By Simon Albaugh – Yemeni American News
It’s no contest in the Michigan gubernatorial fundraising efforts. With more than $14 million cash-in-hand ahead of the primary, Whitmer far outranks the combined efforts of her Republican challengers.
In the pre-primary fundraising period, Whitmer gained a $9.5 million cushion for her campaign, adding to what is now $29.5 million ahead of the general election. With her campaign’s already existing expenditures, the Whitmer effort for re-election now has $14.7 million for spending leading up to the general election in November.
The Republican ticket for Michigan Governor has been riddled with controversy. Half of the candidates have already been disqualified because of a nominating petition scandal in May. It’s important to note that the candidates were not aware of signature fraud when the contractor they used was accused of fraud.
Now, the remaining candidates are making a meager effort in fundraising numbers. Combined, they don’t come close to half the funds that Whitmer currently has at her disposal. Combined, the Republican candidates for governor have garnered a total of $4,213,115.
By the Numbers
Transparency USA is an online database that presents campaign finance data in 12 states, including Michigan. With a mission “to provide clear, accurate, easy-to-understand information about the money in state politics,” Transparency USA presents the campaign finance data surrounding each candidate in the Michigan Gubernatorial election.
According to Transparency USA, the leading fundraiser in the Republican primary was Kevin Rinke. Garnering just over $2 million in contributions, Rinke also gained the reluctant endorsement of the Detroit Free Press, with the paper calling him “the least dangerous candidate in the Republican primary.”
Next is Garrett Soldano, who gained $1.37 million for his campaign. Soldano, who believes that Michigan’s elections were fraudulent, calls for a full forensic audit of the 2020 election, a common talking point for garnering an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.
Tudor M. Dixon garnered just over half a million dollars from donors. In polls, Dixon has been leading the pack in polling numbers. In a recent Detroit News / WDIV poll, Dixon has earned 19% of republican voters in the state, even while almost 40% of republican voters are undecided as of last week.
Ralph Rebandt is the trailing candidate. Ranked last in polling numbers as of last week, Rebandt is also second-to-last in fundraising efforts. With his $234,000 in campaign contributions, the pastor from Woodhaven, Mich. is one of the least likely candidates to make it past the primary.
Trailing last in fundraising is candidate Ryan D. Kelley, who raised just under $100,000. His campaign is also rife with controversy as he’s about to stand trial for misdemeanor charges related to his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Whitmer’s Popularity and the Republicans Lack of it
With many of the former frontrunners gone from the Republican race, voters are being asked to consider what’s left of the field. Stemming from a contractor who turned in fraudulent nominating petitions, the former frontrunners of the race that included James Craig, former police chief for Detroit, will no longer have a chance to appear on the ballot.
This left Whitmer with a good chance for re-election. And with no Democratic challengers to Whitmer’s candidacy, the campaign contributions have been rolling in. According to a press release provided by the Whitmer campaign, the governor has received almost $30 million in contributions.
The Whitmer campaign also touted what they saw as grassroots support for her campaign. Her campaign says that over 43,000 individual donations, with 94% of them being under $200, have helped her reach such massive financial status for her campaign. Maeve Coyle, communications director for the Whitmer campaign says the campaign is proud to also enjoy contributions from every county in Michigan.
“Governor Whitmer is fighting to cut costs for hardworking Michigan families, strengthen public education, repair roads and bridges, and create good-paying jobs,” Coyle said. “Our campaign is proud to have the support of Michiganders in every single county as Governor Whitmer keeps working with anyone to deliver on kitchen table issues that matter most.”
Whitmer’s popularity shows that she has a strong position leading into the Primary Election on Aug. 2. However, with criticism surrounding Whitmer’s treatment of the COVID-19 pandemic and massive spending during the height of state-wide lockdowns, a Republican candidate does have a very real chance once a candidate becomes clear after the Primary.