LANSING, Mich. — Lansing Mayor Andy Schor is heading into the Aug. 3 primary election with a significant financial advantage over the other candidates running for the city's top job.
Schor has raised $289,000, more than five times as much as his five opponents combined, and spent $139,000.
City council member Kathie Dunbar, who raised the second-highest amount, brought in about $29,000.
“I think it says that he’s an amazing fundraiser, but we have to remember that dollars don’t make campaigns,” said Lansing City Councilwoman Patricia Spitzley, who is also running for mayor.
In 2017, Schor raised just over $230,000 and spent just shy of $100,000 on his campaign. Schor says he’s grateful for all the support he’s gotten from donors this time around. His largest donor was Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 333 PAC, which gave $21,000.
“How and why do you think he got all this money?” said Larry Hutchinson Jr., who is also running for mayor. “You think they’re giving it to him for free? No, they want something in return.”
Schor's opponents say they still expect to give him a run for his money.
"There are folks who have very strong negative opinions about the current mayor, so no amount of money is going to change their opinions,” said Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar, who is running for mayor. “You know, I won my first elections with $4,000 and two pairs of Birkenstocks. And I beat a candidate who spent eight times as much.”
Dunbar spent just over $16,000 this campaign cycle. She was her own biggest sponsor, loaning herself $15,000.
“ I gave myself a loan because I wasn’t planning on, in the beginning, to run for mayor,” Dunbar said. “And I knew I needed to infuse it before I held a fundraiser. So, it’ll get paid back. Many candidates do it.”
Spitzley also loaned herself money for her campaign. The councilwoman gave herself $10,200. Altogether, Spitzley raised $18,130 and spent $16, 072.
“What I spent my campaign dollars on is absentee ballots and mailers and I spent my dollars on my campaign manager,” Spitzley said. “It’s all about informing voters.”
Farhan Sheik Omar has raised almost $1,600 and has spent almost $1,300. He declined a request for an interview.
Melissa Huber and Larry Hutchinson junior were not required to file campaign finance reports because they spent less than $1,000 on their campaigns.
“It wouldn’t make sense for me to take the money that I think is part of our broken system of government, and I don’t think that’s good for our community.” Huber.
“For those of you who think it costs a lot of money to run for office, it really doesn’t and my message is just as good as anyone else’s message,” Hutchinson said.
The top two candidates from the Aug. 3 primary will go on to the November election.