CRG was first retained to advise Justin Amash's campaign for Michigan State Representative in 2008 and have been privileged to be a senior member of his team since that time.
Rep. Amash has been a great friend and client for many years, but CRG is particularly proud of the work we did for him in 2014 during a contested primary that many labeled the "nastiest" in the country.
Justin burst onto the national stage in 2010 when he surprised many political observers by winning a heated 5-way, open-seat primary with 40% of the vote. Under CRG's guidance, he out-raised all of the other GOP competitors in that cycle by wide margins. In this fairly safe Republican district, he cruised through the general election and assumed office in January 2011.
Since assuming office, CRG has focused Rep. Amash’s fundraising efforts on individual donors. Our goal has been to build a nationwide network of donors who would remain committed to Rep. Amash’s efforts year after year. We also invested heavily in building his donor infrastructure within his West Michigan district, and we have raised several times more in-district funds than Justin's predecessor.
Most members' funding is split roughly 50/50 between PACs and individual donors. Rep. Amash, on the other hand, receives more than 90% of his money from individuals. Over the years, we consistently raised more from individual donors than any other member of the Michigan Congressional Delegation which includes several prominent committee chairs. We prioritized grassroots online and direct mail fundraising and felt we were building Rep. Amash a very strong and diverse donor network.
In October 2014, a local Republican announced his intentions to challenge Rep. Amash. Our foundation-laying paid off and Rep. Amash’s donor network truly mobilized. Our fourth quarter 2013 individual fundraising catapulted Justin Amash for Congress to one of the highest-grossing campaigns in the country.
One of the most noteworthy components of this quarter was a 48-hour online “money bomb” that brought in $102,565 to the campaign. 1,642 total donors participated, and we had at least one donation from each of the 50 states. The average donation to this two-day effort was $62.46.
As important as the quarterly fundraising total was the fact that nearly 3,200 individuals donated to Rep. Amash’s campaign in that period. For a U.S. House campaign, this is a huge number of individual donors. A large percentage of these were individuals who had never donated to the campaign before. Both low-dollar and high-dollar donors were strongly represented in this quarter’s tally.
Fundraising totals only matter when they are compared to your opposition’s. Rep. Amash's opponent relied almost solely on his own pocketbook to fund his campaign. A small group of wealthy donors contributed the rest, but the numbers paled in comparisson to Rep. Amash's campaign.
CRG is extremely proud of our work for and friendship with Justin Amash. He was rightfully re-elected in both the August primary and November general elections of 2014, and we are already hard at work to help him mount another successful bid in 2016.
If you're a candidate or organization looking to develop this type of funding base, give us a ring.