Detroit Free Press
July 25, 2017
With more than $1.5 million in contributions, former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, has raised the most money for her race for Governor.
But Ann Arbor businessman.Shri Thanedar, one of six other Democratic candidates for governor of Michigan, has put $3.3 million of his own money into his campaign fund, according to a report filed with the Secretary of State’s Office Tuesday.
She reported more than 6,000 contributors to her campaign and 84% of those were from Michigan. More than three dozen people contributed the maximum amount of $6,800 for the primary and she also received hefty contributions from a handful of unions.
The loans to his campaign, along with expenditures of about $82,000, leave Thanedar, of Ann Arbor, with close to $3.2 million in his campaign fund, according to the report.
The significant cash infusion from a relatively unknown Ann Arbor businessman prompted comparisons to 2010, when Republican Rick Snyder, who was also from Ann Arbor had little name I.D. and no political experience, used about $6 million from his personal fortune to fund his successful bid for the governor’s office.
But Thanedar has a bigger hill to climb because he is even more unknown than was Snyder, who had more political connections, and Whitmer has already locked up most of the union support, Sarpolus said. Also, Thanedar doesn’t have strong ties to Detroit, where much of the Democratic vote is located, he said.
“The question is, will he spend what he put in?” Sarpolus asked. “He’s showing serious effort.”
Thanedar told the Free Press he plans to start spending the money immediately to raise his profile and campaign around the state and he plans to collect donations and put in more of his own money if necessary.
He said he has some similarities with Snyder, but feels there are more differences. Thanedar said he is a small businessman and entrepreneur and he views Snyder as more of an accountant. Snyder, he said, thought state government could be run like a business, while Thanedar doesn’t believe that is possible because “we are dealing with people’s lives.”
Thanedar was among the first candidates to file a campaign finance report for the time period covering Feb. 1 to July 20. The reports are due at 5 p.m. today.
On Monday afternoon, former Detroit health department director Dr. Abdul El-Sayed reported he has raised more than $1 million for his bid to become Michigan’s next governor, according to a report filed Monday afternoon.
El-Sayed reported receiving more than 3,600 individual donations and his campaign said he took no money from corporate political action committees. A total of 26 donors gave the maximum contribution of $6,800.
El-Sayed reported raising just over $1 million and spending just over $373,000, leaving him with about $644,000 in the bank.
Democratic candidate William Cobbs, a U.S. Navy veteran and retired Xerox executive who lives in Farmington Hills, reported raising just under $40,000, most of which came from his own funds. Cobb reported spending more than $37,000, leaving him with close to $2,000 in the bank.
Also, Southfield attorney Geoffrey Fieger, who has said he is considering joining the Democratic race for governor, reported making a $5 donation to his gubernatorial campaign on June 21. Fieger has never closed the campaign committee he used when he was the Democratic candidate for governor in 1998.
Other Democratic candidates for governor – Justin Giroux of Wayland, Kentiel White of Southgate, and Clyde Darnell Lynch of Detroit – had not filed a July report that was posted on the state website as of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Several reports by declared and prospective Republican candidates for governor were filed Tuesday afternoon.
Staff writer Kathleen Gray contributed to this report.
Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4.