July 7 2010 12:00 AM

Virg running for money


With less than a month left until the Democratic gubernatorial primary, appeals from the
Virg Bernero camp for money are coming harder than ever.

On Tuesday, an e-mail was sent out from the Bernero camp
asking that each supporter give $100 by July 1 so that it can be matched by the
state campaign fund (a pot ‘o money supplied by us taxpayers who choose to
check the box to give $3 when we do our tax returns).

But, Bernero might not get the matching funds he could be
eligible for.

The Legislature in 2007 took $7.2 million out of the fund to
balance a budget deficit. Right now, there’s only around $2 million in the
fund. Candidates can get up to a 2-for-1 match on any donation they raise up to
$100, and a total of $900,000, the Detroit News reported. According to that
paper, all candidates but Rick Snyder (and Alma Wheeler-Smith, because she
dropped out) plan to use matching funds.

Meanwhile, it is thought that Bernero challenger Andy Dillon
has a lot more money (we won’t know until campaign finance reports are released
July 23) — he’s been running television commercials for a couple of weeks. The
Bernero campaign has stated that it will roll out ads, but would not say when
(it released a few Web ads).

A Detroit News article about the ramping up of campaign
activity quoted Bernero as saying his campaign would beat Dillon on the ground
— meaning that he would rely on face to face time with voters, rather than
through the media.

Inside Michigan Politics publisher Bill Ballenger was quoted
as saying, “If he's just relying on the ground game, he's dead meat. I don't
think that's going to do it.”

Speaking of ads, the Michigan Republic Party released at Web
ad attacking Bernero, making fun of his “angriest mayor” moniker. The
Republicans released a video earlier in the year, calling out the fact that
Bernero has held office as a county commissioner, state representative, state
senator and mayor. Bernero actually touted the latest Republican attack against
him in a fundraising letter and on Facebook.

In endorsements, Bernero picked up nods from the National
Organization of Women and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, both
abortion rights groups. He also landed the Michigan Nurses Association
endorsement, the largest nurses’ union in Michigan. Dillon picked up an
endorsement by the state Fraternal Order of Police, an organization formed in
1915 with more than 320,000 members.