Whitmer raises money off GOP budget ‘obstruction’

Jonathan Oosting
The Detroit News
 Governor Gretchen Whitmer (left), tours the crumbling Contrail bridge at Miller Road with Paul Ajegba, MDOT Director, as they inspect the Dearborn bridge to address the need for increased funding to fix state-wide infrastructure
on Thursday, May 16, 2019

 Max Ortiz, The Detroit News

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s still-active campaign committee is raising money off GOP opposition to the first-term Democrat’s road funding and budget proposal, urging donations to help her promote the plan without mentioning it would require a 45-cent fuel tax hike.

Whitmer is not up for re-election until 2022 but put her name on a series of recent fundraising emails and a three-page mailer describing her proposed budget and plan to “fix the Damn roads,” which Republicans oppose because of the unmentioned tax hike.  

“Right now, Republicans in Lansing are trying to stop it from becoming a reality,” Whitmer said in one fundraising email. " We’ve got a plan to overcome their obstruction — showing them that the people of Michigan are demanding action and they want it now.”

Her June 18 email urged supporters to donate $18 to send “a message to Lansing” and “support my team’s work.” In a separate fundraising mailer, she suggested donations of $250, $100 or $50 “to help me pass my budget plan.”

It’s not clear how donations to her campaign committee would help Whitmer sell her plan to the public. A source close to the governor said the campaign is not helping fund budget presentations or running any sort of advertisements.

Instead, it appears Whitmer’s team is using the budget impasse as a “news hook” to encourage donations that could be used in her likely re-election campaign three years from now. It's possible her first-year budget could be a defining issue in that race. 

“P.S. The pressure is on to get this budget passed before the end of July,” said one fundraising pitch. “Please donate today!”

joosting@detroitnews.com