Handi-PAC-ing the Michigan Leadership Derby

Interest groups' bets on new leadership

LANSING -- As the time approaches when term limits will remove Michigan’s current constitutional executives and all top leaders on both sides of the aisle in both legislative chambers, concerned observers’ attention turns to the question of who will lead State government on January 1, 2011.

Empirically, fundraising for leadership PACs has proven to be a useful proxy for who is up and who is down in the competition for leadership positions in the term limits era. However, it is early in the 2010 leadership race. So far, the holdover leaders who control legislative calendars and the outgoing administration continue to top the fundraising list for leadership PACs. Meanwhile, several leadership PACs have gone dormant while officeholders pursue new offices and several successful committees have dissolved. Nonetheless, several new committees are demonstrating success in fundraising.

As Michigan’s Leadership Derby heads into the first turn in 2010, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network offers Michiganders a guide to handi-PAC-ing the race. Data were compiled from reports filed with the Bureau of Elections. Updates will be available in three months.

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