The campaign was roiled in early August when the state’s high court ruled 4-3 to let Proposal 2 on the Nov. 6 ballot, despite arguments from Republican officials and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce that it would change too many parts of the Michigan Constitution and should be subject to a constitutional convention.
The plan would create a redistricting commission to draw political boundaries instead of the party in power, which has been the GOP for the past two decades.
Clement was booed at the Republican nominating convention later that month and told The Detroit News editorial board that unnamed “special interests” attempted to coerce her into supporting the GOP-leaning business groups who challenged Proposal 2 in court. Her name has not appeared on certain Republican Party circulars urging party members’ votes on absentee ballots, while Wilder’s name has.
Sam Bagenstos, a Democratic nominee and University of Michigan law professor, was the top fundraiser through July 21. He had received more than $791,000 contributions for the cycle and had more than $500,000 in cash reserves heading into the final weeks of the election. Megan Cavanagh, an appellate attorney, had raised roughly $406,000 and had $308,000 left in her campaign coffers.
Clement, who is completing a term for now-6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Joan Larsen, has been the strongest fundraiser among Republicans, who are likely to enjoy the benefit of being designated as incumbents on the ballot. She had pulled in $555,490 in contributions as of July 21 and had roughly $101,000 in cash reserves.
Wilder, who is completing the term for retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young Jr., had raised $468,000 and a cash balance of more than $186,000.
Those numbers are on pace with 2016, when Republican incumbents David Viviano and Joan Larsen reported $501,000 and $543,000 in contributions, respectively, by the same point. That race was also marked by outside spending from groups that pumped “dark money” into television ads, with half of the $3.4 million spent coming from sources that were required to disclose their own donors to the state.