention and this week’s filing deadline, Leonard had raised roughly $280,000 and spent about $120,000. He has a little more than $1 million left.

His biggest contributors since the convention have included the Michigan Republican Party, which contributed $100,000, the Realtors PAC of MI, Auto Dealers of MI and the BCBS Michigan PAC.

Leonard's fundraising numbers mark a continued lead over his opponents and the largest cumulative total for an open attorney general seat, his campaign said.

"The campaign has a long way to go, and this is the team best positioned to go the distance and win in November," Leonard said in a statement.

Nessel’s campaign raised $347,000 in the same reporting period between Aug. 11 and Sept. 15 for a total of about $1 million raised throughout the campaign. She spent a little more than $144,000 in the most recent reporting period and has roughly $513,000 left.

Her biggest contributors were the Democratic Attorney Generals Association, which pitched in about $50,000, the MI Regional Council of Carpenters, the National Abortion Rights Action League and the IBEW PAC. 

Nessel's fundraising total is the most money raised by a Democratic candidate for attorney general in Michigan's history, her campaign said. 

“Our people-powered movement is working," Nessel said in a statement. "This November we’ll finally return the office of attorney general to the people.” 

Leonard’s Republican opponent, Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, ended her campaign with roughly $38,500 on hand after raising more than $600,000.

State filings show Democrat Jocelyn Benson continues to hold a decisive fundraising lead over Republican Mary Treder Lang in the race to be Michigan’s next secretary of state. As of Sept. 14, Benson had raised more than $1.1 million overall and had $950,000 in cash reserves, compared with $319,175 raised by Treder Lang, who had $46,202 in unspent funds.

Benson raised $134,845 during the roughly five-week period between Aug. 11 and Sept. 14 and reported receipts from eight separate fundraisers, including ones in Washington D.C. and California. The former dean of the Wayne State University Law School reported spending $21,398 for the period and $212,446 overall.

Benson’s top donors for the period included political action committees for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Michigan Laborer’s Political League, which each gave her $10,000.

Treder Lang raised $52,565 during the latest reporting period, including $6,505 from a fundraiser in Jackson. The Grosse Pointe Farms accountant spent $36,390 in campaign funds during the latest reporting period and has spent $272,972 overall.

Top donors to Treder Lang included Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser and his wife Eileen Weiser, who each contributed the maximum $6,800 allowed for an individual. Meridian Health Plan CEO Sean Cotton and his wife Nancy Cotton also contributed $6,800 each.

Michigan State University Professor Joseph Guzman, who competed with Treder Lang for the GOP secretary of state nomination, reported raising $16,368 for his grassroots campaign. Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot, who dropped out of the race in mid-August, had raised $144,618 overall.  


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