Campaign finance update: Top fundraisers in Michigan

Campaign finance requirements govern the raising and spending of money for political campaigns. While not the only factor in an election’s outcome, successful fundraising can provide a candidate with advantages, such as the ability to boost name recognition and promote a message. In addition, fundraising can indicate enthusiasm for candidates and parties.

This article lists the top individual fundraisers in Michigan by their party affiliation as well as the top ten fundraisers overall. It is based on campaign finance reports that active Michigan candidate political action committees (candidate PACs) submitted to the Michigan Secretary of State. It includes activity between Jan. 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs represent individuals who have run for state or local office at any point, including past and present officeholders. This article does not include non-candidate PACs.

Top Michigan Fundraisers

The top fundraisers in Michigan elections are shown below. For the purpose of this article, fundraisers may include individuals who are on the ballot this election cycle as well as those not currently running for office but who have received contributions during this reporting period. Individuals are listed with the office that they held at the time of publication, if applicable.

In the Democratic party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

In the Republican party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

Fundraising Totals

Overall, the top Michigan Democratic candidate PACs raised $8.47 million in this period. The top Republican candidate PACs raised $990,870. Michigan candidate PACs in the Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021, filing period raised a total of $12.36 million. Combined, these Michigan candidates account for 77% of total fundraising.

Contributions to the top five Democratic candidates made up 90% of the total amount reported by their party’s campaigns. Contributions to the top five Republican fundraisers comprised 36% of the total amount reported by Republican campaigns.

The table below provides additional data from the campaign finance reports from the top ten fundraisers. For more information on fundraising and spending for Michigan races on the 2022 ballot, click here.

NameParty AffiliationRaised this periodSpent this period
Gretchen WhitmerDemocratic Party$6,893,245$1,518,563
Dana NesselDemocratic Party$948,129$131,424
Jocelyn BensonDemocratic Party$494,146$59,145
Garrett SoldanoRepublican Party$427,288$218,528
Jason WentworthRepublican Party$178,775$187,849
Aric NesbittRepublican Party$176,408$52,743
Mark HuizengaRepublican Party$104,225$88,762
Ralph RebandtRepublican Party$104,175$102,356
Pamela HornbergerRepublican Party$96,094$95,557
Curt VanderWallRepublican Party$89,800$60,229

Campaign Finance Reporting Periods

The reports filed with the Michigan Secretary of State cover Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs in Michigan must file semiannual financial reports of their fundraising and campaign spending. During election years, candidate PACs also file additional financial reports before primary and general elections.

The next semiannual campaign finance reporting deadline for Michigan legislators and candidates will include activity between July 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021.

This article was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.