LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidates Pete Hoekstra and Clark Durant finished their first-quarter fundraising with about the same amount of cash on hand, $1.5 million, but are far behind Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow's $7 million.
Hoekstra reported Tuesday he raised $700,000 and spent $681,000 during January, February and March, leaving him with $1.54 million on hand, including earlier donations.
After turning in 22,232 petition signatures Tuesday to qualify for the Senate race, Hoekstra told reporters he was unable to match the pace of fundraising in October, November and December because he couldn't ask for donations during the lead-up to Michigan's Feb. 28 presidential primary.
"We lost three weeks of fundraising here when everyone was focused on the primary," said Hoekstra, who took in about $285,000 less than the last three months of 2011. "First quarter was bad."
Democrats said it a Hoekstra misstep caused the drop in donations. The former congressman ran a Super Bowl ad featuring a young Asian-American woman talking in broken English about China taking away American jobs. The ad inferred that the blame fell on Stabenow, whom the woman referred to as "Senator Debbie Spend-It-Now."