BAR SET HIGH
The five Republicans hoping to replace incumbent congresswoman Haley Stevens (D-Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Troy, western Oakland and Wayne counties) have a long haul to compete on the campaign funding front, according to Federal Elections Commission (FEC) reports for the period ending March 31 this year. From January of last year to the end of the first quarter this year, Stevens has raised $3.135 million, leaving her with cash-on-hand of nearly $2.448 million. Individual contributions totaled $2.074 million, while $880,329 came from committees. Of the over 9,000 contributions she received, the vast majority were smaller amounts. Campaign staff salaries, fundraising consulting and digital advertising accounted for the majority of expense items. Several of the GOP hopefuls had no campaign filings while Birmingham attorney Eric Esshaki reported $230,025 in donations for the same period, including a personal loan of $50,000, and $186,000 on hand at the end of March. Kerry Bentivolio (yes, he’s back) – often referred to as the ‘accidental congressman’ – had about $5,000 on hand at reporting time.