Politics

EXCLUSIVE: Fundraising Numbers Show GOP Consolidating Around Army Vet To Take On Stabenow

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Jack Crowe Political Reporter
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Michigan Republican Senate candidate John James improved his fundraising situation dramatically, announcing Thursday that his team has raised more than $1 million over the last three and half months.

The campaign reached the $1 million mark on contributions from 3,000 donors — the average of which was just $231.05 during the fourth quarter — lending an air of credibility to James’ grassroots outsider message.

“It’s going to take an army of supporters to beat Debbie Stabenow and we are building that army. People across Michigan and the nation are responding to a conservative outsider who has combat experience and is a proven job creator. Our campaign continues to hit our financial goals and we are confident we will have the resources to beat Debbie Stabenow,” James said in a statement first provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

While James closed out 2017 on a strong fundraising streak, his take still pales in comparison to incumbent Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s war chest, which stood at roughly $8 million cash on hand as of early January. Stabenow raised $1.9 million in the final quarter of 2017, while James raised $691,797.77 during the same period.

James’ year-end total came to $1,000,951.90, with $647,270.98 cash on hand.

Initially considered a long shot candidate, James prospects have improved markedly since he announced his run in late September.

The Senate Conservative Fund, which previously hoisted GOP Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Joni Ernst of Iowa to national prominence, endorsed James Monday.

The recent endorsements prompted Axios to add Michigan to its “2018 Senate elections to keep an eye on” list.

Former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young Jr.’s departure is just the latest in a series of high-profile dropouts, clearing the way for James, a combat veteran and family businessman, to challenge Stabenow in 2018.

The most high-profile of supposed challengers, performer Kid Rock, capitalized on his status as a well loved native son of Michigan in 2017, teasing a Senate run for months and selling merchandise to that effect, before announcing that he would not run in October. James and Rock were recently spotted dining together at Rock’s restaurant before sitting courtside at a Detroit Pistons game. Rock’s departure was followed shortly of prominent Michigan businessman Fred Upton.

James must still contend with a challenge from wealthy Michigan financier Sandy Pensler, who entered the race in November and has committed to spending at least $5 million of his personal fortune for the opportunity to challenge Stabenow.

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