LANSING, Mich. (MIRS News) – Likely Republican Attorney General nominee Matt DePerno reported having $125,706 in cash on hand heading into the Aug. 27 Michigan Republican Party nominating convention, less than both of his previous two GOP opponents.
Tom Leonard, who benefited from DeVos money and $14,000 from his former House leadership fund, still has $524,542 in the bank of his active Attorney General account. Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Twp.), who received $6,850 from former Attorney General Mike Cox, has $215,785 in cash on hand.
Neither campaign has been dissolved.
Incumbent Attorney General Dana Nessel has $2.5 million.
Having received the Republican Party’s endorsement in April, DePerno is expected to receive the Republicans’ nomination in two weeks. However, a main reason Republicans held an early endorsement convention was to settle the race and give the eventual nominee a head start on fundraising.
And while DePerno raised $577,258 from 6,457 contributors — including three former gubernatorial candidates — from Jan. 1 to Aug. 11, he’s spent nearly all of it ($512,731) on consulting, staff and travel reimbursements.
He enters the nominating convention with less cash on hand than every non-incumbent Republican nominee for Attorney General since 2002 even though he’s been technically the only candidate in the field for four months.
“Just imagine how much more would be in the account if I had won the endorsement,” Berman quipped when presented with the numbers.
Eventual Attorney General nominee Mike Cox reported having $129,037 in cash on hand in his 2002 pre-convention report. Eventual Attorney General nominee Bill Schuette reported having $294,328 in cash on hand in his pre-convention report. Leonard, when he won the nomination in 2018, had $910,601 in the bank, according to his pre-convention report.
DePerno’s report shows 6,457 contributions, which is more than the 553 Leonard had in 2018 at this time. It’s less than the 16,820 contributors Nessel claimed in her pre-convention report.
Two gubernatorial candidates — Kevin Rinke and Perry Johnson — gave maximum contributions to DePerno. Another candidate, Ryan Kelley and wife Tabitha Kelley, each gave $5,000.
He received one $5,000 check from a statewide Save America PAC connected to former President Donald Trump in January. There’s no evidence he’s received any financial support from a PAC connected to Trump since then.
Meanwhile, likely Republican Secretary of State candidate Kristina Karamo raised $467,373 — less than DePerno — in calendar year 2022, but spent $323,176 and has $277,250 in the bank. She, too, received $5,000 from the Save America PAC and collected 4,465 checks.
She has no personal debt and has spent nearly $100,000 on billboards, $17,000 on bumper stickers and yard signs and at least $17,000 on some digital advertising. Of her nominating convention opponents, Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) has $2,289 in cash on hand and Cindy Berry has $57.
Compared to prior SOS nominees, Ruth Johnson had $501,935 in the bank going into her first convention in 2010. Mary Treder Lang had $30,028 in 2018. Terri Lynn Land had $106,737 at this point in 2002.
Incumbent Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has $3.2 million in cash on hand.
As for other Republican nominees, Justice Brian Zahra raised $435,025 in 2022 and has $342,858 in cash on hand. He received maximum donations from six members of the DeVos family, Land and husband, Dan Hibma. Cox gave $3,500.
He entered his 2014 race with $483,302 in cash on hand.
His fellow Republican candidate, lawyer Paul Hudson, raised $450,075, of which $250,000 was a personal check. He has $325,859 in cash on hand. He had 113 contributors to his campaign, including members of the DeVos and Haworth families.
By comparison, Justice Richard Bernstein has $278,608 in cash on hand and Democratic candidate Kyra Bolden (D-Southfield) has $388,480 from 3,741 contributors.