Whitmer raises a record $8.6M in her reelection bid, far more than entire field of GOP challengers

click to enlarge Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. - State of Michigan
State of Michigan
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has raised $8.6 million for her reelection bid so far this year, breaking a record for the most money raised by a Michigan gubernatorial candidate in an off-year, according to newly released campaign finance records.

Whitmer’s campaign has more than $10.6 million in the bank, giving her a decisive, early fundraising advantage over her Republican challengers.

Overall, Whitmer has raised $14.2 million in her reelection bid, which is $1 million more than she raised during the entire 2018 election cycle.

“Gov. Whitmer is a fighter for Michigan who puts Michigan families first and this record-shattering achievement puts the campaign in a strong position to communicate her track record of success,” Mark Fisk, spokesman for Whitmer’s campaign, said in a statement. “This unprecedented fundraising achievement is even more remarkable given the early and unprecedented attacks from national groups, special interests and other extremists spending over $1 million on ads trying to distort the Governor’s record and lie to the people of Michigan.”

So far this cycle, Whitmer has collected money from 10,000 new donors. The average donation was $211.58, and more than 37,000 donations were less than $200.

None of the Republican gubernatorial candidates came close to matching Whitmer’s fundraising prowess. Garrett Soldano, a Kalamazoo chiropractor who built his name opposing Whitmer’s COVID-19 restrictions, leads the field of GOP candidates. He raised nearly $625,000 since launching his campaign in April.

Republican candidate Ralph Rebandt II, an Oakland County pastor, raised the second-highest amount, with $170,000 in donations.

Retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig launched a fundraising campaign last week and later went on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Fox News to say that he's "running" for governor.

Whitmer is not beholden to the donation limits normally imposed on candidates because of an administrative ruling that allows officeholders facing recall to receive unlimited contributions. Since Whitmer is the subject of several recall efforts, she can receive more than the cap of $7,150 per donor. Eleven donors have each donated more than $100,000 to Whitmer, according to the campaign finance filing.

Whitmer’s approval rating has dropped, but she still has favorable reviews from half of Michigan voters, according to a Detroit Regional Chamber poll released in June.

Brian Sauer, finance director for Whitmer’s campaign, said the governor’s “recording-shattering report” underscores the confidence that residents have in her agenda.

“After leading our state through the greatest public health crisis in a century, Gov. Whitmer is focused on rebuilding our economy, standing up for working families, setting K-12 education on a new path without raising taxes and don’t forget – fixing the damn roads,” Sauer said.

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