April 29 2010 12:00 AM

Dems still lag in the polls, plus the latest on Bernero's 527 account


A new poll out today by Rasmussen Reports puts Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero neck-and-neck with House Speaker Andy Dillon, but the two leading Democratic candidates are still largely unknown among voters.

The poll shows Bernero polling at 12 percent among voters and Dillon at 13 percent. The good news for Bernero is that he jumped from 8 percent when the poll was last taken in March. The bad news is that 51 percent of voters are still undecided, and 15 percent selected “some other candidate.”

This poll reflects another released last Friday that showed Detroit-area attorney Geoffrey Fieger, who’s not even running for governor, as a more popular candidate than Dillon, Bernero or Alma Wheeler-Smith (who, like Bernero, gained one percentage point in the Rasmussen poll since March). And the poll was taken before a fictionalized Fieger appeared in HBO’s biopic of Jack Kevorkian that premiered this past Saturday.

In other Bernero news, the Ingham County Young Democrats group voted to endorse Bernero at its April 22 meeting. In non-endorsements, state Rep. Mark Meadows, D-East Lansing, said on the City Pulse radio show last week that he won't be endorsing in the governor's race. He said it would distract from his job of getting fellow House members reelected.

"I don't intend on making any endorsement," he said.

In appearances, Bernero will speak at Freedom Weekend IX (9) in Detroit this weekend. Bernero will debate with Dillon and Smith, plus Republican gubernatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra, on “urban issues." He is also set to speak at the Democratic Spring Gala on May 1, which is being hosted by the Democratic clubs of Plymouth, Northiville and Livonia.

In money: We may not be able to see how much Virg Bernero — the gubernatorial candidate — has raised until filings are due in July. But, we can see how Virg Bernero — the Lansing mayor — has in his 527 political nonprofit account.

Bernero created the “City Administrative Account” in 2006 to pay for expenses surrounding his first mayoral inauguration, and has continued to use it since. It reported its first quarter 2010 contributions and expenditures to the IRS on March 31.

The bulk of the $13,950 the 527 collected so far this year came from the environmental firm Malcolm Pirnie ($4,000) and Lansing-based Christman Construction ($4,000). The Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America, which is building a new headquarters out of the old Ottawa Power Station in downtown Lansing with the help of Christman, gave $3,000 on Jan. 22. The law firm Foster, Swift, Collins and Smith gave $1,000 on Jan. 22, the Retailer Trade Association gave $500 on Jan. 22, and Adams Outdoor Advertising gave $450 also on Jan. 22.

Bernero spent $17,094, most of which was divided into three categories (meals, “inauguration” and entertainment) on four different dates: March 31, Feb. 28, Jan. 12 and Jan. 31.
Here are the expenditures, organized by date (noted in parenthesis if the expenditure was made outside of Lansing):

Jan. 12
$29 – Country Club of Lansing
$60 — Biggby
$149 — Walnut Hills Country Club (East Lansing)
$735 — Amy’s Catering
$90 — Soup Spoon Caf
$50 — Fazoli’s (Delta Township)
$502 — Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority
$2,500 — Motion Marketing and Media
$650 — Chen’s Restaurant
$300 — Lansing Symphony Orchestra

Jan. 31
$17 — Burger King
$25 — Caf Marie (Ann Arbor)
$442 — Dublin Square (East Lansing)
$110 — Enso (East Lansing)
$32 — Le Petit Zinc (Detroit)
$106 — Little Caesars
$43 — Los Tres Amigos
$237 — Mario’s Restaurant (Howell)
$11 — Rosie O’Grady’s (Ferndale)
$87 — Sala Thai Inc. (Detroit)
$46 — San Chez Restaurant (Grand Rapids)
$24 — Sunrise Family Restaurant
$26 — Marathon Oil
$26 — Shell Gas Station (East Lansing)
$22 — Sunoco
$538 — Art Craft & NE
$112 — Baryames Tuxedo (Okemos)
$598 — Best Buy (Delta Township)
$3 — City of East Lansing City Pulse
$112 — Courtyard Marriott (listed in the 527 filing as being at 333 Jefferson Ave. in Lansing, but the only Courtyard Marriott at that address in Michigan is in Detroit)
$40 — Fairlane Car Wash (Dearborn)

Feb. 9
$2,837 — Motion Marketing and Media
$100 — Motion Marketing and Media
$100 — The Singletons

Feb. 19
$75 — State of Michigan
$450 — Lansing Parks and Recreation
$1,126 — Image Builders (East Lansing)

March 5
$100 — Ron Abraham

March 8
$115 — The University Club
$437 — Keystone Printing (Dewitt Township)

Feb. 28
$768 — Aldinger Inc.
$22 – Bite Bar and Restaurant (Grand Rapids)
$40 — New Aladdin Restaurant
$41 — Peppinos Grill (Allendale)
$122 — Restaurant Mediteran
$69 — Jon Anthony Florist
$44 — Exxon Mobil (Grand Rapids)
$150 — Delau Fire Services
$4 — City of Lansing
$12 — Pearl and Ottawa Tavern (Grand Rapids)

March 31
$101 — Capitol National Bank
$14 — Astoria Pastry (Detroit)
$64 — Capitol City Grille
$58 — Corey’s Restaurant
$46 — Empire Szechuan
$55 — Lexington Bistro (Delta Township
$29 — Original Pancake House (Grosse Pointe Woods)
$20 — Piazzanos
$25 — Sparty’s Coney Island
$97 — Sultan’s Express
$31 — Thai Food from Lamai’s Kitchen
$163 — TPF the Popcorn
$1,693 — Troppo
$324 — Fortino’s Flow