Donors behind the statewide candidates

LANSING - Incumbent Republican candidates for key statewide offices all hold wide fundraising advantages over their Democratic challengers according to the most recent campaign filings.

• Gov. Rick Snyder has raised more than twice as much Mark Schauer: $9.5 million, compared to $4.5 million. Gov. Snyder also recorded $205,000 in late contributions prior to Primary Election Day, compared to $40,000 in late contributions for Mr. Schauer.

• Attorney General Bill Schuette has a twelve-to-one advantage over Mark Totten in funds raised and fund balance.

• Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has raised $375,000 to mount a campaign against a convention challenge for his party's nomination while his counterpart, Lisa Brown, has a reporting waiver, indicating her committee will raise and spend less than $1,000.

• Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has a fund balance of $250,000 while her presumed challenger, Godfrey Dillard just filed a statement of organization this week.

• Incumbent Supreme Court Justices Brian Zahra and David Viviano, who will run as nonpartisans after gaining Republican Party nominations at next week's party convention, have each raised about $500,000, while the only Democratic nominee to have filed a fundraising report, Richard Bernstein, has raised $100,000 - all self-funded. Mr. Bernstein, along with a candidate to be named, will be running to fill two eight-year terms against Justice Zahra and circuit court Judge James Redford. Justice Viviano will be running for a two-year term to complete the term to which he was appointed after the resignation of former Justice Diane Hathaway against circuit court Judge Debra Thomas.

This report will summarize the major donors to those candidates' campaigns.


Gov. Rick Snyder eschews contributions from political action committees. However, 75 fundraising receptions held over the past two years have allowed the governor to tap a number of Michigan corporations for substantial support. Some of those corporations are widely known and some are less well known.

Employees of Blue Cross/Blue Shield are the biggest funding source for the governor so far, having donated $112.131. Fifteen members of the DeVos family have contributed $85,600. They are followed by employees of CMS Energy, $82,975, and DTE Energy, $75,800.

Among the other well-known corporations whose employees are supporting the governor are: Dow Chemical, $48,050; Ford Motor Company, $42,450; Whirlpool Corporation, $41,200; and General Motors, $35,250.

Among the less well-known are CNSI, an information technology firm providing services to government and healthcare providers, $66,500; UHY, certified public accountants, $52,450; and J & B Medical Supply, $43,226.

Mark Schauer's top contributor is the state public campaign fund, which provides a two-to-one match for contributions up to $100 from individuals. That accounts for $953,000, and the fund owed the Schauer campaign another $16,000 at the time of the pre-primary report.

Mr. Schauer's other top donors include the PAC and employees of the Michigan Education Association, $71,427; Michigan Laborers' Political League, $68,000; employees of the University of Michigan, $67,286; Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights PAC, $45,000; and the Michigan State Utility Workers Council, $44,000.

Two groups that both candidates share as a top donor are employees of the University of Michigan and employees of the State of Michigan.

Attorney General

Nine members of the DeVos family have given Attorney General Bill Schuette's campaign $62,000. That is the largest single source of funds for his campaign.

The Red and Blue PAC gave the Schuette campaign $60,000 on August 6th. The PAC had been dormant for years until its July 2014 report, which showed a contribution of $100,000 from James Bardy of Continental Services. The report was then amended to remove that contribution. Complete accounting for the contribution to the Schuette campaign will not be available until the PAC's October report is filed.

Other top donors to the Schuette campaign include: the law firm Warner Norcross and Judd, whose PAC, partners and associates have contributed $55,250; the Michigan Chamber of Commerce PAC, $44,000; the Michigan Realtors PAC, $44,000; the PAC and employees of DTE Energy, $43,275; and the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers' PAC, $42,255.

Mark Totten is the top donor to his campaign, having loaned the effort $63,000. Other top contributors include: Delynn Totten, $6,800; employees of the University of Michigan, $5,740; and the United Food and Commercial Workers PAC, $5,000.

Secretary of State

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's top donor has been her husband. Don Nanney loaned the campaign $338,000, which has since been repaid.

Secretary Johnson's other top donors include: Auto Dealers of Michigan PAC, $34,000; Daniel and Pamella DeVos, $13,600; DTE Energy PAC, $12,000; and the Michigan Republican Party, $11,636.

Lieutenant Governor

Like Gov. Snyder, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley does not accept PAC contributions. His top donors include: employees of DTE Energy, $22,350; employees of ITC Holdings, $14,700; Daniel and Pamella DeVos, $13,600; and John and Nancy Kennedy, $13,600.

Supreme Court

The fundraising profiles of incumbent Justices Brian Zahra and David Viviano are nearly identical, largely due to the fact that the two have shared eleven fundraising events.

Five of the top six donors are identical for Justices Zahra and Viviano: Nine members of the DeVos family have given $61,200 to each; partners and associates of the Conway MacKenzie law firm (and a partner's family members) have given $58,850 to each; the Michigan Chamber of Commerce PAC and an employee have given $20,475 to each; four members of the Moroun family have given $20,400 to each; partners and associates of the Kienbaum Opperwall law firm have given $15,000 to each.

The only difference between the top donors to the two is in contributions from partners and associates of the Dickinson Wright law firm. They have given $22,286 to Zahra and $19,820 to Viviano.

Top donors to Judge James Redford's campaign include nine members of the DeVos family, $61,200; and the PAC and partners of Warner Norcross and Judd, $9,100.

As noted previously, Richard Bernstein has loaned his campaign $100,000.

This release has been corrected to indicate that Judge Debra Thomas will be running for the two-year term, not an eight-year term, as had been incorrectly reported.

Press Release 2014 News