In my installment last Thursday, Big campaign money advantage for incumbents, I discussed how much campaign money candidates for the Senate and Detroit area House seats have raised, based on June 30 Federal Election Commission (FEC) campaign finance reports.
For today, I will look at outstate Michigan House races, most of which don’t look competitive, based on the enormous money advantages that most incumbents have over their challengers.
One race that does look competitive, however, is in the 1st District, which contains the Upper Peninsula and the northern end of the Lower Peninsula. Republican incumbent Dan Benishek has raised $1,274,042, while his Democratic opponent, former state Rep. Gary McDowell, who lost to Benishek in 2010, has raised $926,690 for a rematch in this politically marginal district.
Republican incumbent Bill Huizenga in the 2nd District, which consists of Holland, Muskegon and much of the Lake Michigan shoreline, has raised $752,161, even though he is running unopposed.
The Grand Rapids-based 3rd District is the only other outstate race that looks competitive. Republican incumbent Justin Amash has raised $902,418. Two Democrats are running for this seat, with former state Rep. Steve Pestka raising $798,522, of which $590,269 is his own money, and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm staffer Trevor Thomas raising $293,592.
Chairing a committee can draw a lot of campaign cash from special interests with a stake in that committee’s areas of responsibility. Republican incumbent Dave Camp in the central Lower Peninsula’s 4th District, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, which handles tax and trade policy, has raised $3,561,817. His Democratic opponent, Debra Wirth, hasn’t filed a report with the FEC.
The 5th District, which contains Flint, Saginaw and Bay City, is an open seat due to the retirement of Democratic incumbent Dale Kildee, but it doesn’t look that way from a money standpoint. Kildee’s nephew, former Genesee County Treasurer Dan Kildee, who is unopposed for the Democratic nomination, has raised $474,004. Two Republicans are running for the seat, former state Rep. Jim Slezak, who has raised $22,522, and Fairgrove Village Trustee Tom Wassa, who has raised $16,404, of which $14,999 is his own money.
Republican incumbent Fred Upton, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, whose responsibilities include energy policy, auto emission standards and health care, has raised $3,168,888 for re-election in the 6th District, which contains Kalamazoo and the southwest corner of the state. His primary challenger, former state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, didn’t file a report. Democratic candidate Mike O’Brien has raised $103,208.
In the 7th District in the south central part of the state, Republican incumbent Tim Walberg has raised $1,261,936, while his primary challenger, Dan Davis, hasn’t filed a report. Among the Democrats running for the seat, Kurt Haskell has raised $12,674, while Ruben Marquez hasn’t filed a report.