By CRAIG MAUGER
Michigan Campaign Finance Network
LANSING — A Northern Michigan doctor dipping into his own wallet, a Detroit incumbent trying to fend off primary challengers and an ex-lobbyist running in Jackson County are drawing big dollars into three of the most expensive House races so far in 2016.
Campaign finance reports for State House candidates were due on Friday — days before the Aug. 2 primary election. The reports, the first disclosing any dollars given to the candidates in 2016, covered fundraising between Jan. 1 and July 17.
As of Sunday afternoon, 244 House candidates had turned reports in. Combined, they reported raising $5.1 million.
Among the largest donors were members of the DeVos family who had given $178,000 total to 20 GOP House candidates. Nine members of the family gave maximum contributions of $1,000 each to 18 candidates while two other candidates received maximum contributions from eight members of the family each.
Below is a run-down of the 16 House races drawing the most cash and a summary of where that money is coming from:
The wife of the current 103rd District representative and a doctor from West Branch are pushing large amounts of cash into the GOP primary in the 103rd.
Republican Vijay Kumar has given $89,000 to his own campaign in 2016 as of July 17. That’s almost all of the $89,153 he’s raised. When you factor 2015 in, Kumar has given his campaign $139,000.
Kumar is trying to beat out Daire Rendon, wife of term-limited Rep. Bruce Rendon (R-Lake City), in the primary. Daire Rendon has been raising money from current GOP lawmakers and traditional GOP power donors.
The DeVos family gave her campaign $9,000. She also received money from political action committees (PACs) controlled by her husband ($7,500), by Speaker Pro Tem Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) ($2,500) and by House Whip Robert VerHeulen (R-Walker) ($2,500).
There are four Democrats running for their party’s nomination but Jordan Stancil, of Grayling, has raised the most money by far in 2016. He reported $26,555 in fundraising from 182 individual contributions.
Republican John Griffin, of Jackson, who was previously a registered lobbyist in Michigan for 29 years, has raised the most money in the open 64th District so far in 2016. He reporting raising $92,125 between Jan. 1 and July 17.
Griffin gave his own campaign $10,000 and received another $10,000 from the Michigan Petroleum Jobbers PAC. Before retiring, he most recently worked for the American Petroleum Institute. He received some large contributions from oil and gas interests, including $1,000 from Robert Tucker, executive with West Bay Exploration, and $1,000 from the Marathon Employees PAC. PACs connected to multi-client lobbying firms also gave to Griffin. The Muchmore, Harrington, Smalley & Associates PAC and the Karoub Associates PAC each gave him $500.
However, the Michigan Farm Bureau is supporting Jackson County Commissioner Julie Alexander, another Republican in the 64th. She’s raised $37,153 in 2016 with $10,000 coming from the Farm Bureau. A PAC controlled by Rep. Earl Poleski (R-Jackson), who currently holds the seat, also gave Alexander $1,000.
The third Republican in the race is GOP businessman Phil Tripp, of Jackson. Tripp raised only $1,400 during the period. But he’s previously given his campaign about $35,000 and is running broadcast TV ads. On the Democratic side of things, Rev. Ron Brooks reported raising $13,200 in 2016 with a majority of it, $7,400, coming from himself.
Rep. Brian Banks (D-Detroit) is facing a slew of primary challengers in his push to win a third term. But fundraising dollars are coming to his aid.
Banks reported raising $92,705 between Jan. 1 and July 17, the most any House candidate has reported so far in that period. He received large donations from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters ($8,000) and the Michigan Health and Hospital Association PAC ($5,000).
The United Auto Workers chipped in $2,500, and the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association gave $3,300. According to Banks’ report, Matthew Moroun, of the Detroit International Bridge, gave $2,000, according to the report, despite the fact the individual giving limit is $1,000. Of Banks’ primary opponents, attorney Pamela Sossi raised the most. She reported raising $30,288 with $14,797 coming from herself.
The 24th District is an open seat currently held by the GOP that both Republicans and Democrats are hoping to win. Macomb County Commissioner Steve Marino, a Republican, reported raising $69,270 so far in 2016. He gave himself $35,100 and received $9,000 in contributions from members of the DeVos family.
Meanwhile, Democrat Dana Camphous-Peterson, a former Macomb County commissioner, reported raising $58,097. She received $5,000 from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, $2,500 from Emily’s List and $1,000 from Thomas Brisse, president of McLaren Hospital.
Democrats want to retake this open swing district but first they have to sort out a crowded primary. Labor support is divided among three Democratic candidates, who each raised more than $20,000 between Jan. 1 and July 17.
Brownstown Twp. Clerk Sherry Berecz raised the most at $37,555. She received $5,000 from Emily’s List and $2,500 from the Michigan Women Win PAC. Trenton City Council member Steve Rzeppa raised the second most at $36,646 with support from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) ($10,000) and the Operating Engineers ($10,000). Teacher Darin Camilleri, of Brownstown, raised $21,115 with support from the Teamsters ($1,500).
Rzeppa had the most cash on hand at the end of the period at $35,157.
Term-limited Rep. Pat Somerville (R-Somerville) currently holds this seat, and Republicans will try to keep it in their hands. Republican Bob Howey, a member of the Trenton City Council, raised $36,697 during the period. Howey gave himself $5,000 and received $1,000 from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce PAC.
According to the new campaign finance records, Democrat Abdullah Hammoud, of Dearborn, a health care adviser at the Henry Ford Health System, is out-fundraising his six primary opponents in this Democrat-leaning open district.
Hammoud reported raising $78,285 so far in 2016, coming from about 350 individual contributions. He gave his own campaign $5,000, and his donors included the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce ($1,000) and the Michigan Association of Realtors PAC ($1,000).
Democrat Jacklin Zeidan, of Dearborn, raised the second most in the reporting period at $19,865. The third most was raised by Democrat Roxanne McDonald, a member of the Dearborn school board. McDonald received support from a committee tied to the current 15th District representative, Rep. George Darany (D-Dearborn) ($2,500) and from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ($1,500)
There are two Republicans and one Democrat in the race for the open 99th District seat, which is expected to be a battleground.
Democrat Bryan Mielke, a Union Twp. trustee, who ran for the seat and lost in 2014, has raised the most so far in 2016. He reported $69,348 in contributions between Jan. 1 and July 17. Mielke received big support from the Operating Engineers ($10,000), a PAC controlled by Minority Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) ($5,000) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ($5,000).
On the GOP side, Robin Stressman, a real estate agent from Mt. Pleasant, has raised the most at $26,025. Her top donor was a PAC for the Michigan Association of Realtors, which gave her $5,000.
Republican Roger Hauck, a Union Twp. trustee, reported raising $24,447 with $2,500 coming from the Michigan Farm Bureau and $2,000 coming from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Hauck also gave his own campaign $5,000.
This will likely be the third time that Rep. Holly Hughes (R-Montague) and former Rep. Collene Lamonte (D-Montague) face off for the 91st District seat. Hughes has won once. Lamonte has won once. In the last fundraising period, Lamonte reported raising $83,505; Hughes reported raising much less, $29,200.
However, Hughes has a stockpile of campaign funds from previous years with $112,369 cash on hand as of July 17. Lamonte had $99,728 cash on hand. Hughes’ top donors so far in calendar year 2016 included the Michigan Farm Bureau PAC ($2,500) and House Speaker Pro Tem Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt)’s Michigan Values Leadership PAC ($2,500).
Lamonte’s top donors included the SEIU Michigan PAC ($10,000), the Operating Engineers ($9,500) and the West Michigan Plumbers, Pipe Fitters and Service Trades ($9,000).
Like the nearby 24th, the 30th District is another open battleground district in Macomb County. There are contested primaries on both sides. There are two Democratic candidates, but Michael Notte, son of former Sterling Heights Mayor Richard Notte, is raising the most money on that side of the aisle. He raised $34,564 during the period with $5,000 from Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and $2,500 from the Michigan Education Association.
For the GOP, financial support is aligning behind Diana Farrington, wife of Rep. Jeff Farrington (R-Utica), who currently holds the 30th seat. She reported $58,629 in contributions. She received a $10,000 contribution from Jeff Farrington’s leadership PAC and $9,000 from DeVos family members.
Another Republican candidate Michael Shallal reported raising $13,850.
A three-way Republican primary is helping drive dollars into the open 20th District. Jeffrey Neilson, an attorney from Northville Twp., has raised the most money so far in 2016 at $42,604. Neilson received $2,500 from the Business Leaders for Michigan and $1,000 from the Michigan Chamber. He also reported $36,500 in in-kind contributions from himself.
Republican Chris Roosen, of Northville Twp., reported raising $18,720 with $1,000 coming from the Michigan Association of Realtors. The third Republican in the race, Jeff Noble, of Plymouth Twp., reported raising $16,385.
Democrat Collen Pobur, a Plymouth City Commission member, reported raising $25,936 so far in 2016. The Michigan Women Win PAC gave her $2,500, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association’s Health PAC gave $2,000, and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm gave $500.
The 101st District is an open swing seat that both Democrats and Republicans will hope to win in November. Democratic candidate, Dan Scripps, of Northpointe, a former House member, is attracting the most campaign money so far. He reported raising $57,284 so far in 2016. He received large donations from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters ($5,000), the Leelanau Democratic Party ($4,000) and House Minority Leader Tim Greimel’s Greimel for Michigan PAC ($2,500).
There are three Republican candidates with Curt VanderWall, a Mason County commissioner, raising the most among Republicans. He raised $37,607 between Jan. 1 and July 17. He gave $22,648 to his own campaign. But he also received support from the Michigan Farm Bureau ($2,500) and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce ($2,000).
At least four candidates have each raised more than $10,000 in 2016 in the open 106th District, which both parties will be trying to win in November. Democrat Erin Kieliszewski, of Alpena, has raised the most so far in 2016 while Republican Sue Allor, of Wolverine, has raised the most when 2015 is considered.
Kieliszewski is receiving establishment Democratic support, including from sitting Democratic House members. A PAC for Minority Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) gave her campaign $10,000, and a PAC for Minority Floor Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) gave $5,000.
The other Democratic candidate is Robert Kennedy, of Harrisville, who was the nominee in 2014. He’s raised $13,205, relying on smaller contributions from individuals.
For Republicans, Allor reported raising $14,353 so far in 2016, but she’s raised $66,353 for the entire cycle. Allor has given about $56,000 to her own campaign so far.
Republican Jackie Krawczak, of Alpena, reported raising $18,377 so far in 2016. Another key Republican in the race, Jesse Osmer, of Alpena, had not turned in his disclosure as of Monday morning.
Two Democrats facing off to win their party’s nomination have both hit the fundraising trail hard in the 52nd, according to campaign finance records. Donna Lasinski, of Ann Arbor, reported raising $51,005 so far in 2016 while Barbara Fuller, of Manchester, reported raising $42,814.
During the period, Fuller was backed by the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters ($5,000) and the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan ($750). Lasinski received large contributions from the Michigan Farm Bureau ($2,000) and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce ($1,500).
As of July 17, Fuller, a long-time political figure in Washtenaw County, reported $35,037 cash on hand while Lasinksi, a member of the Ann Arbor School Board, reported $22,660.
For the Republicans, Randy Clark reported raising $4,990 in 2016 so far.
Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) is facing opposition in both the primary and general elections, and he’s raising big dollars to try to protect himself. Inman reported $60,675 in contributions between Jan. 1 and July 17. He received $9,000 from the DeVos family, $5,000 from the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association and $3,000 from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.
Conservative Jason Gillman, of Traverse City, is running against Inman in the GOP primary. He reported raising $12,976 so far in 2016 with $2,500 coming from himself. All of his contributors were from individuals.
Likewise, Democrat Betsy Coffia, of Traverse City, who ran against Inman for the seat in 2014, reported raising $23,426 from individuals between Jan. 1 and July 17.
Rep. Klint Kesto (R-Commerce Twp.), who is trying to protect his seat, has been one of the biggest fundraisers of 2016. He reported $71,935 in contributions between Jan. 1 and July 17.
Kesto reported 203 in individual contributions with $2,000 from Boji family members, $1,000 from the National Rifle Association and $1,000 from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
The Democratic candidate is Michael Stack, Wolverine Lake Council member. His top donor was the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters at $5,000.
Some big Republican donors are boosting Jim Lilly, of Macatawa, in a three-way GOP primary in the open 89th. Lilly has raised $50,876 so far in 2016.
The DeVos family has chipped in $9,000 for Lilly, the Business Leaders for Michigan PAC has given $5,000, and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce PAC has given $1,000.
Republican Tracy Stille-Mulligan, of Spring Lake, is also actively raising money, bringing in $31,105 so far this year. All of her donations came from individuals. A third GOP candidate, Brandon Hall, had not turned in his disclosure as of Monday morning.