Ned Staebler out-raising Jeff Irwin for 53rd District state House seat
If money is any measure of voters' feelings in the state House's 53rd District race, Ann Arbor's Ned Staebler has a nearly 2-to-1 edge over opponent Jeff Irwin.
Campaign finance statements due today show Staebler has raised $40,850, compared to Irwin's $24,299. The two Ann Arbor Democrats are competing for the seat being vacated by state Rep. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, who is running for the 18th District state Senate seat.
"In a year that proved to be a very difficult fundraising environment, more than 240 individuals made the decision to invest in our campaign to build a more prosperous future for Michigan," Staebler announced in a letter to his supporters today. "I am honored and humbled by your support. Importantly, we received an outpouring of local support. We raised nearly $26,000 from 161 individuals in the city of Ann Arbor."
Irwin raised $5,360 from 54 individuals in Ann Arbor. All total, Staebler received 242 donations compared to Irwin's 156.
Staebler's biggest single group of donors appears to be Ann Arbor's legal community. More than two dozen attorneys donated a total of $9,335 to his campaign. Staebler also raised nearly $5,000 from individuals with ties to the real estate and financial services industries.
A large portion of Irwin's money came from political action committees ($4,424), lobbyists ($4,375), and donors with links to the Michigan Education Association andÂ Michigan Education Special Services AssociationÂ ($3,825). Staebler has not accepted any money from PACs or lobbyists.
Irwin, a current Washtenaw County commissioner serving the 11th District, addressed his acceptance of PAC money.
"I made the decision in my campaign that if individuals or political action committees were seeking to support my campaign, based on the message that I bring to the table, then obviously I'm going to accept their support," he said. "I was a bit surprised to get support from DTE, for instance, because of my work in the environmental field and there are times that we butt heads. "
Irwin said he's satisfied with where his campaign stands.
"I'm getting a tremendous amount of support from the people I speak with and the list is building, so I'm comfortable with the way the campaign is shaping up," he said. "I am deeply honored to have the level of support that I do from people who want the best public schools and the best public school teachers. I am sure that Ned Staebler is similarly pleased to have the support he does from the legal and financial sectors."
Staebler managed to raise more money for his state representative campaign than Alma Wheeler Smith, D-Salem Township, has raised in her bid for governor of Michigan.
Smith, currently the state representative for the 54th House District, has raised just $36,245 this election cycle, according to campaign finance statements filed today. The reports cover the period from Feb. 17, 2009, to Dec. 31, 2009.