Now that state Sen. Tory Rocca has been knocked off the ballot, the open seat for Macomb County Circuit Court features a candidate who has taken an unusual approach to campaign fundraising.

Julie Gatti, a divorce attorney, is viewed as the frontrunner due to her support within the legal community. The underdog candidate, Beth Pyden (above), is president of the Chippewa Valley school board and a medical malpractice attorney.


Gatti apparently holds considerable support among fellow defense attorneys, as well as county prosecutors and many judges. So, Pyden is counting on endorsements from labor unions while she seeks out eccentric ways to raise money. Such as relying on her dog.

For her May 20 birthday fundraiser party, the tickets offered several levels of financial backing, such as $43 for a “supporter” – matching the candidate’s age. Or an “advocate,” $520, matching the candidate’s birthday (5/20).

But the big-bucks ticket was for a “benefactor,” $1,216, reflecting the birthday of Pyden’s poodle, Charley, born on 12/16.

Who knows where this goes next or what other pet tricks are in the works. But I have to wonder, if Charley had been born in January, would Pyden still be running for judge?