AG, SoS, MSC incumbents hold campaign finance advantage over challengers

LANSING - Incumbents nominees for statewide office continue to hold a wide campaign finance advantage over their challengers for the November election, according to reports filed with the Michigan Bureau of Elections. Candidates for attorney general, secretary of state, lieutenant governor and justice of the supreme court who were nominated at the major parties' fall conventions filed post-convention reports yesterday that cover the reporting period through September 12th.

Constitutional Executive Candidates

Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette has raised $3.3 million and has $1.96 million in cash on hand. His Democratic challenger Mark Totten has raised $335,000 and he has $171,000 in cash on hand.

Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has raised $866,000 and she has $353,000 in cash on hand. Democratic challenger Godfrey Dillard has raised $49,000 and he has $28,600 in cash on hand.

Republican Lieutenant Governor has raised $404,000 and he has $36,000 in cash on hand. The Democratic Lt. Governor candidate, Lisa Brown, dropped a reporting waiver to report a $2,100 in-kind contribution.

In reports that were filed earlier this month, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder reported that he had raised $10.1 million through August 25th and he had $2.9 million in cash on hand. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer reported he had raised $4.7 million and he had less than $76,000 in cash on hand.

All of the minor party candidates for constitutional executive offices have gained reporting waivers that indicate they will raise and spend less than $1,000.

Michigan Supreme Court

There are three seats on the Michgan Supreme Court up for election this November: one two-year term that will complete the term to which incumbent Justice David Viviano, a Republican nominee, was appointed after the resignation of former Justice Diane Hathaway; and two full eight-year terms. Incumbent Justice Brian Zahra, a Republican nominee, is running for reelection and one seat will be open due to the mandatory retirement of Justice Michael Cavanagh, who is now older than age 70 and thus ineligible to run for a new term.

In the contest for the two-year term, Justice Viviano is matched against Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Deborah Thomas. Justice Viviano has raised $662,000 and he has $350,000 in cash on hand. Judge Thomas has raised $29,000 and she has $9,000 in cash on hand.

Among the four major party nominees for the two eight-year terms, Justice Brian Zahra has raised the most money, $668,000, and he has the most cash on hand, $350,000.

Justices Zahra and Viviano have nearly identical fundraising profiles as they have split the proceeds from 14 joint fundraising events. They also have booked joint television advertisements for the last weeks of the campaign.

Democratic nominee Richard Bernstein has the second-highest fundraising total among the candidates for the eight-year terms. He has raised $450,000 and he has $164,000 in cash on hand. Mr. Bernstein has self-funded more than $407,000 of his total, and like the incumbents he has contracts for television advertising in the campaign's final weeks.

Kent County Circuit Court Judge James Redford, a Republican nominee who established a campaign committee in February, has raised $300,000 and has more than $217,000 in cash on hand.

Court of Appeals Judge William Murphy, a Democratic nominee and 1996 candidate for the Supreme Court, established his campaign committee after the August convention and he has raised $36,500. Judge Murphy reported $34,500 in cash on hand.

There are two minor party nominees for justice of the supreme court, Doug Dern and Kerry Morgan, who have campaign finance reporting waivers.

Press Release 2014 News