House, Senate GOP campaign committees outraise Democratic counterparts

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

The fundraising arms of the Michigan House and Senate Republican caucuses raised nearly double the amount of money as Democratic campaign committees for either chamber in the first quarter of 2022, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday. 

The fundraising hauls came as House and Senate Republicans aim to hold on to their majorities in 2022 under new voting district maps more favorable to Democrats. 

Senate Republicans hold a 22-16 majority in the upper chamber. House Republicans currently hold a 55-51 majority in the lower chamber and have four special elections in May to fill vacancies left by one Democratic lawmaker and three Republicans. 

The House Republican Campaign Committee raised about $1.2 million between Jan. 1 and April 20 and is sitting on about $4.2 million in cash on hand. The Senate Republican Campaign Committee raised about $1.5 million and has about $6.2 million on hand, according to their Monday reports.

By comparison, the Michigan House Democratic Fund raised $770,604 during the reporting period and has about $2.2 million on hand. The Michigan Senate Democratic Fund generated $801,721 and has almost $2.2 million on hand, according to the committee reports. 

“It’s clear people across the state recognize the opportunity we have in Michigan to flip the House in November and elect a Democratic majority that actually puts working families first,” said House Democratic Fund Campaign chairwoman Rep. Angela Witwer, D-Delta Township. 

House Republicans celebrated their fundraising haul as proof they were "delivering results" on issues such as infrastructure, police support and prescription drug costs. 

“I’m proud of everything House Republicans are doing both at the Capitol and back home in the district," said Rep. Greg VanWoerkom, the Norton Shores Republican who co-chairs the House Republican Campaign Committee. "We are putting in the work every day to earn the people’s trust and keep a Republican majority in 2023.”

Senate Democrats said the contributions to their fund reflect the "enthusiasm" of donors for the slate of candidates vying for Senate seats across the state. 

“We have bold candidates from the first district to the 38th, and with record-high fundraising, we’re going to be able to reach more voters than ever before to share our vision of leadership that is focused on solutions, not short-sighted political games and fear-mongering," said Sen. Winnie Brinks, the Grand Rapids Democrat who serves as the caucus finance co-chair.

House Republicans' largest donors were national donors, the Realtors Political Action Committee of Michigan, the Michigan Republican Party, Meijer PAC and the leadership political action committees for House Speaker Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, and Rep. Matt Hall, R-Marshall, who is vying with Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, to become the next House speaker should Republicans retain a majority in 2023. 

House Democrats' largest donors in the first quarter included national Democratic groups as well as the United Auto Workers union, the Michigan Democratic Party, Democratic Southfield Rep. Kyra Harris Bolden's campaign committee and the leadership PAC for House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski, D-Scio Township. The Meijer PAC and Realtors PAC also contributed to House Democrats but in smaller amounts. 

Senate Democrats largest donors included national Democratic groups and the campaign and leadership committees of several Democratic lawmakers including Sens. Sean McCann of Kalamazoo, Mallory McMorrow of Royal Oak, Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor, Jim Ananich of Flint and Brinks. Michigan Realtors, Meijer, the Michigan Laborers Union and Michigan Education Association were also large contributors.

Senate Republican donors included national GOP groups as well as the Meijer PAC, Realtors PAC, Ambassador Bridge owner Matthew Moroun, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser and the campaign and leadership PACs of several Republican senators including Sens. Aric Nesbitt of Lawton, Jim Stamas of Midland, Curt Vanderwall and Jim Runestad of White Lake Township.