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Hollier raises over $500,000 in U.S. House race to represent most of Detroit

Melissa Nann Burke

Apr 15, 2022

Democratic state Sen. Adam Hollier raised more than $513,000 last quarter in his bid to represent the bulk of Detroit in Congress — a haul that could put him at or near the front of the money race in Michigan's new 13th District.

Democratic state Sen. Adam Hollier raised more than $513,000 last quarter in his bid to represent the bulk of Detroit in Congress — a haul that could put him at or near the front of the money race in Michigan's new 13th District.

Friday's filings were the first public glimpse at the spread of financial support for the crowded field of at least nine Democratic candidates vying for the open seat representing most of Detroit, the Grosse Pointes and downriver communities.

Reports were still rolling in Friday afternoon, with several candidates yet to file with the Federal Election Commission ahead of the midnight deadline.

Hollier noted that he'd raised more in his first quarter than several lawmakers in the Michigan delegation did when they first ran for Congress, including Democratic U.S. Reps. Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens, who flipped Republican-held districts in 2018.

"My Q1 is better, and I think it's better because people recognize that we cannot afford to have no Black member of Congress from Michigan," said Hollier, who is Black.

He was referring to the impending retirement of U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, who is the only African American lawmaker now representing Michigan in the U.S. House.

Hollier had over 1,000 individuals donate during the first three months of the year, including notable names like Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp, the Rev. Horace Sheffield and Brian Peters, CEO at the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

Hollier, who said he is a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, also got contributions from several tribal nations.

The 13th District field includes state Rep. Shri Thanedar; John Conyers III, son of the late congressman; former state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo; businessman Michael Griffie; former Detroit City Council member Sharon McPhail; and Detroit attorney Portia Roberson, among others.

Thanedar has a sizable edge in terms of a war chest — he last year committed $5 million of his fortune to his campaign and on Friday reported just over that much in cash reserves. He donated another $170,000 to his campaign during the first quarter.

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His campaign said Thanedar refuses corporate political action committee money and would be self-funding most of his campaign "so that he only has to answer to his constituents," rather than special interests. Thanedar carried Detroit in the 2018 Democratic primary for governor.

“Conventional political wisdom is that primaries are about name recognition, so Shri’s war chest can be potent in that regard. But also, the avenues of influence in Detroit aren’t solely monetary,” said Simon Schuster of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

“I don’t think numbers in campaign finance filings are yet a good way to know someone’s likelihood to victory.”

Griffie's receipts of $307,090 last quarter included a $15,500 loan he gave his campaign. He reported $252,905 in the bank. Roberson raised $267,539 and had $253,482 in cash reserves, her campaign said. And McPhail reported $35,065 in receipts and $33,330 cash on hand.

Detroit U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is running for reelection next door in the new 12th District, posted a haul of $495,054, which her campaign said largely came from small-dollar donations. Her cash reserves stood at $1.6 million as of March 31.

Friday's reports also revealed that pro-Israel groups are helping support Tlaib challenger Janice Winfrey, the Detroit city clerk, who reported $236,296 in receipts and $220,678 cash on hand.

Nearly half of Winfrey's contributions — at least $106,851 — were earmarked and forwarded by two pro-Israel political action committees: AIPAC PAC and Pro-Israel America PAC.

The development appeared to be less an endorsement of Winfrey and more an attack on Tlaib, a vocal Israel critic, because Tlaib can "comfortably" carry the new district, said Schuster of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

"Like other powerful interest groups, they've made it clear that if you are against their policy positions, you can draw their ire — and that translates to financial consequences," Schuster said.

Pro-Israel America last month officially endorsed Winfrey, saying her race would be listed as a "key" contest with her taking on Tlaib, whom the group called "one of the most anti-Israel voices in Congress."

"Our activists are supporting Janice Winfrey because of her strong commitment to advance the U.S.-Israel relationship as a member of Congress," AIPAC spokesman Marshall Whittmann said Friday.

Others running in the Democratic primary in the 12th include former state Rep. Shanelle Jackson.

In other races, Slotkin, D-Holly, outpaced Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett last quarter, bringing in more than $1.3 million and expanding her cash reserves to a $5.5 million, according to her campaign. She's running for reelection in the new Lansing-based 7th District.

Barrett of Charlotte reported about $458,000 for last quarter, with his campaign saying his receipts exceeded $750,000 in 4.5 months from more than 12,500 donors.

"I’m overwhelmed by the number of people who have invested in our campaign,” Barrett said in a statement.

Slotkin was not the top Michigan fundraiser for last quarter — that title will likely go to GOP candidate John James, who posted a haul of $1.5 million in his race for the open seat representing the new 10th District that covers parts of Macomb and Oakland counties.

The total for the former U.S. Senate candidate and businessman from Farmington Hills will likely place him among the top non-incumbent candidates for the U.S. House nationwide in fundraising, his campaign said.

James faces Tony Marcinkewciz of Macomb Township in the August GOP primary. Marcinkewciz on Friday reported $3,129 in receipts and $2,995 in the bank.

The Democratic primary field in the 10th includes Warren City Councilwoman Angela Rogensues, who raised $196,530 last quarter and reported $159,625 on hand, and retired judge and prosecutor Carl Marlinga, who brought in $140,283 and finished with $135,243 in the bank.

In the member-on-member Democratic primary in Michigan's new 11th District, Stevens raised more than opponent U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, D-Bloomfield Township, reporting $1.1 million in receipts and nearly $2.8 million in cash reserves as of March 31.

Stevens got a boost from a late February fundraiser with a number of Jewish donors, as well as $297,341 in contributions bundled by the American Israel Public Affairs Political Action Committee (AIPAC PAC), according to disclosure reports.

Levin brought in $767,268 in the first three months of the year and had $1.47 million in the bank. Both Stevens and Levin are running for a third term in Michigan's new 11th District following the redistricting process.

Republican Josh Bitterman of Pontiac, who is seeking the GOP nomination in the 11th, reported $117,357 in receipts and $104,288 in cash reserves.

In another closely watched contest, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, more than doubled his receipts from the previous quarter, posting $869,285 in receipts and ending with $2.4 million in cash reserves.

Kildee is running for reelection in a potential swing district in Michigan's new 8th. Reports for candidates in the 8th District GOP primary, including Paul Junge, had not yet been posted as of Friday afternoon.

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