Thursday, February 19, 2015

MIRS: Shmina Claims Hughes Demanded $30k Not To Run Against Her

Hughes supporter David Wells response to Shmina

By Brandon Hall    
>>>Email him at
(Note: Normally I would not post things in full from MIRS, but this issue deserves special attention.Delegates should get to hear Norm's response, not just the headline that Shmina claims he demanded $30,000. Also, Norm's supporters may have not liked the Weiser email story, but every word was true and carefully written. And-readers got to decide for themselves. Also of note-we have so far refused to publish dozens of other emails from Hughes we also received. The Weiser one was special because it was part of a long talked about incident..)

Judging by all the attacks against Norm Hughes lately, it's clear some are worried about the prospect he could prevail in the race to replace Bobby Schostak for MI GOP Chair this Saturday in Lansing.

Shmina tells WMP Thursday morning that:"MIRS asked me a question and I answered it. I was not about to lie to protect Norm."

Here is the MIRS article from last night that has everyone talking:

Shmina: Hughes Wanted $30K Not To Run

Dr. Kim SHMINA, candidate for Michigan Republican Party (MRP) chair, said one of her opponents told her if she didn't pay him $30,000 to bring him on as a consultant to her campaign, he would run against her.

Shmina said Metamora conservative Norm HUGHES talked with her, her husband and a campaign supporter in December about the deal, which she declined to take.

Shmina, a St. Clair County Republican Party committee member, said she thought Hughes was giving her advice on her run.

"I didn't even know he was a paid consultant," she said.

Last month, Hughes waited until the final day to register before declaring himself a candidate in the race (See "Hughes Jumps Into Chair's Race," 1/22/15).

Hughes claims this isn't true. He said he did talk with her, but he told her that she would need to raise $30,000 in order to be viewed as a credible candidate. His advice to her, at the time, was that she "wasn't ready for prime time" and needed a bit more work before she would be ready to run a credible MRP chair's race.

"I never offered a quid pro quo or anything of that nature," Hughes said.

The exchange marks what is becoming a spirited MRP chair's race heading into this weekend's convention in Lansing. MRP National Committeewoman Ronna Romney McDANIEL is viewed as the favorite to succeed Chair Bobby SCHOSTAK, who is not running for a third term.

But Hughes said he has polling that shows him up 3 percentage points to McDaniel, whose supporters, along with those from the Shmina camp, have been spreading "nasty attacks against him."

The "whisper campaign" against Hughes, a longtime Republican activist, spurred him to send out a self-defense email to registered MRP convention delegates last night in which he defended himself against his 2005 bankruptcy filing and observations that he's not active in his home Lapeer County Republican Party.

"It's sad. My opponents are both talking about unity," Hughes said. "If that's the case, why don't they stop their team from doing this? It doesn't deter me. I've been in politics long enough to know how this stuff works."

Federal court records show Hughes filed for bankruptcy in July 2005. The case stretched until Jan. 2008, when it was dismissed. Neither the McDaniel or Shmina campaign have used this information in their campaign literature.

However, Hughes said the political damage is coming from a whisper campaign that has become visible through social media. Sen. Joe HUNE (R-Fowlerville) asked on Facebook Feb. 2 whether the bankruptcy news true.

The truth was easy to verify considering the case is on the U.S. District Court website. The question quickly became whether the information was relevant. Political consultant Stu SANDLER, who said he's not being paid by any candidate, responded to Hune on the Facebook page that there are two reasons why a bankruptcy would have merit.

"One, the Michigan Republican Party has built up a significant line of credit over the years. It has used that line to ensure resources can get to candidates," he wrote. "Poor credit by a chair can jeopardize that line. Second, as the party of fiscal responsibility, a chair's bankruptcy undermines that messaging. Plenty of people file bankruptcy, but the Michigan Republican Party chair is a special job."

Dexter Republican John TAYLOR responded by claiming Abraham LINCOLN, Thomas JEFFERSON, Donald TRUMP, Henry FORD and Walt DISNEY all filed bankruptcy.

"It might be nice to always lead a safe, sheltered life, but with risk comes reward," Taylor wrote. "Nothing ventured nothing gained."

Hughes said he filed for bankruptcy to shield himself from a political opponent who was harassing his wife, his wife's business and her clients. Once the extended court matter was finished, Hughes said he never had to follow through on the bankruptcy.

Hughes said he "probably has a higher credit rating than any other candidate in the race."

"It is merely a below-the-belt attack by desperate folks who have a lot personally to gain by keeping control of the MiGOP, and to take focus from our experience, proven leadership and excellent business plan for the MiGOP," he wrote in his email.

Unlike Shmina and McDaniel, Hughes does not have a formal role in his local or state Republican Party. Hughes has opted not to run for precinct delegate since 2000, when he finished five out of five candidates, according to Lapeer County records.

To that, Hughes said he's "been there and done that." He served as a county chair for a term and still attends various events periodically. He claims he's not active in the Lapeer County party because the chair, Jan PEABODY, had not invited him to participate. He noted that she is supporting another candidate in the race.

Asked what he felt the attacks on him told him, Hughes said, "It indicates we're climbing in the polls. We're in the lead right now and the knives are being sharpened and they are attacking us. We are the front runner."

Those familiar with the race told MIRS today that nobody is spreading anything against Hughes and that he's trying to play "the victim" in his last gasp to save his campaign.

McDaniel said she's been running a positive campaign focused on building a "grassroots up party."

"I have not engaged in any attacks toward the other candidates," she said. "I feel confident about the race and our message is resonating as I talk to delegates across the state, many of whom I have worked with in my role as National Committeewoman.

"I look forward to continuing these conversations through Saturday and beyond if elected chair."

Shmina said she's running a positive campaign, even though "it's killing me to do so" considering how Hughes' supporters are baiting them into going negative through various comments being made in social media.

"For him to be the victim is laughable. I can't believe it," Shmina said. "Norm Hughes has to worry about Norm Hughes and his plan that is lacking and not worry about people are saying about him."


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

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