With less than 90 days until the Nov. 8 election that will determine who will serve as the state’s next leading elections officer, incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has a significant financial advantage over her GOP challenger Kristina Karamo.
The most recent campaign finance disclosures provide us our first look at how much money each opponent’s campaign has raised since last year.
According to Karamo’s most recent campaign finance report, which covers the time period from Jan. 1 to Aug. 11, 2022, she has raised $467,373.56 so far this year and has $277,250.86 in cash on hand. She is the presumptive Republican contender for secretary of state.
According to her most recent campaign filing, which covers the period from January 1 to August 5, 2022, Benson has raised more than $2.1 million so far this year and currently has more than $3.2 million in cash on hand.
The discrepancy seen in the most recent campaign financial reports is a continuation of one seen in earlier reports. According to campaign finance reports for the time period from October 21 to December 31, 2021, Benson had more over $1.4 million in cash on hand at the end of the previous year compared to $133,054 for Karamo.
Benson, who won reelection to her position as secretary of state in 2018 with nearly 53% of the vote, has framed her campaign as a fight for the future of democracy.
As the presumed contender for secretary of state, Karamo won approximately 70% of the votes cast by GOP delegates at the party’s first endorsement convention in April. She also gained the backing of former President Donald Trump and her party.
Karamo is a member of a group of “America First” Republican candidates for secretary of state who have made unfounded accusations that the 2020 election was tainted by fraud. She was also one of several Republicans who attempted to intervene as plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought by the attorney general of Texas asking the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the election results in Michigan and other crucial states. The court denied that attempt.
The backing for the incumbent secretary of state’s reelection campaign was described as “tremendous” by a representative for Benson’s campaign.
Liz Boyd stated that “Michiganders want a Secretary of State who is focused on the job like Benson is.” They don’t want someone like Karamo, who promotes conspiracies and brandishes her fellow Republicans as traitors when they disagree with her over the Big Lie.
More: I’m a tiny MAGA warrior, says Kristina Karamo, candidate for secretary of state in Michigan
See also: Michigan Republican nominee for secretary of state presented flimsy allegations of electoral irregularities.
Benson’s handling of the 2020 presidential race, notably her choice to mail absentee ballot applications to every registered voter in the state, has drawn criticism from Republicans time and time again. In the first significant statewide elections held after voters established a constitutional right to cast an absentee ballot for any reason, Benson has defended the action as promoting absentee voting amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Michigan Democratic Party contributed $100,000 to Benson’s reelection campaign, and the SEIU Michigan State Council contributed $71,500 in late July. These were the two largest contributions listed in her most recent campaign finance report.
More than 60 donors have contributed the maximum of $7,150 each, including Robert Katz, the executive board chairman of Vail Resorts, and his wife, actress Kate Capshaw-Spielberg, as well as Hollywood director Steven Spielberg.
According to her campaign’s filing, Karamo did not receive similarly significant contributions from organizations like Benson, but a number of individuals did, including Michigan GOP Chairman Ron Weiser.
Karamo and Benson already have the support of their respective political parties. While the Michigan Republican Party will have its nominating convention on August 27, the Michigan Democratic Convention will convene its convention to formally nominate Benson on Sunday.
In her capacity as a corps member with The GroundTruth Project’s Report for America program, Clara Hendrickson verifies the facts surrounding Michigan politics and issues. Visit bit.ly/freepRFA to support her work with a tax-deductible donation. You may reach her at 313-296-5743 or email@example.com. Verify her Twitter account at @clarajanehen.
The Detroit Free Press is where this article first appeared. According to the most recent campaign finance reports, Karamo is fundraising behind Benson.
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