Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin has raised more than half a million dollars in the first quarter of 2019 toward her re-election campaign next year.

The Democratic freshman lawmaker raised $539,000 in her bid to retain the 8th Congressional District she took from the GOP in 2018. The Detroit News quotes Craig Mauger of the nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network, who noted that Slotkin, and fellow Democrat Haley Stevens of the 11th District, raised more than did the congressmen who held their seats during the same period in 2017 — Reps. Mike Bishop and Dave Trott. Stevens raised $575,600. Mauger says the 2018 U.S. House races ended up being the most expensive in Michigan history and fundraising totals so far this year “point to the importance of Michigan’s U.S. House seats in the 2020 election.”

Slotkin, who ended the quarter with more than $448,000 cash on hand, had among her donors former Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy; former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; Ford Motor Co. director Edsel B. Ford II; and Robin Hickenlooper, wife of former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is now running for president.

The Holly Democrat ran in 2018 on a platform of limiting corporate PAC contributions and providing overall campaign finance reform. And in fact, a look at her fundraising record shows her top donor was End Citizens United, a non-corporate PAC which donated $10,000. The organization is working to reverse the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision which deregulated limits on independent expenditure group spending in campaigns. Her next highest donors were Bernard Aronson and John Dawson of California, who each gave $5,600. Aronson is a former diplomat who served in the George H.W. Bush and Obama administrations, while Dawson is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur.

Stevens, who had just over $441,000 in the bank as of March 31st, received a $2,000 contribution from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s campaign, as well as $1,000 from Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has ignited controversy for remarks that critics have called anti-Semitic. David Dulio, who chairs the political science department at Oakland University, told the paper that while incumbents can expand their fundraising network once they’re in office, the Pelosi and Omar contributions can also provide ammunition to opponents, saying, “That ad writes itself from the NRCC,” referring to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Other top fundraisers for the quarter included House members in competitive districts. Republican Congressmen Tim Walberg and Fred Upton raised $367,716 and $323,377 respectively, while Democrat Rashida Tlaib drew in $316,720. (JK)