Jackson County candidate drops House bid after threat investigations surface

Benson, Nessel report record fundraising hauls in re-election efforts

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Lansing — The Democratic incumbents running for re-election as secretary of state and attorney general reported record fundraising amounts over the first half of the year. 

Attorney General Dana Nessel's campaign raised nearly $1.6 million through the first seven months of the year while Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's campaign reported receiving more than $2.1 million over the same period from Jan. 1 through Aug. 5. 

Nessel has $2.5 million on hand and Benson has about $3.2 million. 

Because the Michigan Democratic Party convention is a week earlier than the Republican convention, the Democratic candidates' filings were due Wednesday while their Republican challengers' filings aren't due until next week. 

Michigan attorney general candidates: Republican. challenger Matt DePerno vs. Incumbent Dana Nessel

The fundraising tally for Benson reflects voters' recognition that the "stakes are high," said Liz Boyd, a spokeswoman for the campaign. 

“They know that Secretary Benson has delivered on her promise to make it easier to do business with the Secretary of State’s Office, and she will fight to ensure elections are secure and accessible to every Michigan voter — be they a Republican, Democrat or Independent," Boyd said. 

Nessel's campaign said her fundraising haul comes in about $1 million over what was raised by Republican former Attorney General Bill Schuette when he ran for re-election in 2014. 

“Supporters are putting their money behind Nessel thanks to her tireless work on behalf of her constituents,” said Sarah Stevenson, a spokeswoman for the campaign. 

Benson will face off against likely Republican secretary of state nominee Kristina Karamo in November, while Nessel will work to retain her seat against expected GOP nominee for attorney general Matt DePerno.  

Michigan Secretary of State candidates: incumbent Jocelyn Benson, left, and Republican challenger Kristina Karamo

Benson's largest contributors include the Michigan Democratic Party, which chipped in $100,000; the Service Employees International Union, which gave $71,500; and the Washington, D.C.-based iVote Fund, which gave $64,350. 

Nessel also received $71,500 from the SEUI as well as $71,500 from the American Federation for State, County and Municipal Employees Union, $30,000 from United Auto Workers, and $15,000 from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters.

Both candidates received matching contributions of $25,000 from Emily's List Michigan and $20,000 from the Michigan Education Association teachers union.

Benson also received about $10,000 from Rock Holdings, $7,150 from director and producer Steve Spielberg, $2,500 from Henry Ford III, $9,000 combined from George Soros' daughter Jennifer Soros and son Jonathan Soros.

Nessel received $7,150 contributions each from Edsel Ford, Spielberg and Spielberg's wife, actress Kate Capshaw. Jonathan Soros also contributed $5,000 and Ford $2,500 to Nessel's campaign.

Nessel received $5,000 contributions from Rock Holdings and United Wholesale Mortgage.