(The Center Square) – Gubernatorial candidates are grabbing as much cash as they can to pack their respective war chests for a hotly contested 2022 faceoff.
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is ahead by a wide margin, raising a record $8.65 million in 2021, one year before the primary, with $10.7 million cash on hand.
Kalamazoo chiropractor Garrett Soldano raised nearly $625,000. With $375,000 cash on hand and $25,000 of debt, he beat out several other GOP candidates. Soldano’s social media empire has fueled his rise to fame. He originally started a 400,000-person Facebook group called “Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine,” which the social media giant shuttered in May 2020.
Still, he has an 81,000-person group of supporters on a private page.
Coming in second is Republican pastor Ralph Reband, who raised over $181,000 and has $20,000 cash on hand.
The third is conservative Norton Shores native and cable network co-host Tudor Dixon, raising $132,536. She has $87,000 cash on hand.
Behind her in fundraising is Republican Ryan Kelley, a real estate broker, who raised nearly $35,000 with $17,000 cash on hand.
Additional contenders could still join.
The Detroit News reported Whitmer used a state policy allowing unlimited contribution caps since she’s facing a recall to raise $3.4 million from large donors who would otherwise be capped at $7,150.
All recall attempts appear inactive.
The News’ Craig Mauger questioned what prevents a Michigan officeholder from using a supporter to launch a recall effort to trigger this unlimited fundraising clause.
Conservative consultant Fred Wszolek called on conservative filing recalls to stop.
“Every grassroots conservative in MI should turn up the heat on the various Recall Whitmer activists to pack it in now, he tweeted. “They're not going to succeed, and they're strengthening her by the day. They knew this could happen. It is. Enough.”
One person filed 16 recall petitions in Monday’s board of Canvassers meeting: five to recall Whitmer, three to recall Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, four to recall Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and four to recall Attorney General Dana Nessel — all Democrats. The recalls are likely to fail.