LANSING (AP) — Republican Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday reported raising $3.3 million this year for his re-election campaign, about $500,000 more than his Democratic opponent, Mark Schauer.
Schauer was aided with nearly $1 million in public campaign funds and has about $2.2 million less to spend going forward than the first-term governor, who has nearly $4.7 million in the bank for their November showdown.
Friday’s campaign finance deadline offered the first glimpse into the gubernatorial candidates’ fundraising since January. Neither has an opponent in the Aug. 5 primary.
Snyder’s $3.3 million included no contributions from political action committees and, his camp noted, no taxpayer funds. Republicans have criticized Schauer for tapping into the State Campaign Fund — to which taxpayers voluntarily can give $3 of their taxes — when he has no primary opponent.
Snyder spokeswoman Emily Benavides said “resources matter” and his cash advantage will help communicate that 250,000-plus private-sector jobs have been created under his watch and highlight other accomplishments such as the lowest unemployment rate in six years and the “grand bargain” to help Detroit emerge from bankruptcy.
Schauer’s campaign said he cut into Snyder’s cash-on-hand advantage on a proportional basis.
“It’s clear Mark Schauer has all the momentum in this race,” spokeswoman Cathy Bacile Cunningham said, accusing Snyder of counting on “billionaire friends to smear” Schauer.
A mid-July EPIC-MRA poll showed the candidates about even. Snyder had the support of 46 percent of likely voters polled and Schauer 43 percent, with a sampling error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points. The Snyder campaign says polling tightened after $2 million worth of negative ads were run by the Democratic Governors Association.
Those ads ended recently, and the Republican Governors Association last week began a $2 million counteroffensive expected to run through late August.
From January through Sunday, Snyder raised $3.3 million and spent $2.6 million, leaving him with $4.7 million in savings. He has brought in $9.3 million the entire election cycle and has spent $6.2 million.
Schauer collected $2.8 million — $953,000 of it public funds — and has raised $4.5 million to date, leaving him with $2.5 million in savings. He spent about $1.4 million this year and has spent nearly $2 million altogether.
Schauer’s big donors this cycle include the Michigan Laborers’ Political League ($68,000), the Michigan Education Association PAC ($61,200) and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters ($45,000).
Snyder benefited from many individual contributors maxing out at the $6,800 donation.
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