69th House race gets chippy

By Kyle Melinn

Singh, Schmidt go negative over campaign contributions

Friday, Aug. 3 — It was bound to only last so long.

The friendly but competitive Democratic primary in the 69th House District turned chippy today when Sam Singh accused opponent Susan Schmidt of negatively attacking him through a fundraising email that says 60 percent of Singh's money came from out of the district.

Singh told supporters in his own fundraising email that the claim was "misleading" and can only be described "as an act of desperation."

"Perhaps I was nave, but I thought we could make it through this election focusing on the positive: investing in education, rebuilding our economy, protecting our environment," Singh wrote. "Unfortunately, this week has shown otherwise as supporters of my opponent have begun attacking me."

Schmidt and Singh are seeking to replace term-limited Rep. Mark Meadows, D-East Lansing. The winner of the Democratic primary is a heavy favorite to win in November. The 69th district includes East Lansing and Meridian Township.

Schmidt said she didn't think there was anything negative about her e-mail, which also added that 44 percent of Singh's money was from outside Ingham County in contrast to her 80 percent from within the district. Together, Singh ($136,498) and Schmidt ($98,924) have raised the most money of any mid-Michigan House race and the fifth most of any House race in the state.

"I was just stating a fact," she said. "People can say what they want, but if you add up the numbers, that's what they say."

Schmidt goes on in her e-mail to state that nearly 18 percent of Singh's donations are from special interests or PACs, while 97 percent of Schmidt's support is from "families and friends."

But Singh points out that much of the special interest money he received was based on endorsements he earned that Schmidt, herself, also sought.

"It's just so disingenuous," Singh said. "I'm disappointed, actually. I was hoping we could have a campaign based on the issues."

Singh then pointed out that Schmidt's campaign is $25,000 in debt based on her campaign filings.

To that, Schmidt said she put $15,000 into her campaign to get started after she left her job in September 2011 as Meadows' former chief of staff. After she said she saw special interest money going to Singh, she put another $10,000 into her campaign to show others that she "has a lot of skin in the game."

Singh has about $731.17 of his own money in the race.

Singh received $2,000 from the Michigan Regional Carpenters PAC, $1,250 from the Operating Engineers and $1,000 a piece from the Michigan Osteopathic PAC, the Realtors PAC and the CAP PAC. He got $750 from the Michigan Paving and Materials Association PAC and $500 from the Detroit Regional Chamber PAC, the Michigan Doctor's PAC SEIU Healthcare Michigan, and the Michigan Credit Union League

Schmidt received $750 from a Citizens for Mid-Michigan PAC based out of Charlotte and $500 from the Michigan Bankers Association PAC.