A Holland-based group known as Outsider PAC, despite virtually no money in their bank account for campaigning, has emerged to promote John James over Sandy Pensler in the upcoming Michigan Republican primary for U.S. Senate.
With Democratic incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow awaiting her opponent, some establishment Republicans have become increasingly worried that Pensler (pictured upper left), running to the left of James in the GOP primary, might emerge victorious in August.
Outsider PAC announced today that it has launched its first campaign ad and will engage in “educating” Michigan Republicans about the difference between the two candidates in the coming weeks.
According to the PAC, the 30-second spot began running today on broadcast and cable television in select Michigan markets and on social media platforms such as Facebook.
The PAC is run by longtime Republican operative Jamie Roe of Macomb County, who is partners with Stu Sandler at the political consulting firm of Grand River Strategies. Sandler is running James’ campaign.
Roe served for many years as a top aide to Candice Miller, during her years as Michigan secretary of state and in Congress. He now plays a similar role for Miller’s successor in the 10th Congressional District, GOP Rep. Paul Mitchell.
“The only choice for Republicans who want conservative representation in the Senate to help move President Trump’s agenda forward is John James,” Roe said in a press release.
The curious thing about Outsider PAC is that it was just formed in May and, as of June 30, had a mere $150 in the bank, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records.
Ironically, James’ biggest shortcoming so far has been an inability to raise campaign funds. His latest report filed with the FEC shows that he has accumulated $2.1 million with less than a month to go before the Aug. 7 primary.
Meanwhile, Pensler, a critic of President Trump, has raised nearly nothing. His campaign’s $5 million war chest consists almost entirely of cash from Pensler’s bank account.
Stabenow has already raised more than $13 million for her re-election campaign.
James, 36, of Farmington Hills, is a West Point graduate, former Apache helicopter pilot, and combat veteran of the Iraq War. In the business world, he serves as president of James Group International, a Detroit-based firm associated with the auto industry.
Pensler, 61, of Grosse Pointe Park, has worked in corporate banking, investment consulting and manufacturing.
Outsider PAC’s goal is to present the primary contest as an “outsider conservative” (James) vs. a “liberal” Republican (Pensler).