Monday, January 12, 2015

Edge of 17: MIGOP Policy Committee Tells Joey Gamrat To Get Lost, "Ineligible" For Youth Chair

Joey Gamrat, left, with Mom Cindy, right

  By Brandon Hall

(Email him at

Once again, the MIGOP Policy Committee is making it difficult for young people to be involved in the party.

A few years ago, they hassled Blake Edmonds over some paperwork in his bid for Youth Chair-they are now telling Plainwell's Joey Gamrat he is ineligibleto run for the same spot.

The controversy developed after the legislature set May 5th as the date of the next election. Because he is 17 until July, Gamrat can not register to vote until May 6th, and the policy committee claims that makes him ineligible to run.

"It's really sad-almost stunning- to see such hostility towards young people who are working hard and trying to get more involved," said a long-time political operative who preferred to be anonymous. "Joey Gamrat is fully eligible to be a candidate for youth Chair, he just can't be a voting member until May 6th-he wouldn't miss any MIGOP meetings."

Gamrat refuses to say anything bad against anyone, and is focused on running a positive race for Youth Chair against opponent Michael Banerian. He issued the following press release Monday morning:

"17-year old Joey Gamrat has announced he will be running to fill the position of Youth Vice Chair within the Republican Party. The position is currently filled by Blake Edmonds who has decided to vacate the seat after one term. If elected, Gamrat would be the youngest Youth Vice Chair to ever serve within the Michigan Republican Party.

“I don't view age as a roadblock in life. I have never allowed it to stop me from making a difference. I believe youth are, many times, much smarter and more passionate than we credit them to be. I am running to demonstrate to them, that it is possible to get involved at a younger age. Don't hold back, embrace your full potential, and strive to make a difference. I was privileged to have family and friends encourage me to get involved in politics at a young age and realize there are many who do not have this opportunity. Students across this state deserve not only a leader, but someone who can connect with them, and pour into them. My passion is to reach the younger generations and provide to them the same opportunities and encouragement I was able to receive and help build the leaders of tomorrow.”

Gamrat is the son of Cindy Gamrat, State Representative in the 80th District, and served as her Campaign Manager during the 2014 election cycle. He has been active in many races across the state, including serving as an instrumental leader on Ron Weiser’s campaign for University of Michigan Regent, and volunteering throughout Michigan on dozens of other races.

“When working on campaigns, there is one thing that stands out the most to me about a candidate who is a leader, and that is how accessible they are. The Vice Chairs have a tremendous responsibility in representing the entire state. This is why I plan on visiting and serving in all 83 Michigan counties, working with high schoolers and college students to establish and sustain a system that reaches out to youth and provides them needed leadership.”

The election will take place at the Michigan Republican Party State Convention in February. The Youth Vice Chair race has been said to be one of the most controversial in party history, and Gamrat has pledged that his campaign will not be going negative in the race as that only leads to more separation within the party.

“If you look back at my past work, it is very clear that I have worked with all facets of the Republican Party. I have done this without compromising my morals and values and plan on continuing this work. We need to unite as one force, especially with the upcoming State House and Presidential races.”

>>>For more information regarding Joey Gamrat’s campaign for Youth Vice Chair of the Michigan Republican Party, please visit or contact Joey directly at or 269.370.9489


Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at 


Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson


  1. Two problems with this article:
    1. Policy Committee hasn't made their final determination--that will come Jan. 22nd.
    2. Unlike Blake Edmonds, where the Policy Committee ruled that Edmonds had every intention of filing, just couldn't get his paperwork on time, what the Gamrat is asking them is to overlook a firm bylaw. That's not as easily done. Bylaws state that in order to serve on State Committee, you have to be a registered voter. Joey doesn't become a registered voter until July 3rd. He can be pre-registered, that is not the same as being registered.

    Brandon, you're constantly wanting people to follow the rules, Bill Huizenga, Arlan, etc. This has been a long standing bylaw of the Party. It's Joey's own fault of ignorance that he didn't see this as a problem.

  2. I was wondering how he could have an office and not be registered to vote.... But Hey, they allowed a 12 year old to vote for the First District Chair last cycle so.... I guess it is dependent upon who makes these decisions.