Feb 5, 2024 - Politics

Rashida Tlaib outraises entire Michigan congressional field

Rashida Tlaib

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) speaks at a news conference on the introduction of the Restaurant Workers Bill of Rights outside the U.S. Capitol last September. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib's (D-Detroit) monster fundraising total underlines the uphill battle any potential opponent will face should they challenge the polarizing congresswoman in the primary this year.

Driving the news: Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, raised $3.7 million toward her re-election campaign in the final quarter of 2023.

  • The windfall came as Tlaib was censured by the House for criticizing America's military aid to Israel, whose airstrikes have killed more than 26,000 Palestinian civilians in Gaza since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that killed 1,200 Israelis.
  • That's her largest-ever campaign haul and more than Michigan's entire Democratic Senate field raised in the same period.

What they're saying: "She's the only person in the country for people who support Palestine to donate their money to," Wayne County Commissioner and 13th District Democratic Party Chair Jonathan Kinloch tells Axios. "We don't have that kind of money in Detroit."

  • Tlaib's campaign says more than 32,000 people — a majority of them first-time givers — donated during the three-month period.

Between the lines: AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobby groups will be able to compete with funding but a Democratic primary candidate to challenge Tlaib, who beat Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey in 2022, is yet to emerge.

  • "It's not just AIPAC, some of these other super PACs that Rashida has ticked off could also come in and make it a $15 million race," Kinloch says.

Meanwhile, the Michigan Senate race features an extensive field on both sides. U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin raised $2.8 million in the final three months of 2023, $11.7 million since last year and posted $6 million in cash reserves.

  • Her opponents haven't come close: Actor Hill Harper reported raising $303,184 and spending $566,709 with $154,434 in cash on hand as of the end of 2023, the latest reporting period.
  • Dearborn businessman Nasser Beydoun reported raising $682,479 in the same period with $349,129 in cash on hand.

What we're watching: FEC records show former Detroit police chief James Craig, who's raised just $60,581 as of the end of 2023, lagging lesser-known Republican candidates Sharon Savage ($100,039), St. Joseph physician Sherry O'Donnell ($158,145), state Board of Education member Nikki Snyder ($169,468) and mid-Michigan businessman Michael Hoover ($209,465).

  • "I don't know what to say… but this could be the last email of my campaign," Craig told supporters in a campaign email last week.

Zoom in: Former Congressman Mike Rogers reported raising $1,039,000 in the final quarter, while Peter Meijer of West Michigan — whose vote to impeach then-President Trump cost him his House seat in 2022 — raised $508,162.

  • Grosse Pointe businessman Sandy Pensler, who lent his campaign just over a million dollars, reports spending just $45,558 of it during the same period, with $1,005,752 left at the end of the year.
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