Trump gave $65,000 to Republicans in Michigan who contested the 2020 election
Former President Donald Trump is the top donor to several Michigan Republicans running for office in 2022.
Trump has given his endorsement to 14 candidates who falsely claim voter fraud caused his loss in the previous election. The former president called on Michigan to elect a “new legislature” to launch more investigations into the results, and new campaign finance disclosures show he is supporting loyal candidates with donations from his Save America PAC.
Trump has donated a total of $65,000 to Michigan candidates according to campaign reports filed Monday. Thirteen of the 14 candidates he endorsed each received a $5,000 donation. The money came from a Trump PAC leadership established days after the 2020 election. The PAC said it had $105 million in cash on hand at the end of last year.
The former president said his favorite candidates would expose the fraud and hold the so-called criminals responsible for stripping him of a second term. In reality, Trump failed to prove that the fraud had any impact on Michigan’s election results. The same goes for audits by state election officials and an investigation by Republican lawmakers.
Only Texas had more candidates who received donations from Trump than Michigan.
State-level candidates who have received donations from Trump include:
- State Representative Matt Maddock, R-Milford
- Jonathan Lindey, candidate for the 17th Senate District
- Rachelle Smit, candidate for the 43rd House District
- Mike Detmer, candidate for the 47th House District
- Kevin Rathburn, candidate for the 85th House District
- Angela Rigas, candidate for the 86th House District
- Jon Rocha, candidate for the 87th House District
- Mick Bricker, candidate for the 88th House District
- Jacky Eubanks, candidate for the 63rd House District
Au Gres Mayor Mike Hoadley was endorsed by Trump but did not receive a donation, according to campaign finance documents. He is running for a seat representing Michigan’s 99th District.
Trump also endorsed and donated two congressional candidates who pledged to punish U.S. Representatives Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids and Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, for voting to impeach Trump. Michigan’s 4th District candidate Steve Carra and 3rd District candidate John Gibbs each received a $5,000 donation.
Carra, a state representative, planned to run against Upton, but district lines were redrawn late last year. Now US Representative Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, is running for re-election in the new 4th congressional district. Upton has not announced whether he will seek another term, but Carra still plans to run in the 4th District.
Carra raised $124,759 in the last reporting period and had $203,789 in cash remaining to start the year. Huizenga raised $367,095 and had $1.1 million left to spend. Upton has brought in $683,286 despite not being hired so far, and he has $1.4 million to spend in 2022.
Gibbs, a conservative commentator and former Trump administration staffer, challenges Meijer in Michigan’s 3rd congressional district. Gibbs raised $51,466 in the final months of 2021 and had $83,246 to spend on his campaign. Meijer raised $418,201 and still has $1.2 million in cash.
Carra and Gibbs received donations from Trump on December 16, 2021. State-level race donations were all delivered on December 28, 2021.
Trump’s involvement in state-level races is unusual for former presidents, but reflects his influence on Republicans in Michigan. He narrowly won Michigan in 2016, reversing a trend of Democratic wins, but then lost in 2020.
Maddock’s wife, Meshawn, is co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party and worked for Trump’s re-election campaign. Meshawn is also her husband’s campaign treasurer and designated records manager, according to campaign documents.
Trump hailed the duo’s loyalty in a statement last November, calling Maddock a “Trump original” and Meshawn a “great ally.” Maddock is in the running to become Michigan’s next House speaker if re-elected.
Maddock raised $7,510 between the reporting period covering October 21 and December 31, 2021, most of which came from Trump’s Save America PAC.
Trump’s donation also formed the bulk of fundraising for Bricker and Rathbun. Bricker raised $8,663 in the final months of 2021. He posted a photo of the $5,000 donation check and a letter of support from Trump on his campaign Facebook page in January. Rathbun raised $7,660 for his campaign.
Trump shouted a canvassing effort by Eubanks to uncover “voting irregularities” in Macomb County. Local officials said information provided by Eubanks showed no evidence of fraud. An independent organization that audited the county’s voting machines also found no evidence of interference.
Eubanks raised $18,002 for his State House campaign last reporting period. She claimed the 2020 election was “stolen” at a January event in Macomb County and encouraged Republicans to become election workers to stop “communists” from stealing the next election.
Trump’s endorsement statements also denounced a House Oversight Committee report that “found no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud” in the 2020 election. Trump blamed Republicans who led the investigation. months of being disloyal to the party.
The former chairman endorsed Detmer’s main challenge against Oversight Committee Vice Chair Lana Theis, R-Brighton. Theis had $119,500 in his campaign account at the start of 2022 while Detmer only had $360.
Detmer has spent months attending rallies promoting debunked fraud allegations and calling on the Legislature to launch another audit of the results. At a Moms for Liberty event in Livingston County, Detmer encouraged the public to bring guns to voting sites to “protect” Republican observers.
Rigas did not report Trump’s $5,000 donation, although it appeared in filings for his PAC. She said she raised $5,050 from other donors and has $2,474 to spend on her State House campaign.
Smit also did not report the Save America donation. She said she raised $22,826 and had $54,468 to spend on her State House campaign.
Rocha missed Monday’s filing deadline and had still not submitted documents by 9 a.m. Tuesday, so details of his fundraising are unknown.
Secretary of State prospect Kristina Karamo and Attorney General prospect Matt DePerno were also endorsed and received donations from Trump. Candidates for both positions are selected at party nominating conventions instead of primary elections.
Karamo raised $64,099 and he has $133,054 left to spend on his campaign. Chesterfield Township Clerk Cindy Berry raised $8,900 and had $5,473 left to spend. Beau LaFave State Representative R-Iron Mountain raised $13,893 in the last quarter of 2021 and ended the year with $15,741.
Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has raised six times more than Karamo. She said she raised $412,356 and had $1.4 million left to spend.
DePerno missed Monday’s filing deadline and still hadn’t submitted documents by 9 a.m. Tuesday, so his fundraising details are unknown. He is running for the Attorney General nomination against State Representative Ryan Berman, R-Commerce Township and former State House Speaker Tom Leonard.
Leonard outplayed his opponents and Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel. Leonard said he raised $283,481 and had $665,968 in cash remaining. Nessel said he raised $277,954 and had $1.6 million to spend in 2022.
Berman raised $100,705 and had $279,018 left to spend at the start of the year.
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