Report: Statewide PACs break fundraising records

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    A report from the nonprofit Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) shows that the political action committees raising funds for the 2020 elections have already broken last cycle’s record, raising almost $14 million from January to July of this year.

    Susan J. Demas graphic

    That’s a 14% increase from this time period in 2017, when races for governor, attorney general and the state Senate were heating up. In 2020, state House members and some Michigan Supreme Court seats will be on the ballot, but the comparatively low-profile nature of those races hasn’t slowed down the accelerated pace of fundraising.

    The top fundraisers overall were the four Republican and Democratic caucus PACs, with the Republican House and Senate committees besting their Democratic counterparts for the first and second spots. 

    Among individual “leadership” PACs, committees for state House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) raised a combined total of more than $400,000, far more than his closest runner-up, House Speaker Pro Tem Jason Wentworth (R-Clare).

    Donna Lasinski

    Among state-level Democrats, the leadership PAC for Rep. Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.) was the top fundraiser, bringing in just over $84,000. 

    Top donors to the House Democrats’ PAC were Ted Snowdon of Ted Snowdon Productions; the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee; and the Future Now Fund, a national progressive committee and advocacy group. 

    Republicans’ top donors were former state GOP Chair Ron Weiser and his wife, former state Board of Education member Eileen Weiser; John and Nancy Kennedy of the company Autocam; and members of the Cotton family of the Health Plan of Michigan, who gave $65,000.

    The MCFN’s Craig Mauger reported that the House Republican Campaign Committee has “a large advantage in cash available at this point ahead of the 2020 election,” with $1.6 million in hand as of July 20. The House Democratic Fund had just $376,381.

    Derek Robertson
    Derek Robertson is a former associate editor of the Advance and is now a freelance writer in Chicago. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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