Michigan GOP legislators outraise Democrats in fight for majority in 2024
- Senate, House Republicans now have more cash on hand than Democrats
- House Republicans received a boost in funding with help from former Gov. Rick Snyder, philanthropist Bill Parfet
- Michigan Democratic Party takes out ads to target swing district Republicans
LANSING — House and Senate Republicans outraised their Democratic counterparts over the last three months as the race heats up for the legislative majority in 2024, according to the most recent campaign finance reports released Tuesday.
House and Senate Republican caucus funds — campaign accounts aimed to support legislative candidates — raised a total of $1.7 million between Apr. 21 and July 20, bringing this year’s haul to $4.4 million between the two accounts, state data shows.
In comparison, their Democratic counterparts took in $1.5 million during the three-month period, with a total $3.9 million raised this year.
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The Republican fundraising edge was bolstered by former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Kalamazoo philanthropist Bill Parfet, who are now leading the fundraising efforts for House GOP lawmakers, according to a June announcement from the House Republicans.
“House Republicans are staying focused on what matters — providing a check and balance on the Democrats so we can make Michigan a better, safer, more affordable state,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Matt Hall, R-Richland Township, in a Tuesday statement.
“By focusing on our positive vision, we’ve earned a strong financial position to retake majority.”
Democrats regained control of the state Legislature in January for the first time in nearly 40 years. They hold a two-seat majority in both the House and the Senate.
Since January, Michigan Democrats have aggressively rolled back Snyder-era laws, repealing the 2012 Right-to-Work law that allowed employees to opt out paying union dues, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and pushing a host of pro-union measures.
Campaign finance reports show Republicans also had more money in the bank than Democrats at the end of the three-month period. By July 20, the Republican funds had $3.4 million, compared to $2.3 million for Democrats.
The House Republican Campaign Committee raised $1 million between April and July — the most among all four accounts, data shows.
Roughly 96 percent of the money — $960,000 — came in after House Republicans tapped Snyder and Parfet in June, according to a Bridge Michigan analysis of the campaign finance data.
Five donors each contributed $48,875 to House Republicans, the maximum amount of money one can give to a legislative caucus account.
Among them are Sidney Jansma Jr., board chair of Grand Rapids oil giant Wolverine Gas and Oil Corporation; Dan Hibma, a prominent real estate developer in west Michigan, and Frank Wheatlake, chair emeritus of Reed City-based Utility Supply and Construction Co.
Parfet and his wife, Barbara Parfet, each gave $25,000 to House Republicans on June 30.
Republican caucuses, however, have not received any contributions from the Michigan Republican Party this year, campaign records show.
Democrats, on the other hand, touted their small donors. Senate Democrats raised more than $623,000 for the most recent quarter, with 72 percent of the contributions from small donors who each gave $100 or less, according to a Tuesday statement from the caucus.
“This majority is focused on solving real problems for all Michiganders, and we are humbled by the continued support we are receiving from every corner of the state,” Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, said in the statement.
While Democratic caucus funds have not raised as much as Republicans during the past quarter, the Michigan Democratic Party launched a six-figure ad campaign targeting six GOP lawmakers in swing districts in southeast Michigan, opposing them for casting a vote against certain gun safety legislation.
The party announced another round of ad campaigns Tuesday, targeting more Republicans for their votes against the $24.2 billion education budget lawmakers approved last month.
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