LANSING - The Michigan Supreme Court campaign moves into its final four weeks with candidates who are well financed and political parties that are fully engaged.
The six major-party nominees have collectively raised $2.26 million, so far.
Incumbent Justice Brian Zahra, a Republican nominee who was appointed to his seat in January 2011, is the top fundraiser, so far, with $624,952. Justice Zahra had a campaign balance of $529,784, as of September 28th. He is facing the electorate for the first time as a justice, running for a two-year term in office to complete the term of former Justice Maura Corrigan.
Incumbent Justice Stephen Markman, another Republican nominee, is the second-leading fundraiser with $562,547. Justice Markman, who is facing the electorate for the third time as a justice, had a fund balance of $480,194.
University of Michigan law professor and Democratic nominee, Bridget Mary McCormack, ranks third in funds raised and cash on hand. She has raised $413,056 and had $236,971 on hand on September 29th.
Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Colleen O'Brien, the third Republican nominee, ranks fourth in funds raised and cash on hand. She has raised $271,103 and has $158,358 on hand.
Wayne County Circuit Judge Connie Kelley, a Democratic nominee, has raised $246,082 and has $132,442 on hand.
Oakland County District Court Judge Shelia Johnson, the third Democratic nominee, has raised $142,645 and she had $90,886 on hand. Judge Johnson is slotted to run against Justice Zahra for the two-year term.
A review of the public files of state broadcasters and cable systems by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network shows that the Michigan Democratic Party has already spent $1.5 million for candidate-focused television "issue" advertising in the Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint/Tri-cities and Traverse City media markets. The Democratic Party will begin advertising this week in Lansing and Marquette and it has money in place for advertising in all six media markets straight through until Election Day.
The Michigan Republican Party is just beginning its television campaign this week and it, too, will be advertising statewide until Election Day.
"Michigan has become known nationally for our highly expensive Supreme Court campaigns," said Rich Robinson of the nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network. "It appears as though we'll be seeing another big-money race this year.