By Chad Selweski
@cbsnewsman on Twitter
After setting an apparent record for spending in a Michigan House primary election, Republican Pete Lucido of Shelby Township boosted his campaign spending total to $304,000 and has scheduled a fundraiser for next week where he will seek contributions of up to $1,000 per person.
A first-time candidate, Lucido is considered a shoo-in when he faces a poorly funded Democratic candidate in November who has lost several prior election attempts. But Lucido said he has no intentions of slowing down the pace of his political pursuit.
Weeks before the Aug. 5 primary vote, Lucido had already spent $250,000 on a campaign battle with Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot. At the time, political experts said that outlay was the largest amount ever spent in a two-person primary race for the state House.
Lucido’s newest campaign finance report, covering the timeframe from July 21 to Aug. 24, shows that his spending spree reached $304,785. That unprecedented amount was made possible by the $185,000 of his own money that he pumped into the campaign effort.
The report also reveals that Lucido, a prominent defense attorney, injected $50,000 of personal funds into his campaign coffers in the final days before the vote — $15,000 on July 25, $15,000 on July 28, and $20,000 on Aug. 4.
In July, Lucido had reported spending $150,000 from his own finances. The $50,000 reported since then does not match up with the $185,000 personal total he is now claiming.
The GOP nominee also likely gained from a simultaneous burst of advertising for his law firm, with a variety of marketing efforts that featured the same Lucido logo as the one used by his campaign.
|Every shopping cart at the 23 Mile Road Kroger store in Shelby Township was festooned with a placard that used the Lucido campaign logo but advertised for his law firm.|
The fundraising dinner slated by Lucido at the ornate Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township on Thursday offers tickets in five price categories: $150, $250, $350, $500 and $1,000.
Though his campaign account’s balance on Aug. 24 was about $1,900, in the heavily Republican 36th House District, that slight amount might be considered enough for the GOP nominee to defeat his Democratic opponent, Robert Murphy of Romeo.
A perennial candidate who has appeared on the ballot as a Republican, an independent and a Democrat over the years, Murphy is making his fifth run for the 36th District seat in northern Macomb County. In each of those races – 2004, 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2014 – he has claimed a finance reporting waiver, which meant that he intended to spend less than $1,000 on his campaign.
Lucido said that he is not familiar with Murphy’s background but his campaign tactics will not be tempered by his opponent.
“Why wouldn’t we have a general election fundraiser?” he said. “It’s a chance to get all my allies together and unite the front.”
The premier guest at the event will be GOP Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land. Lucido, who complained bitterly about Grot’s refusal to debate in the primary election, said he is not familiar with the heavy criticism Land has faced for dodging debates with her Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters.
“I’m not aware that she’s been accused of avoiding debates,” he said. “I’ll … ask her: ‘Are you avoiding debates and, if so, why?’”
State House candidates Pete Lucido and Robert Murphy will appear at a public forum from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday at the Washington Township Hall to discuss issues with voters in the 36th District (Washington and Bruce Townships, Romeo, and most of Shelby Township).