Upton, Meijer lead Michigan GOP House members in cash hauls amid impeachment votes

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Apr. 16—WASHINGTON — The two Michigan Republican congressmen who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump led their GOP colleagues in the state in fundraising for the first quarter of the year, according to disclosure reports.

U.S. Reps. Peter Meijer of Grand Rapids Township and Fred Upton of St. Joseph reported hauls of $519,741 and $360,392, respectively, for the three-month period through March 31.

Both congressmen, who were among 10 House Republicans to support Trump's impeachment in January, also reported healthy cash reserves in the bank: Meijer ended the quarter with $469,996 on hand, and Upton had $484,848. Both have attracted primary challengers in response to their impeachment votes.

"For the first quarter of a non-election year, those are solid numbers," said David Dulio, a political scientist at Oakland University.

"Every incumbent would like to have more every quarter, but I imagine that those numbers put both of them in strong positions to fend of a primary challenge and to win a general election."

Both Upton and Meijer received the maximum donations allowed for their primary contests — $2,900 — from state Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser last month. Weiser gave the same amount to every member of the Michigan GOP delegation.

Primary challengers to Upton and Meijer have a ways to go to catch up with the incumbents in the fundraising sphere. Meijer challenger Tom Norton raised $38,660 but has $79,229 in campaign debt. Another Meijer challenger, Audra Johnson, brought in $13,778.

Upton challengers Jerry Stolis reported $5,500 in receipts, and Jon Rocha $4,605. Berrien County Commissioner Ezra Scott and state Rep. Stephen Carra have also launched campaigns against Upton, but had filed no fundraising reports with the FEC as of Friday morning.

The House Republicans were outpaced by two Michigan Democratic sophomore lawmakers who represent GOP-leaning districts in Metro Detroit and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, giving each a strong start to the new election cycle.

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Holly raised more than any other member of the Michigan delegation with a haul of $848,041. U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens of Rochester Hills brought in $588,853, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Slotkin had a whopping $2.25 million on hand as of March 31, and Stevens $519,801.

"Slotkin and Stevens just continue the frenetic fundraising pace they've been on since they were elected, and there's no reason to think that will slow down any time in near future," Dulio said.

"That fundraising success will pay dividends when they run for reelection in districts that continue to tilt Republican. Because you will get some potential quality candidates on the GOP side who will see those numbers and won't run because of it."

Peters, who is the new chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, reported $595,135 in receipts for the quarter and $2,232,564 in cash reserves. Peters was elected to a second term last fall, defeating GOP businessman John James.

The new filings also offer the first look at fundraising by two House Republicans who faced constituent efforts to "defund" or cut off their campaign cash after they objected Jan. 6 to the electoral tallies that made President Joe Biden's victory official.

The groups have launched letter-writing campaigns to reach donors — individuals, corporations and other organizations — who gave to U.S. Reps. Tim Walberg of Tipton and Jack Bergman of Watersmeet, urging them to end their financial contributions.

Bergman raised $206,200 for the quarter, which his campaign said was a record for the congressman and the highest haul for a first quarter in a non-election year in the history of Michigan's 1st District, which covers the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula.

"I'm humbled that the Bergman Brigade, in the face of such adversity, negativity and disgusting political behavior, chose to stand so tall against this bullying and propel us to our most successful first quarter to date," Bergman said in a statement.

He ended the quarter with $268,396 in the bank. His campaign also reported $145,680 in debt, which is from loans that Bergman lent his campaign in 2016.

Walberg raised $168,108 and is "in great shape," Dulio said, with $845,155 in the bank.

Both Walberg and Upton aren't hurting in the fundraising arena, Dulio noted, despite the defund campaigns.

Several corporate political action committees also suspended contributions to federal candidates in the wake of the Jan. 6 violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, including the Michigan-based General Motors, Ford, CMS Energy, Dow, Whirlpool, as well as Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Nationally, several corporations have restarted PAC giving to Jan. 6 objectors and other lawmakers.