Candidates in Washtenaw County spent thousands on campaigns, new finance reports show
(This story has been updated to reflect information from campaign finance reports filed by John Hieftje, Jack Eaton, Lou Glorie. Glorie filed her report late today. Eaton filed his report shortly before the county clerk's office closed on Thursday, but due to a lag on the county's part it was not posted online until today. Hieftje filed his report on time, but due to a technical glitch it was not posted correctly online.)
Post-primary campaign finance reports filed Thursday show candidates in Washtenaw County spent some serious money competing for party nominations in the Aug. 3 primary election.
By far the biggest battle was the 18th District state Senate race that pitted state Rep. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, against state Rep. Pam Byrnes, D-Lyndon Township.
The two lawmakers combined to spend more than $380,000 on their campaigns — $198,529 spent by Byrnes and $181,631 spent by Warren.
Warren, who won the Democratic primary and now is highly favored to beat her Republican rival in November, raised $183,766, plus another $3,843 in in-kind contributions. Byrnes raised $212,233, plus $1,375 in in-kind contributions.
Reports show Warren contributed $19,000 of her own money to her campaign one day before the primary, bringing the total amount she spent out of her own pocket up to $29,175.
She also accepted money from several political action committees late in the campaign, including $5,000 from the UAW Michigan PAC and $2,000 from the Michigan Association for Justice. She also took $4,000 from the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association and $1,000 from the Michigan Laborers Political League.
The latest reports show Byrnes received $5,000 from House Speaker Andy Dillon's Leadership Fund, $3,750 from the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association, $500 from the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and $500 from the Dow Corning Legislative Action Team.
Staebler vs. Irwin
In another heavily funded race, Ann Arbor's Ned Staebler amassed $100,534 in contributions in his unsuccessful bid for the 53rd District state House seat.
He lost in the Democratic primary to Washtenaw County Commissioner Jeff Irwin, also of Ann Arbor, who raised $47,035. Irwin is highly favored to beat his Republican rival in November and replace Warren in the state House.
Staebler reported $2,684 in in-kind contributions, while Irwin reported $5,112. Staebler ultimately spent $88,346, compared to the $45,266 spent by Irwin.
Reports filed Thursday show Staebler received a $5,000 boost to his campaign from the UAW Michigan PAC. He also took $2,500 from the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association.
Irwin's largest contributions since his pre-primary statement filed in July include $250 from the Michigan Credit Union Action League and $250 from consultant Arthur Miller.
Ann Arbor mayoral race
Patricia Lesko raised and spent more than $6,700 — in addition to $1,116 in in-kind contributions — competing for the mayoral seat in Ann Arbor. She lost to incumbent Mayor John Hieftje, who now faces an independent challenger in November.
Lesko, as reported before the primary, also received a significant boost from the city's firefighters union, which spent $5,144 on billboards and T-shirts advertising her campaign.
Reports filed with the county clerk show Lesko donated $1,100 of her own money to her campaign two days before the primary, bringing the total amount of her own money spent up to $2,625. Hieftje had not used any of his own money in his campaign as of the last report.
Hieftje raised $12,575, plus $586 in in-kind contributions. He spent $14,237, including tapping into funds left over from a previous campaign.
He took $1,000 from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and $500 from the UAW Michigan PAC. His reports also show somewhat of an oddity — a $6 donation from his campaign to the Ann Arbor-based nonprofit Ecology Center, accompanied by a letter from Heiftje's campaign treasurer, Leah Gunn.
Gunn acknowledged the campaign violated state law by accepting an anonymous $6 contribution, which she characterized as "money in the dish," and reporting it. The remedy for these types of situations, according to state law, is to donate the money to a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and Hieftje's campaign chose the Ecology Center.
"It was me entirely," Gunn said by phone, taking credit for the campaign finance violation. "I should have known better, but at least we did have a remedy."
Ann Arbor City Council
In three contested City Council races, the incumbents all went on to victory and spent thousands of dollars in the process.
In the 1st Ward race, Democratic incumbent Sandi Smith raised $3,930, compared to Democratic challenger Sumi Kailasapathy's $3,050.
Smith spent $3,806, and Kailasapathy spent $2,842. Smith reported another $289 in in-kind contributions, while Kailasapathy reported $66.
Smith received a $250 contribution two days before the election from the Michigan Laborers Political League PAC. She also accepted $100 from the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor.
In the 5th Ward race, Democratic incumbent Carsten Hohnke raised $6,772, plus another $476 in in-kind contributions.
Hohnke, who faces two challengers in November, spent $6,988 altogether, including money left over from a previous campaign, leaving a balance of $135 in his campaign fund.
Democratic challenger Lou Glorie did not file a post-primary report on Thursday. She paid a $25 fee when filing her report late today, showing she raised $2,835 (the same amount she reported in July), plus $249 in in-kind contributions. She spent $1,890.
In the 4th Ward race, Democratic incumbent Margie Teall raised $7,110 and spent $5,470. She reported another $75 in in-kind contributions.
Democratic challenger Jack Eaton raised $4,644 ($25 more than he reported in July), plus another $278 in in-kind contributions. He spent $3,810.
Michigan gubernatorial race
Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder spent $7.6 million to win the GOP nomination in the Michigan gubernatorial race — more than double that of Attorney General Mike Cox, who raised and spent about $3.3 million.
Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard spent $2.2 million, and U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, spent $1.8 million. State Sen. Tom George of Kalamazoo spent more than $400,000.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero tapped public campaign funds and raised private contributions to win the Democratic primary. Bernero accepted $111,902 in public funding and raised $1.03 million in contributions, according to reports filed Thursday.
House Speaker Andy Dillon, who was defeated by Bernero in the Democratic primary, raised just over $1.8 million.
Bernero also has accepted the full $1.125 million he's eligible for from the state for his general election campaign.