LANSING (Great Lakes News) – One of the highest spending districts in Michigan is on track for a repeat performance in 2020.
The third quarter fundraising reports for Michigan, compiled on October 25 by MIRS, featured several star fundraisers. Leading the pack was Bronwyn Haltom, a candidate for Michigan’s 61st District. Haltom is a business owner and former White House aide who currently sits at the highest total raised for a State House race in the 2020 election. Her campaign reported a total of $130,145 since she started fundraising, surpassing the closest total by nearly $15 thousand (Mandy Grewal in Michigan’s 55th District at $115,490).
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“We’ve just been blown away by the local support here,” Haltom said. “We have over 350 individual contributors, with everything from the business community, to local leaders, to grassroots donors. People understand the importance of holding this seat and it’s clear that they are stepping up.”
Haltom is a Republican with a platform centering on her time as a Michigan native, her economic policy, and her support for law enforcement and first responders. She was raised and educated in Michigan before working for several political campaigns and eventually serving as an aide in the Trump White House. While working in the White House, she met her husband Thomas before moving back to Michigan to start a business in Kalamazoo.
Michigan’s 61st District, which includes includes the city of Portage and the townships of Oshtemo, Prairie Ronde, Schoolcraft and Texas, was one of the most expensive state representative races in Michigan during the 2018 election. The election, between incumbent Rep. Brandt Iden and challenger Alberta Griffin, cost the candidates a total of $1.55 million. When the dust settled, Iden held onto his seat by a slim 1283 votes. Haltom understands how precarious this history makes the district, and how it might lead to higher fundraising amounts.
“Historically we have seen this is a very tight race,” Haltom said. “We don’t take anything for granted. Over the next 10 years in our state, we will see if we want to keep moving forward and growing jobs, but if we lose the Republican majority in the house, I think we’ll see our state slip away. I was born in this community, I was educated here, it’s really important to me and my husband to keep it moving forward for the next generation.”
Haltom kicked off her campaign with a personal donation of $55,000 of her own money, a move mimicked by Shri Thanedar who launched his campaign in the 3rd district last week with $50,000 from his own coffers. Haltom believes the shocking nature of her personal contribution will assure her supporters that she has a personal stake in the election.
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“I’ve told every volunteer, every potential donor, and every potential supporter that I am all in, Haltom said. “That’s true when it comes to money, it’s true when it comes to working our tail off for over a year and a half, and that’s true when it comes to knocking on thousands of doors over these last few months. I want people to know that if they invest or volunteer, I have invested just as much as they have.”
Haltom’s only declared opponent is Democrat and Kalamazoo County Commissioner Christine Morse. Morse’s campaign reported $27,130 raised in the third quarter, falling just short of Haltom’s $29,780. Morse did not respond to efforts to reach her for comment.