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Wealthy candidates and wealthy donors turn up in 2022 Michigan campaign finance reports

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

The latest campaign finance data shows a growing number of candidates in Michigan are self-financing their 2022 election campaigns.

Simon Schuster is the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. He says it’s helpful for a candidate to have a big bank account if they lack the connections to fundraise.

Schuster points to Republican gubernatorial candidates Perry Johnson and Kevin Rinke as examples of self-financing campaigns. Both plan on spending millions of their own dollars on their campaigns.

“Wealthier individuals perhaps they’re realizing that these political offices are more accessible because they can hire the consultants and campaign staff and pay for the advertising that some other candidates, who don’t come from wealthy means, have to scrounge and fundraise very feverishly for,” says Schuster.

The data also shows having a wealthy patron can help.

For example, former President Donald Trump’s political action committee has made large donations to more than a dozen candidates in Michigan.

“Former President Trump has not made any definite statements about his future in politics,” said Schuster “So instead it seems he choosing to amass influence, even more so than he already has, by rewarding those who have been allegiant to him.”

Though in some cases, the Trump campaign donations may have been larger than permitted by state law.

Simon Schuster was a guest on the February 3 episode of Stateside. You can hear his full interview in the audio file at the top of this post.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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