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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Epstein And Rocky Enter 11th District Congressional Race As Trott Retirement Rewrites Michigan's 2018 Script



By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

Rep. David Trott is calling it quits, opting not to run for a third term in 2018. Trott says his retirement is consistent with the Founding Fathers vision of a citizen's legislature, legislators serving briefly, then returning to the private sector. 


With an open primary in a Republican friendly district now in play, all hell is breaking loose as the race begins to impact other contests: the script for Michigan politics in 2018 has been tossed out and is now undergoing a rewrite.

Rocky Raczkowski was the first out of the gate to declare for the Trott seat. 

Raczkowski, a businessman and Veteran who led President Trump's Michigan Veterans coalition in 2016, has run for Congress before, losing by just 2% to now Sen. Gary Peters when he represented the old 9th Congressional District. Rocky is popular among conservative grassroots leaders, he's been around the block with a race like this before, and make no mistake, he will be a major player in this immensely competitive campaign.

Businesswoman Lena Epstein dropped out of the US Senate race earlier this week to run for the 11th District seat. Epstein plays well in the suburban Detroit district and will definitely be a front runner. This move leaves John James in a great position to capture momentum, as many of Epstein's supporters want an outsider candidate to take on Debbie Stabenow. James, a decorated West Point Veteran and businessman, definitely fits the bill.

State Sen. Mike Kowall has announced he is dropping out of the race for Secretary of State and is rumored to be declaring for the 11th District seat soon. Kowall shouldn't be underestimated by anyone in this race... Kowall's exit leaves Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot in a prime position to capture the nomination, though MSU Professor Joseph Guzman has plans of his own.

State Rep. Klint Kesto is said to be passing on the State Senate race to replace Kowall and instead may enter the Trott replacement battle. That leaves former State Rep. Hugh Crawford and State Rep. Jim Runestad on the ballot for that primary.

A big wildcard? Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. 

Bouchard is said to be the top choice to replace L. Brooks Patterson as Oakland County Executive in 2020. Bouchard can run for Congress and fall back on the Patterson seat if needed, but if he runs and wins the Trott seat, Republicans may have a tough time keeping Patterson's office in 2020. With high name ID and the ability to fundraise, Bouchard would be a major player in the Trott replacement fight should he choose to enter...

Other races and candidates may be impacted in the future, so stay tuned! One thing's for sure, Michigan's 2018 political script is undergoing a big league rewrite. Who will come out on top? We won't know until the finale...but it will be a fun season!
 __________________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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Your Guide To The Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference



By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

The Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference is back again, and while it will be hard to top the drama of 2015's gathering, it should be a good time on the island. After all, it's Mackinac Island, it's hard to screw that up :)

The biannual conference features 2018 candidates, as well as grassroots activists and Republican leaders from across the Great Lakes State. 

National guests include Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens,  former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy. Prominent Michiganders attending include RNC Chair Ronna Romney Mc\Daniel, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

While the official program takes place at the Grand Hotel, the real action is usually at the parties and receptions outside.

With no Presidential primary on deck, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley yet to declare for Governor, Lena Epstein dropping out of the US Senate race, and State Sen. Kowall ending his Secretary of State bid, the straw poll won't be as exciting as usual, but it will certainly be interesting to see where things stand.

Below is a schedule of events on the Island, enjoy and be safe!

First, the parties and receptions, via Michigan Conservative Coalition:



>>>Second, the official Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference Schedule:

Friday, September 22, 2017
2:00PM – 9:00PM Registration & Help Desk
Garden Terrace & Museum Meeting Room

2:00PM – 9:00PM Vendor Displays
Terrace Room

2:00PM – 10:00PM Media Filing Center
Brighton Pavilion

2:00PM –3:00PM State Committee Meeting
Grand Pavilion

3:00PM – 5:30PM 1st District Welcome Reception
Porch, Grand Hotel
Special Guests: Congressman Jack Bergman and Governor Rick Snyder

4:50 Governor’s Welcome
Theatre, Grand Hotel

5:00PM – 5:55PM Panel: The Role of “Next Generation”
Theatre, Grand Hotel
Featuring:
Michael Banerian
Tom Barrett
David Nicholson
Jesse Osmer
Amanda Van Essen Wirth

6:00PM – 6:55PM Panel: Women’s Influence in Policy & Politics
Theatre, Grand Hotel
Featuring:
Kristie Etue
Andrea Fischer Newman
Ronna McDaniel
Jessica Ann Tyson
Amanda VanEssen Wirth
Eileen Weiser

7:15PM – 9:15PM Dinner
Dining Room, Grand Hotel
Featuring:
Betsy DeVos
Governor Eric Greitens
Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel

11:30PM Special Shepler’s Departure from Mackinaw City
*Sponsored by Shepler’s

12:00AM Special Shepler’s Departure from Mackinac Island (to Mackinaw City)
*Sponsored by Shepler’s

Saturday, September 23, 2017
6:30AM – 7:30AM GOP Run/Walk/Bike
Downtown start – Pancake House
*Sponsored by the Callewaert Family

7:00AM – 7:00PM Registration & Help Desk
Garden Terrace & Museum Meeting Room, Grand Hotel

7:00AM – 9:00PM Vendor Displays
Terrace Room, Grand Hotel

7:00AM – 10:00PM Media Filing Center
Brighton Pavilion, Grand Hotel

8:00AM – 9:30AM Breakfast
Dining Room, Grand Hotel
Featuring: former Governor John Engler

9:35AM – 10:30AM Panel: Pundits & Pollsters
Theatre, Grand Hotel
Featuring:
Saul Anuzis
Steve Gruber
Michael Meyers
Steve Mitchell
Stu Sandler
Michael Patrick Shiels

10:35AM – 11:45AM Panel: Congressional Q & A
Theatre, Grand Hotel
*Sponsored by Alliance for American Exceptionalism

12:00PM – 1:30PM Lunch Program
Dining Room
Featuring: former Congressman Jason Chaffetz

1:45PM – 2:15PM Special Session with Governor Rick Snyder
Theatre, Grand Hotel

2:15PM – 3:40PM Panel: Michigan Leading the Nation
Theatre, Grand Hotel
Featuring:
Rick Albin
Lt. Governor Brian Calley
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson
Attorney General Bill Schuette
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof
Speaker of the House Tom Leonard

3:45PM – 4:40PM Panel: Media’s Role in Shaping Public Opinion
Theatre, Grand Hotel
Featuring:
Jason Chaffetz
Nolan Finley
Kathy Hoekstra
Greg McNeilly

4:45PM – 5:40PM Panel: MI Success Stories
Theatre, Grand Hotel
Featuring:
John Kennedy
Greg McNeilly
Dan Musser
William Parfet
Rich Studley

5:30PM – 7:00PM Chairman’s Reception
Porch, Grand Hotel

7:15PM – 9:15PM Dinner
Dining Room, Grand Hotel
Featuring: Governor Matt Bevin and U.S. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy

11:30PM Special Shepler’s Departure from Mackinaw City
*Sponsored by Sheplers

12:00AM Special Shepler’s Departure from Mackinac Island (to Mackinaw City)
*Sponsored by Sheplers

Sunday, September 24, 2017
8:00AM – 11:00AM Vendor Displays
Terrace Room, Grand Hotel

8:00AM – 11:00AM Media Filing Center
Brighton Pavilion, Grand Hotel

8:30AM – 9:30AM Non-Denominational Service
Grand Pavilion, Grand Hotel

9:35AM – 10:45AM Brunch
Theatre, Grand Hotel
Featuring: Lt. Governor Brian Calley


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

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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Breaking: Kowall Drops Out Of Secretary Of State Race



By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

State Senator Mike Kowall has dropped out of the race for Secretary of State.

Kowall, who would have faced a contentious convention fight against grassroots conservatives in the summer of 2018, is expected to enter the 11th Congressional District race in what is expected to be a fierce primary battle to replace Rep. David Trott.

Kowall's departure means that Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot, along with MSU Professor Joseph Guzman, and businesswoman Mary Treder Lang are the only candidates left in the Republican primary race to replace Ruth Johnson.

Kowall's decision isn't the first domino to fall from Trott's bombshell announcement, businesswoman Lena Epstein dropped out of the US Senate primary earlier this week to compete for the Trott seat.

Kowall clearly made a smart decision, he will be a candidate to keep an eye on in the 11th.

Stay tuned!

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

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Who Will Replace Rep. David Trott? 20 Candidates Who May Run In The 11th



By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

Rumblings over Congressman David Trott's retirement have simmered for months, but Trott made it official Monday when he announced he will not seek a third term in the House.

Since then, rumors have swirled about a number of candidates who may run for the seat in what is sure to be the most watched legislative primary in Michigan for the 2018 cycle.

Here are 20 candidates whose names have surfaced in the discussion:

State Rep. Martin Howrylak is term limited and could decide to give the race a shot...




Business owner Lena Epstein is currently running for US Senate, but may find this race too good of an opportunity to turn down...





MIGOP Deputy Chair Jeff Sakwa seems to be comfortable with his real estate business, but you never know...



Political Operative and former MIGOP Coalitions Vice Chair Adi Sathi would be an underdog, but he's a hard worker who would undoubtedly stand out in the race given his age and heritage...



Plymouth Township Superviser Kurt Heise is a former State Rep. who may decide he's ready to give DC a try...



State Senator Mike Kowall is currently running for Secretary of State, but is said to be considering abandoning the race and avoiding a tough convention fight in favor of a Congressional run...



State Senator Marty Knollenberg, who hails from a prominent political family in the region, has strong name ID in the area. He recently opened a new restaurant...


State Rep. Klint Kesto is said to be considering foregoing a State Senate race in favor of trying to win the Trott seat...



Former Congressman Thad McCotter's ballot issues in 2012 paved the way for Trott's election, and McCotter is said to want the seat back...



Former State Rep. Hugh Crawford has had his name tossed around, though he's unlikely to abandon his bid for State Senate to replace Mike Kowall...



Businessman John James is a Veteran currently running for US Senate, but like Epstein, he lives in the district and may find this race more appealing...


Businessman  Rocky Raczkowski is a former State Rep. and 2016 Trump Michigan Veterans Chair who lost his Congressional bid to Gary Peters a few years ago by just 2%... Could 2018 be Rocky's year?



Lebanese Chamber of Commerce President John Akouri has been a Congressional staffer, 2016 Michigan Trump Co-Chair, former city councilman in Farmington Hills and a GOP strategist. He recently began hosting a radio show on WJR...



State Rep. Jim Runestad is running for State Senate and is unlikely to drop out, but his name continues to come up in the discussion...



State Rep. Mike McCready is term limited from the legislature and is said to be giving this race a hard look...



Former Congressman Kerry Bentivolio was defeated by Trott in a heated and bitter 2014 primary, and Bentivolio ran against him as an independent  in 2016...



Michigan Trump Republicans Co-Founder Meshawn Maddock is a grassroots favorite and is one of the top conservative activists in the state...



Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard has the name ID, connections, and fundraising ability to be a leading contender should he enter the race...



State Rep. Laura Cox is running for State Senate, but many supporters are urging her to give this race a look...




Former State Rep. Eileen Kowall is an Oakland County Commissioner who may enter the race if her husband Mike continues his bid for Secretary of State...



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

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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MIGOP Youth Vice Chair Michael Banerian Files For McCready's State House Seat


Banerian (DetNews Photo)

By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

Michigan Republican Party Youth Vice Chair Michael Banerian has filed to run for State House in the 40th District.

According to documents filed with Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, Banerian is running to replace State Rep. Mike McCready, who is term limited.

Banerian has yet to make an official announcement, which is expected to come as early as next week.

Banerian, who made headlines last year over death threats he received as a member of the electoral college supporting Donald Trump, has been involved in politics since high school, when he worked to defeat a local tax hike. He is an Oakland University graduate.

According to his MIGOP bio:


"At age 17, Michael founded his own PAC to oppose a similar tax increase. As President of his PAC, Michael was able to amplify the voices of the students and organize hundreds in an effort to fight the increase.
Michael helped students defend their 1 st Amendment rights when a local school district banned students from praying at football games. Michael organized numerous students to protest the ban, leading to its reversal and the restoration of religious freedoms for students.
Michael has served on a U.S. Congressional Campaign, as Campaign Manager for Nick Hawatmeh for State Representative, as Campaign Manager for Nick Hawatmeh for MIGOP Grassroots Vice Chair, as a volunteer for Mike Bishop for Oakland County Prosecutor, and as a volunteer and organizer for Jeff Sakwa for MSU Board of Trustees.
Michael also serve(d) as the Vice President of the College Republicans of Oakland University."

Banerian isn't the only MIGOP leader seeking a State House seat in Oakland County.

Coalitions Vice Chair Kevin Tatulyan announced his campaign to replace term limited State Rep. Klint Kesto in the 44th District in front of a packed house last week.
 __________________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Breaking: Ottawa County Prosecutor Considering Criminal Charges Against Spring Lake Township Clerk Carolyn Boersma For Stealing Yard Signs In Ferrysburg Mayor's Race

Boersma, right (Photo by Marie Havenga, Grand Haven Tribune)


By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)


WMP has learned that Spring Lake Township Clerk Carolyn Boersma and her husband have been accused of stealing campaign yard signs in a theft related to the Mayor's race in Ferrysburg. Charges have been pressed by the homeowner.


Sources tell WMP that Boersma's husband was busted taking signs on a trail cam, and police were subsequently able to locate the sign in the Boersma's vehicle before it could be disposed of. 

Carolyn Boersma is allegedly an accomplice in the heist, along with her husband.


Boersma supports Ferrysburg City Council member Rebecca Hopp in the race against fellow City Council member Regina Sjoberg.

A few days ago, Sjoberg issued a Facebook statement about her signs being taken.

"Another sign stolen. We had one - with permission - near Lake Hills School," Sjoberg said. "This has been taken twice now. Nasty! It is unfortunate that I feel as though I have to watch my back at every turn. Vandalism, stolen signs, threats. I must be stirring up the hornets nest!"

With charges pressed, the case now goes from the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office to Ottawa County Prosecutor Ron Frantz, who will have the final say on criminal charges being filed.

Stay tuned for further developments...

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

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Chuck Yob Endorses Stan Grot For Secretary Of State

Chuck Yob speaks at a Michigan Trump Republicans event at Yoberosa (DarKen Photography)
By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

Longtime Michigan Republican power broker Chuck Yob is endorsing Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot's campaign for Secretary of State.

Grot announced the endorsement in a Facebook statement Thursday afternoon.

"I am extremely honored to receive the support and endorsement of the former Michigan Republican National Committeeman Chuck Yob," Grot said. "Chuck Yob is considered to be the Dean of the Michigan Republican party, personally I consider Chuck to be my mentor and a friend. Chuck is one of the most effective and influential leaders of our times in our Michigan Republican Party. Thank you Chuck for your friendship and your endorsement of my candidacy for Michigan Secretary of State."

Grot also announced the endorsement of Rep. Paul Mitchell, as previously reported by WMP.

"The very first endorsement for my candidacy for Michigan Secretary of State I received was, from our 10th Republican Congressional District Congressman, The Honorable Paul Mitchell," Grot said. "Paul Mitchell is a true conservative leader in Washington; he is very well respected and admired by his constituents. When Congressman Mitchell talks, people in Washington listen. He is representing our conservative core values and is working hard on our behalf. I am proud to call him a friend and appreciate his support and endorsement for my candidacy for Michigan Secretary of State. Thank you Congressman Mitchell." 

Grot faces State Senator Mike Kowall, and MSU Professor Joseph Guzman in the battle for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State, which will be decided by precinct delegates next summer.

Grot, right, Mitchell, left


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

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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Schuette Proxy Refuses To Vote Against Millions In Planned Parenthood Grants At SAB Meeting



By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

A representative for Attorney General Bill Schuette recently refused to vote against millions of dollars in grants for Planned Parenthood at a State Administrative Board meeting earlier this month.

The vote was surprising given Mr. Schuette's pro life views. The representative for Lt. Gov. Brian Calley voted against the grants. 


According to MIRS:


"A representative for Attorney General Bill Schuette chose to abstain from items on the State Administrative Board (SAB) meeting agenda...

There were $6.4 million in new grants proposed for Planned Parenthood, as well as a proposed $536,000 increase to an existing grant up for approval. Despite the abstention, those items and all other ones still gained SAB approval."

The "Michigan Pro Life" Facebook page expressed their disappointment in the vote.


"The pass-through money does not go toward abortion services. They are for family planning services and teenage pregnancy prevention programs...However, it is a shell game that allows them to spend other monies on abortion."


The State Administrative Board includes representatives for the Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General, Transportation Director, and State Superintendent.
Though the state administers the money, it is not part of the Michigan budget, rather, it's federal funds that are used.
The vote was a reversal from the past: Schuette's office had previously voted against similar grants in December of 2015.
 __________________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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Robert E. Lee's Michigan Connection



By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

Did you know that Robert E. Lee played a key role in the Michigan/Ohio border fight when he was a Lieutenant in the US Army?

The dispute over Toledo led to Michigan receiving the Upper Peninsula...

Check out this excerpt from the Chicago Tribune:
"It all began in 1755, when mapmaker John Mitchell misplaced Lake Michigan. When the Northwest Territory was created in 1787, the line that divided what eventually would become the states of Ohio and Michigan was drawn through the southern tip of Lake Michigan. But Mitchell`s map, on which the line was based, placed the tip of the lake farther north than it actually was. That line hit the west shore of Lake Erie north of the Maumee River and Toledo.

When Ohio petitioned for statehood in 1802, it selected the 1787 line as its northern boundary. But an old trapper appeared at the Ohio constitutional convention and told the delegates the map was wrong. A line drawn through the southern tip of Lake Michigan actually would fall south of the Maumee River, leaving Toledo in Michigan and depriving Ohio of an important natural harbor. The delegates hurriedly attached a proviso to the state constitution providing that if the line was south of the river it would be redrawn, placing it to the north.

Ohio was admitted to the Union in 1803, but Congress decided not to rule on the boundary question. Congress let matters ride until 1817, when two surveys produced different lines, one placing Toledo in Ohio and one in Michigan territory.
The disputed 468 square miles running between the Indiana border and Lake Erie was called the Toledo Strip.

Nobody cared much about the strip, which contained 80 families living in a quagmire noted as a breeding place for fevers and chills, until the early 1830s, when some developers realized that Toledo stood a chance of becoming a terminal for two railroads and the Wabash and Erie Canal.

Suddenly the swampy strip became a valuable piece of real estate. Michigan territory`s ``Boy Governor,`` 24-year-old Stevens T. Mason, and Ohio`s Gov. Robert Lucas squared off.

A new survey conducted by an army lieutenant named Robert E. Lee supported the Michigan line. President Andrew Jackson was said to privately side with Michigan, but he wanted Ohio`s electoral votes in the coming election.
As the situation grew more heated, Lucas sent a survey party to post signs along the Ohio version of the border. Mason sent in troops.

On April 26, 1835, the first skirmish of the Ohio-Michigan War took place when the Michigan militia collided with the Ohio surveying party.

The militia opened fire. The Ohioans took to their heels. Nobody was hurt.
Flushed by victory, Mason ordered his deputies to arrest an Ohioan, Maj. Benjamin Franklin Stickney. That action was to draw the first--and last--blood.

The major was the great-grandnephew of his famous namesake and he shared his forebear`s penchant for eccentricity. He had two sons, and they were named One Stickney and Two Stickney, according to the order of their birth.

On July 16, 1835, Joseph Wood, a deputy sheriff from Monroe County, Michigan, saw Benjamin Franklin Stickney and son Two in the swamps of the strip. Heeding Mason`s orders, Wood tried to arrest them. As Wood placed the heavy hand of the law on Two Stickney`s shoulder, the youth drew a knife and shouted, ``Damn you, sir, you have got it.``

With that, Two stabbed the deputy. The Stickneys then galloped to safety across the Ohio border. Wood, whose injuries were superficial, repaired to a tavern.

Throughout the rest of the summer of 1835, the Michigan militia threatened Ohioans in the strip.

Then Jackson pulled the rug from under Michigan by removing Mason as the territorial governor. Not one to miss an opportunity, Lucas devised a plan that would bring the Ohio-Michigan War to a close.

On Sept. 7, 1835, Toledo`s judges and court officials, escorted by a 20-man armed guard, sneaked into the city before dawn and convened the first Common Pleas Court of a newly formed Lucas County, Ohio. They named three commissioners for their new county, established Toledo as the county seat and adjourned to a tavern to drink an early morning toast to their accomplishment.

Lucas County eventually was recognized as part of Ohio. Congress offered Michigan the Upper Peninsula as compensation.
When Michigan gained statehood in 1837, Mason was elected its first governor."
 __________________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com
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