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Senate candidates release fundraising numbers for first quarter of 2012

GOP senate candidates 2012
Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Several GOP candidates debated in Zeeland, Michigan in January 2012.

Republican frontrunner, former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, reports on his facebook page he raised $700,000 in the first quarter of this year for his campaign against incumbent U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.  The Stabenow campaign claims in an email she raised twice as much, “more than $1.5 million”.

Inside Michigan Politics Editor Bill Ballenger says whoever wins the primary is going to need a lot more money.

“I think the Republican nominee whether it’s Pete Hoekstra or Clark Durant or somebody else is going to have to spend at least $10 million to have a chance to win this race,” Ballenger said.

Clark Durant is a charter school advocate from Detroit. He’s one of eight Republicans trying to win the party’s nomination this summer. Durant reported on Twitter he raised more than $550,000. 

“They might be able to beat (Stabenow),” Ballenger says, if the Republican National Committee decides to invest in the race. Ballenger says another important factor in the general election will be funding from groups outside of the campaigns, like political action committees and so-called super PACS.

“But if they decide this is a race that’s out of reach, that there are too many other races around the country where Republicans have better chances to win and Pete Hoekstra and Clark Durant have to depend solely on their own ability to raise and spend money, I think they’re going to be in trouble and I think Debbie Stabenow win easily outspend them and that she’ll be reelected.”

Donations to Hoekstra’s campaign dropped from the previous quarter. Stabenow’s campaign says a controversial political ad that ran during the super bowl is at least partly to blame.

“A significant influx of these contributions were recorded in the weeks following Pete Hoekstra's divisive Superbowl ad and negative attacks by out-of-state front groups representing the oil and pharmaceutical industries.”

The Hoekstra campaign eventually pulled the TV ad.

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor and West Michigan Reporter.
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