Candidates for state office spent heavily in primary

LANSING — Local candidates for state offices spent big bucks chasing victory in the August primary election, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Michigan Secretary of State office.

Candidates in the GOP primary for the 35th District State Senate seat, including Curt VanderWall, Bruce Rendon and Ray Franz, spent more than $166,000 from Jan. 1 through July 22.

The Republican Party primary in the 102nd State House district, which pitted incumbent Michele Hoitenga against challenger Bill Barnett, saw more than $63,000 spent. And Rick Outman, a former state representative running for Senate, spent more than $33,000 while winning the GOP nod in the 33rd District State Senate race.

The most recent reports do not show contributions or expenditures in the final days leading up to the Aug. 7 primary. Reports showing those figures are expected to be made public later this month.

Candidates who spend less than $1,000 on their campaign can be granted waivers from reporting.

102ND DISTRICT HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Barnett, an attorney and former mayor of Cadillac, spent heavily but couldn’t top Hoitenga — neither in terms of dollars spent, or votes.

According to records, Barnett spent just over $31,000 on his campaign. Among his highest direct expenses were two separate payments of $5,800 and $5,000 on mailers, $4,200 on signs, $2,000 on office rent and $1,400 on newspaper ads.

Barnett also paid for gas, printing fees, T-shirts, membership in local chambers of commerce, banners, hats and other items. The vast majority of Barnett’s expenses were paid for through loans to himself, with about $4,400 coming from individual contributions. None of the contributions were more than $1,000.

Hoitenga spent more than $32,000 pursuing re-election, according to records. Among her highest direct expenses were two separate payments of $8,700 and $7,500 on printing and two payments of $3,000 on radio advertising. Hoitenga also paid for stamps, data lists, gas cards, photography and made a $2,500 contribution to the Michigan House Republicans.

Among Hoitenga’s biggest contributors were the Small Business PAC ($2,500), the Chatfield Majority Fund ($2,500), the Telecommunications Association of Michigan ($4,000) and the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers ($5,500).

The Democratic Party race was between Dion Adams and Bruce Reges; both of whom spent less than $1,000 on the campaign. The race was won by Adams, who will face Hoitenga in November.

35TH DISTRICT SENATE

VanderWall spent more than $83,000 to win the GOP nod in the 35th District State Senate race, placing him in good position to succeed termed-out incumbent Republican Sen. Darwin Booher.

According to records, VanderWall paid $11,530 on cable placement, another $8,300 on TV production and $7,800 on campaign signage. VanderWall also spent on consulting, radio placement, research and polling.

VanderWall paid for the items with $60,100 left over from previous runs for State House, $20,000 from his own funds, $10,000 from the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers and $4,000 from the Michigan Pest Management Association.

VanderWall outspent the combined total of the two candidates he defeated, Rendon and Franz.

Rendon spent just more than $55,000 in the losing effort. He paid for most of his campaign, $35,000, with a loan to himself. He received $1,400 from the Michigan Association of Timbermen and smaller contributions from individual donors.

Franz spent a little under $29,000 in the campaign. His biggest contributor was the Michigan Association of Realtors, who donated $3,250 to the campaign.

Democrat Michael Taillard, who ran unopposed, spent about $6,000 on his campaign. The highest contribution came from Benzie County Democrats ($2,000). Timothy Coon, the Libertarian Party candidate, spent less than $1,000 on the campaign.

33RD DISTRICT SENATE

Rick Outman spent a little more than $33,000 in winning the GOP nod for the 33rd District State Senate seat, currently occupied by term-limited State Sen. Judy Emmons.

Outman’s biggest contributions came from the Central Michigan Conservative Leadership group, ($20,000), the DTE Energy PAC ($2,500) and the Compete Michigan PAC ($2,500). His greatest direct expenses were $10,500 for a campaign manager and $6,300 for signs.

Outman won the Republican Party race over Gregory Alexander, who spent less than $1,000 on the campaign.

On the Democratic Party ticket, Mark Bignell spent $1,300 to John Hoppaugh’s $4,200, in a race won by Bignell.

Outman will face Bignell in the November general election.

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