Daily Archives: October 2, 2020

10/1 LG Campaign Finance: The Disembodied Head of Scott Milne

Bad lighting, too far from camera, hastily arranged wrinkled-flag backdrop, 0/10.

The latest financial filings from Republican Scott Milne and Democrat Molly Gray reveal two vastly different campaigns in scale, source of funding, organization and tactics.

(I’ll be writing a separate post about the gubernatorial filings.)

Milne’s campaign has adopted what I call the Disembodied Head model, inspired by one of the great bits of political satire from my home state of Michigan. In 2006, Dick DeVos, scion of the Amway pyramid scheme multi-level marketing firm and husband of The Worst Education Secretary In History, decided to run for governor of Michigan. He dumped $36 million of his own wealth into the race… and (schadenfreude alert) got absolutely killed by Jennifer Granholm.

During the campaign, a delightfully snarky liberal created a website called “The Disembodied Head of Dick DeVos,” which is dormant but still extant. And more than a bit relevant, in our post-Citizens United era of fiscal oligarchy.

Extra bonus digression! DeVos’ father Richard was the co-founder of Amway. Dick ran the company after Dad’s retirement. Dick’s major accomplishment was to take Amway international. At that point Amway had pretty much tapped out the domestic market for Raising False Hopes Through Scammery, Dickie found rich fields of suckers in developing countries like Russia and China, where hardworking but financially naive people were desperate to climb the ladder of success. (The DeVos clan also owns the Orlando Magic, one of the worst franchises in the NBA.)

Scott MIlne is a multimillionaire, but a pauper by DeVos standards. Milne’s campaign is pocket fluff compared to DeVos’, but it’s the same basic structure: Largely self-funded, spending the bulk of its money on paid media with little to no grassroots organization.

Gray, on the other hand, has spent much less on TV and much more on staff, travel and events. She’s actually built an organization, how about that.

She also continues to fundraise far more impressively than Milne.

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