Opinion

Suddenly, Democrats are raising more money than Republicans

Posted

Here's something I've never written before this past Monday. 

Democratic Senate candidates in Michigan's most competitive seats went 7-0 in raising more money for their respective campaigns than their likely Republican opponent for the calendar year to date, 2022. 

Muskegon, Macomb County, Oakland County, it didn't matter. 

As a whole, the Michigan Senate Democrats — long the forgotten stepchild of the four legislative caucuses — is raking in the cash like they've never seen before.  

It's hard to fully appreciate the historical nature of the Senate Democrats raising $1.1 million for a three-month quarter, $400,000 more than the Senate Republicans unless you've watched the caucus get pounded year after year after year. 

It's almost like the Detroit Lions. The last time they were on top, we were all listening to cassette tapes and wearing fluorescent-color clothing. 

Sen. Mallory McMorrow's, D-Royal Oak, floor speech about being called a groomer by a rightwing colleague went so viral she raised $1 million off it. She's got so much money pouring in, she quit taking it for her own campaign.  

She's directing it to her leadership PAC, the Senate Democrats, the Democratic Party, in general.  

Your average winning state House campaign raises $40,000 to $50,000 by this time in the election season. If a candidate pulls in a few hundred unique contributors, that's pretty good. If they are running in a competitive race, they'll raise a little more. 

In 2020, Rep. Angela Witwer, D-Delta Twp., reported raising $78,361 from Jan. 1 to mid-July from 373 individual contributors. That's normal. 

In 2022, Witwer — still an incumbent running in basically the same district — reported raising $128,700 from 2,576 contributors. That's not normal. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is sitting on $14.7 million with 100 days left before the start of the general election. She's already raised $29.2 million this cycle. By this point in 2006, then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm had raised $11.12 million. When adjusted for inflation, that's $16.5 million. 

This is serious money. 

To be fair, Democrats have gotten more sophisticated in raising money online. Rich, deep-pocketed Democrats from across the country are being connected to campaigns like never before. 

Republican candidates are doing fine, but they're not raising money like this. Kevin Rinke dug into his pocket for his $10 million. Tudor Dixon wouldn't be leading in the polls if the DeVos family wasn't running ads for her. 

Of the 25 House candidates with the most campaign debt, all of them are Republicans. 

Back in May, I wrote that the death of Roe v. Wade could be a lifeline to Michigan Democrats. At the time, things weren't looking that hot for the D's. Enthusiasm was down. Biden numbers were in the tank. 

Well, let's be honest. They're still in the tank. 

But what a difference the historic Supreme Court decision overturning legalized abortion nationwide makes. 

This was the Democrats' fire alarm at 5 a.m.  

Yes, this is actually happening. This isn't a drill.  

Abortion is not legal in every state of the union. It's one adverse court decision from being illegal here, too. 

And if the Supreme Court can rule abortion regulations need to be decided by the states, what's stopping the justices from making similar rulings on gay marriage? Interracial marriage? Contraceptives?  

Any progressive social change that has stemmed from the U.S. Supreme Court could, in theory, be undone by a high court that is 67% conservative Republican president-appointed. Justice Clarence Thomas is the oldest of the bunch at 74 and Samuel Alito is 72. Outside of Chief Justice John Roberts at 67, the rest of these folks are fairly young.  

Democrats are realizing change at the Supreme Court is going to take a while. They need wins in Congress, governor offices, and state legislatures.  

Time will tell if this momentum is enough to reverse the red wave that was supposed to crash into Michigan this November. For now, it looks like it's neutralizing it. 

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