Whitmer has record $3.5M in bank for reelection campaign

David Eggert
Associated Press

Lansing — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reported having a record $3.5 million in the bank for her 2022 reelection campaign Monday, shattering what was raised by previous Michigan governors halfway through their first terms.

Whitmer, a Democrat whose profile has grown nationally in the past year, had collected nearly $5.6 million this cycle, through December. No well-known Republican challenger has entered the race.

“It's clear that Michiganders overwhelmingly trust Gov. Whitmer to lead our state through one of the most difficult periods in Michigan's history,” said Christopher Mills, senior campaign adviser.

Halfway into his first term, Republican former Gov. Rick Snyder had $828,000 on hand after raising $950,000. Ex-Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, had $1.3 million in the bank after receiving $3 million in contributions.

Whitmer's campaign said nearly a third of its donations came from new donors in the last quarter. It raised $486,000 between Oct. 21 and Dec. 31, for a total of nearly $3.8 million in 2020.

Whitmer has become known outside Michigan in the past year. She delivered the Democrats’ response to then-President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address last winter and took aggressive steps to curb the coronavirus in the spring, drawing protests and — when she criticized the federal pandemic response — Trump's ire.

She landed on Joe Biden's short list of possible running mates in the summer and was the target of an alleged kidnapping plot that the FBI foiled in the fall. A majority of the public has backed her handling of the pandemic, according to polling.

Three Republicans have created gubernatorial campaign committees: Ryan Kelley, a real estate broker from Ottawa County's Allendale Township who organized protests against Whitmer's virus restrictions; Bob Scott of Howell; and Army veteran Austin Chenge of Grand Rapids.

Two high-profile Michigan Republican leaders have said they don't plan to run in 2022. 

"I have no interest and no plans for running for governor in 2022 or beyond," said Senate Majority leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, a conservative businessman, told The Detroit News on Dec. 31.

A few days later, Macomb County Public Workers Commissioner Candice Miller said on Facebook she wouldn't enter the governor's race. "

Republican Candice Miller, a former congresswoman and longtime elected official in Michigan, announced Monday that she will not run for governor in 2022.

"I appreciate the support of the people of Macomb County in my recent reelection and I am committed to fulfilling my duties here," said Miller, a former U.S. House member and two-term secretary of state.

Detroit News Staff Writer Craig Mauger contributed.