LANSING, Mich. (MIRS News) – The Michigan Senate Democratic Fund outraised the Senate Republican Campaign Committee this period by nearly $400,000, adding more than $1.1 million to their war chest from April 21 to July 20. The Senate Democrats also outraised the two caucuses in the House, marking the first time this has happened in recent memory.
Senate Democrats or Senate Democratic candidates gave around $500,000 of this total to the Senate Democratic Fund, which turns around and spends the money for specific candidates at a bulk rate. Republicans don’t traditionally pool resources in this way. Still, the fact Senate Democrats were the top-raising caucus after years in the bottom is the political equivalent of the Detroit Lions winning the NFC North.
“The people of Michigan aren’t going to sit idly by and watch Republicans continue to strip away our freedoms,” said Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) – the caucus’s finance co-chair – in a press release. “They know that state legislatures are now the last line of defense, and we absolutely need a Democratic majority in the Senate to protect the rights we hold dear.”
But Senate Republicans have $6.72 million in the bank to the Democrats’ $2.954 million.
Senate Republican Campaign leader Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) said the Senate Republicans maintain a strong financial advantage with their cash on hand, “right candidates in right districts” and terrible political environment for Democrats.
“We will maintain a strong Republican majority after this fall’s election,” Nesbitt said.
In their press release, Senate Democrats highlighted that 3,025 individual donors invested into their fund, with 92% of contributions being less than $100.
The Michigan Senate Democratic Fund received 3,441 itemized direct contributions, bringing their total cash on hand up to more than $2.94 million. Meanwhile, Republicans in the Senate raised $720,500.82 for their Senate Republican Campaign Committee, and now have an ending balance of $6.72 million after acquiring 132 itemized direct contributions.
During the July period of last year, Republicans outraised the Democratic Senate fund by more than $400,000.
Additionally, the Senate Democratic caucus zoomed in on how this week marked the first fundraising report deadline in Michigan since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade – the case that formerly authorized abortion access on the federal level.
“The stakes could not be higher or clearer, and voters from every corner of the state are speaking up, volunteering, and contributing their hard-earned money at unprecedented levels to ensure a Democratic victory in November,” Brinks said. “Their valued support fuels our engine and allows us to continue running top-notch campaigns across the state.”
On Friday, Democratic candidates in the seven “magic” state Senate districts – ones deemed as “flippable,” “toss-up” districts for Democrats to pursue a chamber majority – acquired a total of $1.73 million collectively this period among their individual candidate committees.
The 17 Republicans competing in those same districts ahead of the Aug. 2 primary had reported raising a combined $821,537.25.
“I’m sure I could come up with something more pithy, but the numbers speak for themselves,” said term-limited Sen. Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing) to MIRS.
Hertel said he’s sure his Republican colleagues will have “all kinds of excuses why this happened, but at the end of the day, I’m proud of our team and I’m proud that we’re winning – and I think we have a great opportunity to flip the Legislature moving forward.”
“I don’t think I remember last time our caucus was first, by the way,” he said. “I can’t remember it.”
Before the four caucuses filed Monday, former Michigan Campaign Finance Network executive director Craig Mauger of the Detroit News told the MIRS Monday Podcast that if Senate Democrats were “able to keep the caucus fundraising close with the Senate Republicans, I bet there will be some alarm bells going off over on Allegan Street.”
Mauger made a contrast between now-Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Sen. Mallory Mcmorrow (D-Royal Oak).
McMorrow – the Royal Oak Democrat who’s been celebrated as a rising star within her party – has tried redirecting her influx of attention back into her caucus, connecting herself to a political action committee (PAC) dedicated to backing Senate candidates in competitive districts.
“Think back to 2014 – there was an up-and-coming star Senate Democrat named Gretchen Whitmer who was getting some national attention. She was not able to raise this type of money for the caucus…and in fact, there were Senate Democrats who were frustrated that she didn’t raise very much money to help the Senate Democrats in 2014,” he said.
Eight years later, Mauger underscored that McMorrow is running “a full-on onslaught to try to take back the majority,” after the caucus has “always been at a major financial disadvantage – I mean, getting outraised 20-to-1 sometimes.”
McMorrow has reported raising more than $1 million in her pursuit to flip the Senate, collecting contributions through the Michigan Senate Democratic Fund, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, her candidate committee and her associated “A More Perfect Michigan” political action committee.
Both Senate and House Democrats outraised Republicans by more than $489,411 combined for this past July period, as Senate Democrats aggressively pursue a chamber-majority and House Democrats pursue post-redistricting hot seats.