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Posted on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

Driskell ramps up fundraising in race for Ouimet's state house seat

By Amy Biolchini

Democrat Gretchen Driskell has accelerated her fundraising efforts in the race for Republican Mark Ouimet’s 52nd District seat on the Michigan House of Representatives, public records indicate.

According to post-primary campaign finance reports filed late last week, Driskell has raised $19,221 from 76 donations since the August primary election, while Ouimet has raised $8,952 from 29 donations.


Saline Mayor and Democrat Gretchen Driskell, spotted at a news conference Sept. 4, has recently accelerated her fundraising efforts in the race for Republican Mark Ouimet's seat on the Michigan House of Representatives.

Ryan J. Stanton |

That brings Driskell’s current campaign fund balance up from $46,294 to $54,490, after she raised about $64,504 in the first reporting period. Driskell is the mayor of Saline, and appeared with a contingent of area Democrats at a news conference last week where she urged the state to restore full funding to schools.

Both filed late contribution reports: As of of July 27, the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters contributed $2,000 to Driskell’s campaign and as of Aug. 3, Ouimet received $1,700 from the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers - a regular contributor to Ouimet - and $400 from the Associate Builders & Contractors PAC.

Ouimet had a leg up in fundraising from the start, beginning his 2012 campaign with about $111,000 -- $60,000 of which was his own money. This is his first term of office on the House of Representatives.

He raised $104,916 from 369 donations to his campaign - about 67 of which were from political action committees - from the first of the year to the August primary, when the campaign’s fund balance was about $113,873.

As of the post-primary filing deadline last week, Ouimet’s campaign fund balance had decreased to $91,464 as payments surpassed donations.


Mark Ouimet

PACs that contributed to Ouimet’s campaign include Business Leaders for Michigan PAC, Rental Property Owners PAC, Eli Lilly and Company PAC, Michigan Farm Bureau PAC, Michigan Credit Union Fund, DTE Energy Company PAC, Meijer PAC, BCBS PAC, Michigan Banker’s Association PAC, CMS Energy PAC, Michigan Townships Association PAC, AT&T PAC, Auto Dealers of Michigan PAC, Ford Motor Company MI PAC, GM PAC, MEDCO Health PAC, Fifth Third Bancorp PAC and United States Steel PAC.

While Driskell’s campaign has managed to incur zero debt, Ouimet’s campaign has racked it up - a total of about $86,000 as of the August primary, which has since decreased to about $74,000 since a payment was made by the post-primary filing deadline.

All of the debts the campaign committee owes are to Ouimet himself, as he’s submitted about $89,700 of in-kind services to the campaign out of his own pocket.

Using donated campaign funds to reimburse himself for services contributed is a move the Michigan Secretary of State’s office affirmed is legal and common for candidates to do.

Of the 453 donations to Driskell’s campaign pre-election, three were from PACs. The rest were from individuals, including a number of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County elected officials: Janis Bobrin, Leah Gunn, Barbara Levin Bergman, Margie Teall and Yousef Rabhi, as well as the committees of Sabra Briere for City Council and Jeff Irwin for State Rep.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

I see Mark as a tool of big business. Who was responsible for piling taxes on the poor and middle class in this state? Who is responsible for cutting business taxes by $1.8B and then cutting 15% from the public schools budget which added a bunch of teachers to the roles of the unemployed. I thought the Republicans are all about jobs. Oh, by the way, the auto companies good fortunes are not due to anything done by this state, Obama and the auto companies themselves get credit for that. Demand creates jobs tax cuts to business do not.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

Mayor Driskell continues to spout left-leaning Ann Arbor liberal rhetoric—the typical high tax and spend Democrat. As mayor of Saline, she's voted to increase her own salary several times, and she's repeatedly raised taxes in Saline. She doesn't have the experience in Washtenaw County or in Lansing that would help her understand what this district wants and needs! How does she expect to represent us with such limited experience?


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 11:22 p.m.

Does it matter that those townships are not in the 52nd?


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

@SMAIVE: "As for knowing the district, she has worked with all the townships surrounding Saline" Pittsfield and York aren't in the 52nd.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 11:59 a.m.

She also cut taxes, when times were good. Perhaps doing a fact check like a democrat might be beneficial. As for knowing the district, she has worked with all the townships surrounding Saline, served on and networked with public officials from the Michigan Municipal League, the National League of Cities and numerous county commissioners and southeast Michigan organizations. By the way,those big pay raises has brought her salary up to a whopping figure of something like $4250 a year in 12 years. An outrageous amount to attend a minimum of 1 or 2 meetings a week plus all other expected functions.

Silent Majority

Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

The truth is Mark campaigned as a moderate and has voted in lockstep with the Tea Party in Lansing. That's not good service for the 52nd District, which is somewhat conservative but still very reasonable. People there basically don't want to pay more than needed and want an efficient government, but they also want good public universities and schools and they don't want to tell women and gays what they can and can't do. Mark has not served these people because he has been a puppet for GOP leadership. Gretchen may not be exactly what you want but she will at least have some independence. She is a better fit.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

Mark Ouimet is an honest hard working politician who shows through words and actions that he is there for his constituents and represents their values and desires. While I don't agree with him on everything, he is heads and shoulders above Gretchen and her wildly left leaning politics. Hate to say it and piggy back off what others have said but she really is an exact copy of Jenny Granholm. We don't need more of that, we have been blow away enough already and still trying to recover. Good Day


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

Gretchen is a very nice lady but nice does not make her successful. She is the second coming of Jenny Granholm, full of the same old worn out leftist policies that have helped ruin this state the past ten years. Saline is still just barely getting by. The restaraunts struggle ( except for Dan's), the retailers struggle and new business has been non existant. Gretchend does not have the record or experience to get my vote. Go Green Go White


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

What month did Driskell designate to HONOR HOMOSEXUALS in Saline? What related events are held at City Hall that month?


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 11:18 p.m.

The Bible says ALL men were created in Gods image.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.



Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

Of course Driskell is qualified for the job. She is a female democrat.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

Go Gretchen! Mark is just a hostage of tea party thanks.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

He might not be a "fan" of the tea party...but he still casts his vote in their favor. The GOP has been hijacked by extremists.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

Have you ever talked with Mark? He's certainly no fan of the TEA party...


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

When is the debate? We want to see Ms Mayor speak without Ann Arbor liberal Jeff Irwin tied to her hip. Ms Mayor and Jeff Irwin have become the Ken and Barbie of Ann Arbor liberalism.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

I agree with 52ndGirl; take a look at who Driskell is surrounding herself with during this election cycle - exceedingly left leaning Democrats from Ann Arbor - even Kristen Judge has chimed in - another tax and spend liberal longing for the days of the failed Granholm administration. A vote for Driskell would be a vote for the Ann Arbor liberal crowd, certainly not the group we need representing this district.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 12:15 p.m.

Gretchen has proven to be an "honest" politician while serving as mayor of Saline. She has lead the city during good and bad economic times. Gretchen's leadership with the support of the team around her has made Saline a better city and one that I am proud to live in. My vote will go to Gretchen not because Mark Ouimet is a bad representative for our area but because I believe she will serve our community even better.

Kristin Judge

Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 11:18 a.m.

During my time as an elected commissioner, I worked with both candidates. There are two kinds of people in office...public servants and politicians. Gretchen is the only public servant of the two. She is a class act who truly cares about our community. If education, seniors, respect for others, and community are important to you, Gretchen is your only choice.

Basic Bob

Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 1:04 a.m.

Respect for others and class are not something you are remembered for.

Nick Danger

Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 11:14 a.m.

Finally a candidate we can trust and who cares about the needs of its citizens. Driskell is well educated,honest believes in education and not beholden to special interest Quimet is the same guy who padded his expenses as a county commissioner,received his education from a mail order college and claimed he was endorsed by school superintendents when he wasn't .

Basic Bob

Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 1:09 a.m.



Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 3:33 a.m.

I think Ms. Driskell was a fine mayor, but I also think that Mark Ouimet is doing a great job as a rep. I do think that he will do a better job in the position, and I am a woman. Go figure, I am not a woman hating, right winger.... wow.

Michael K.

Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 3:22 a.m.

These attempted smears on Ms Driskell only serve to show how far right and anti-women these commentators are! Do you folks honestly think that Saline is a hot bed of liberal insurrection? You are the extremists. Yet you claim that she is "anti-man"? Ms Driskell has been an incredibly successful and well respected Mayor of Saline for a number of years. She has worked effectively with everyone here - in a predominately Republican community - while earning respect as a smart, honest, and fair advocate for the community. I can't believe the hate here at It tells you much more about the commenter than the subject I had honestly hoped for more from the new commenting system. AA is last on my daily reading because of the tone, which I identify as the "Brand."


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

My comment was somewhat toung in cheek. Check out a few posts above. should be far more outraged by SUV who is clearly a serious hater.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 3:10 a.m.

Yep Michigan Man. I am a simple peon and cannot afford to live in Marko's neighborhood. But what's that got to do with his Totally Weird Campaign Paying-Marko-Big-Bucks? You Tell Me Dude!


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

Gretchen Driskell is the Occupier and Socialist Party favorite. Anti-man, anti-working people, anti-business, opposes economical energy and pro-eco babble. Nothing good about this woman.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 2:28 a.m.

Also, ask Marko about the Federal and State Income Tax implications of his $89,000. Will Marko pay Income Tax on the $89,000? Us peon voters have to pay the tax. Can a politician get away without paying Income Tax? Just wondering. As Journalists, it is your Duty to find this out!


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

shephard wins for bringing Obama into it!


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 2:44 a.m.

Sad to see so many people buying the obama democrat party class warefare shtick. I'm sure they must were hysterical when John Kerry ran for president as a billionaire (earned nothing himself – sponged off his wife's family). Did you dig into Kerry's finances and express your concerns about how many pares of shoes he had? LOL

Basic Bob

Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 2:42 a.m.

As a citizen, it is your solemn duty to review the campaign finance documents and report back to us.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.

When the tornado hit Dexter mark ouimet was there day and nights helping folks pick up the pieces. Those people will always be with him.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

Nothing more than a photo op for Mr. Ouimet


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 2:12 a.m.

Mark Ouimet is the Tea Party favorite. Anti-women, anti-working people, anti-Earth. Nothing good about this man.

Basic Bob

Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

"Of the 453 donations to Driskell's campaign pre-election, three were from PACs" To be fair, all of these organizations contributed more than the individual limit of $500. They might prefer to be characterized as grass roots support, but that is fictitious. Michigan Education Association PAC, Progressive Women's Alliance, Segal For Michigan, Operating Engineers' Local 324, MI List, DFT Political Action Fund, Inspire Michigan, Jim Townsend Leadership Fund, MI Regional Council of Carpenters, United Food and Commercial Workers Intl


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 1:47 a.m.

Why not list the PACs who donated to Driskell? You listed several for Ouimet. And no fair editing the article after-the-fact, the omission speaks volumes.

Ed Kimball

Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 1 p.m.

I agree; there were only three so it wouldn't have added much length to the article.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 1:36 a.m.

The residents of the 52nd district should take a close look at those who are contributing to Driskell's campaign - left wing union bosses and the ultra liberal members of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party - ie, Irwin, Rabhi, Bergman, Gunn, Bobrin. If she is elected, she will be their puppet of their views. Her days of being a non-partisan mayor are long gone and her true liberal, extreme views are becoming more apparent every day.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

Get real...where is Mr. Ouimet getting his funds from?

Ed Kimball

Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

As opposed to the right-wingers who are contributing to Ouimet: all the PAC money comes from banks and other corporations. Both sides are supporting those who agree with them; no news there.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 12:55 a.m.

The story states: "All of the debts the campaign committee owes are to Ouimet himself, as he's submitted about $89,700 of in-kind services to the campaign out of his own pocket. Using donated campaign funds to reimburse himself for services contributed is a move the Michigan Secretary of State's office affirmed is legal and common for candidates to do." Either the reporter made a mistake or Marko owes us peon voters an explanation! 1. A candidate can "loan" his own money to his campaign, then "pay himself back" as the donations roll in. No problem with that, it has been legal for decades. 2. Stretching the point, a candidate can reimburse himself out of campaign donations for "in kind" costs such as mileage for driving around campaigning and, maybe, for footing the bill for breakfast and lunches with prospective voters. Maybe, really stretching the point here: For buying a new dark blue suit and electric blue necktie for door-to-door campaigning. But that's it. That's all she wrote. The common wisdom is that a bank gets a "Vice President" title and meager pay. Marko is a retired banker. If his last year's pre-retirement pay was $60,000 that would break-down to $30 an hour (2,000 working hours in a year; do the math: 40 hours a week times 50 weeks). Kindly ask the candidate how he could, at $30 a hour, run-up an "In-Kind" billing of $89,000? Give Me a Break: The Campaign Has Only Been Running for five (5) Months and, during that time Marko was receiving his $90,000 paycheck from the Michigan Legislature. Something is Seriously Wrong Here! Your job is to Find Out! Inquiring Minds Should Like to Know!

Michigan Man

Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 1:43 a.m.

Woods - Poor update. Most of your data is wrong. Mark made much more than $30 per hour - childs pay for a solid, MBA type banker like Mark. Mark is worth millions - he earned it the old fashion way - hard work! His wife is a wealthy, well respected, community leader physician who is also very well compensated. I do not think you would be able to afford and live in his neighborhood. Sorry for a taste of reality.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 1:42 a.m.

State Reps make around $71,000 plus up to $10,000 in reimbursable expenses.

Basic Bob

Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 1:16 a.m.

Short answer - he married up.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

As a Saline resident and homeowner, Mayor Driskell has done a good job leading the city council. Saline is a great community, and the Mayor deserves credit for the stability of our fair city. I will be voting for Gretchen Driskell. Mark Ouimet has voted for higher taxes on individuals, cuts in education, and voted to give "cyber schools" the same foundation allowance as " brick and mortar" schools, whether they be public or charter schools. These cyber schools have no infrastructure, and distance learning teachers who may monitor as many students as they are assigned. Why? Profits for cyber school companies. I'd like to know if Mark received donations from cyber school pacs, or companies, or those who own them...

Michigan Man

Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 11:50 p.m.

This poor woman has no chance in her election with Mark. My condolences to her and her family. The democrats who forced her to run against Mark should be vilified for their selfish actions/behavior/thinking.


Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

Why do you say that? Is he very popular? Or well known? He used to be a county commissioner, right?


Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 11:33 p.m.

Mark Ouimet is doing a terrific job for his district and I wish him well in the election.


Tue, Sep 11, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

I'd love to hear from Saline residents about what they think of Driskell...


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

Saline has a succesful downtown, continues to maintain its tax rate, stuggled through the financial crisis by making cuts and not raising taxes, and continues to be a great place to live. In reply to InsideTheHall, let review your statements. The businesses in Saline's Industial park are expanding, the charging station is used (paid for with a grant by the way) and the shopping center failed due to extremely poor management. Is everything cake and ice cream, no, however Saline has continued to move foward instead of backward under her guidance.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 1 p.m.

I live in Saline and love what Gretchen has done for the community


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 2:31 a.m.

Well we got public art, electric charging stations (no charges since install) and gay appreciation month. She tried to turn saline into Ann arbor south. Oh we have a big hole on us-12, half vacant industrial parks, and a bankrupt strip mall. Yep the second coming of Jenny granholm.