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Whitmer Draws Big Cash by Exploiting Campaign Finance Loophole for Recall Elections

'Is that backfiring on the party as a whole? Yes, it definitely is...'

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has exploited a legal loophole to fundraise millions of dollars for her reelection campaign, according to GOP strategists.

Because state Republicans have pushed for a recall election to oust Whitmer, the Democratic governor has been able to take advantage of an exception that allows governors facing potential recall attempts to circumvent the individual donor spending limit.

Normally, individuals are only allowed to donate $7,150 each, but a 1984 state ruling says fundraising for recall elections can be treated differently.

As a result, Whitmer’s reelection campaign hauled in $8.6 million fundraising haul from Jan. 1 to July 20, which is the most any gubernatorial candidate in the state has raised during an off-year.

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Fred Wszolek, a Republican strategist who works as a campaign adviser for GOP gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon, said Whitmer’s massive fundraising haul should give Republican activists pause.

“All of these grassroots conservatives who want to get rid of Whitmer need to get with the program that they’re currently making it harder, not easier,” he said.

She figured out “the rules of the game and they are clearly running with it,” political consultant John Sellek, who worked on former GOP nominee Bill Schuette’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign, told Bridge Michigan.

“Was that tripped off by a few random activists in the [Republican Party]? Yeah, it sure was. Is that backfiring on the party as a whole? Yes, it definitely is,” he continued.

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However, some Whitmer opponents say she is operating outside the law because a recall election has not been ratified or announced. Petition campaigns to recall her have fallen short thus far.

When confronted about her use of this loophole, Whitmer claimed she still wants to push for campaign finance reform.

“I think you know we need, we need reform when it comes to political contributions,” she said at a press conference Tuesday. “But so long as the rules are what they are, I’m going to make sure that I always abide by the rules but that I am gonna run hard, just like I do everything. When I set my mind to something, we’re going to see it through.”

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