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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Grot Officially Launching Secretary Of State Campaign In August, Raises Over $70k Vs. Kowall's $600

Grot, left, with Michigan Republican Women's Federation leader Linda Lee Tarver (DarKen Photography)


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

Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot, who is also the Chairman of the 10 Congressional District Republican Party, is planning to launch his campaign for Secretary Of State later next month.

WMP has learned Grot will hold two announcements, one on August 22nd in Lansing near the Capitol building, and one in Macomb on August 23rd.

The event in Macomb will be held from 6-9 pm at The Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township and features dinner, dessert, and drinks. It is free of charge, but donations are welcome.

Grot recently filed his quarterly campaign statement, revealing he raised over $70,000 during the last 3 months.

His main opponent in the race, State Sen. Mike Kowall, raised just $600. Kowall is an establishment favorite, so expect Lansing money to pour in soon.

Grot has been busy traveling across Michigan this summer, visiting with delegates at local Republican Party dinners, as well as at grassroots events. 

He is also speaking at rallies organized by the Michigan Trump Republicans.

In May, he hosted RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel during a big fundraising dinner for the 10th District Republican Party at Shelby Gardens.

Grot's plan to improve the Secretary of State's office includes:

-requiring documentation proving US citizenship at registration
-elimination of voters registered in other states
-a crack down on issues in Detroit
-implementation of mandatory photo ID requirements for voting
-use the Social Security database to remove voters who have died
-audit local municipalities who struggle to conduct elections properly



 __________________________________________________________________
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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Huizenga District Director Greg VanWoerkom Eyes Holly Hughes State House Seat

VanWoerkom, left, with Matt Kooiman


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

Greg VanWoerkom, a member of Bill Huizenga's Congressional staff, is eyeing a run for the State House seat currently held by State Rep. Holly Hughes.

VanWoerkom, Huizenga's District Director, has been privately meeting with potential supporters as he gears up for a campaign.

In addition to his work for Huizenga, VanWoerkom also helped run State Rep. (D)aniela Garcia's successful 2014 campaign against Geoff Haveman, one of the most heated battles of that cycle. Garcia represents the 90th District, which includes Holland, Zeeland, and Hudsonville.


The 91st, located in the Norton Shores area of Muskegon County, is arguably Michigan's most competitive  State House district, with races consistently decided by a few hundred votes over the years.

Hughes is term limited and running for the State Senate seat currently held by Geoff Hansen. She is expected to face former State Rep. Jon Bumstead, a conservative favorite.

Hughes isn't taking Bumstead lightly: she just loaned herself $250,000 as she prepares for the campaign.

 __________________________________________________________________
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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Calvin College Student Collin Riddering Interns For President Trump At The White House

Riddering attends an event at the White House (Facebook)
By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

A West Michigan college student is spending his summer interning at the White House for President Trump.


Collin Riddering, a sophomore at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, is working in the Office of Presidential Correspondence.

Riddering, who studies business at Calvin,  first made headlines in 2016 as an unapologetic supporter of Trump while he was running for County Commissioner. Even when some believed things weren't looking the best for "The Donald," Riddering had his back. He has also been involved with the West Michigan Republicans group founded by Diane Schindlbeck.

Riddering recently wrote about his experience on the White House website:

"Interning at the White House under President Donald J. Trump has been an experience unlike any other. It has been a great honor to play even a small role in Making America Great Again.


I am serving as an intern in the Office of Presidential Correspondence (OPC), which is one of the largest departments in the Executive Office of the President, handling all communication from the American people on behalf of the President. On average, the department receives tens of thousands of emails and thousands of letters a day. It is OPC’s responsibility to make sure that all letters and emails written and sent to the President are carefully examined and given the appropriate response with the approval of President Trump.
OPC is also responsible for sending out specialized letters to those who have a reached a significant milestone in their life, such as a 100th birthday, wedding anniversary, earning the rank of Eagle Scout, etc.
Along with responding to the President’s correspondence, OPC continually searches for ways to better engage with the American people. President Trump enjoys reading the feedback from constituents and has requested to regularly receive a sample of his mail - both positive and negative – as a way to keep in touch with the American people he is working for. OPC also gives President Trump weekly reports on the general concerns of his constituents and where the American people stand on key issues.
Working in the Office of Presidential Correspondence has been an incredible experience. It is great to help fulfill President Trump’s campaign pledge to always work for and listen to the American people. Together, we are working to Make America Great Again!"
 __________________________________________________________________
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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Lansing Establishment STUNNED As Maddock Raises More Money Than Any Other State House Hopeful

Maddock, left, with Donald Trump Jr.


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

The numbers are in: Matt Maddock has raised more money for his State House campaign than any other non-incumbent running. 

Even when considering sitting Representatives, only 3 raised more than Maddock: Speaker Tom Leonard, State Rep. (D)aniela Garcia, and State Rep. Chris Afendoulis. (State Rep. Holly Hughes loaned herself $250,000 for her State Senate campaign as well)

Maddock, who owns a bail bond company, is also involved with the Michigan Trump Republicans, Michigan Conservative Coalition, and other grassroots groups.

According to MIRS:


"Matt MADDOCK is letting Lansing and 44th House District residents know -- he's in the race to succeed Rep. Jim RUNESTAD (R-White Lake) to win it.

Campaign finance reports filed Tuesday show the conservative grassroots leader's House campaign collected more money than any non-incumbent and more money than any likely House candidate in the entire state.

In the first half of 2017, Maddock raised $70,970 and has nearly all of that available in cash on hand. Only House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) ($136,609 raised, $207,242 cash on hand), Rep. Chris AFENDOULIS (R-Grand Rapids Twp.) ($91,800 raised, $161,481 cash on hand), and Rep. Daniela GARCIA (R-Holland) ($87,826 raised, $153,655 cash on hand) collected more money from Jan. 1 to July 20 than Maddock.

However, the term-limited Leonard is likely to roll over his money into an expected Attorney General Bid. Afendoulis and Garcia are both expected to pass on a third House term for respective state Senate runs.

"This was our first goal, to raise $70,000 and we hit it," said the Oakland County conservative firebrand. "I know I'm going to have spend twice as much and work three times harder than anyone else because the establishment is going to do whatever they can to keep me away.

"But we're serious about this race and we're going to do whatever it takes to win."

The owner of A-1 Bail Bonds by profession, Maddock has earned a reputation as being a leader of a tight-knit group of "platform" Republicans, which has nearly taken over the leadership of the Oakland County Republican Party and the Michigan Republican Party's 11th Congressional District (See "MRP Rejects Maddock Slate In 11th," 2/6/17).

Instead of attending the MRP's February convention, the Maddock contingent gathered at a different location as a type of splinter group.

He came within 1,630 votes of knocking off Sen. Mike KOWALL (R-White Lake) in 2014 and this time, with Runestad running for the Senate, Maddock will have more resources, more volunteers and less square area in which to knock doors.

Consider this: The $70,970 he raised in two weeks for the 2018 bid is nearly as much as the $78,837 he raised in 2014 for his entire Senate campaign." 

 __________________________________________________________________
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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El Sayed Raises Over $1 Million As Out Of State Money Pours In To Elect America's First Muslim Governor

Abdul El Sayed, with his wife


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

Abdul El-Sayed is running for Governor on the Dem side, hoping to beat Gretchen Whitmer and the rest of the field on his path to taking over Michigan's executive branch.


El Sayed, a Doctor, is new to politics, he's never held elected office before and is the former Director of the Detroit Health Department.

When he recently announced he had raised over $1 million for his campaign, people took notice.

Much of El Sayed's money is coming from out of state though, around 40% of it.

Why is the money making its way to Michigan? El Sayed would be America's first Muslim Governor, and some Democrats are immensely excited about his chances.

According to Jonathan Oosting of the Detroit News:

"The El-Sayed campaign reported more than 2,000 contributions of less than $200. More than $625,000 came from Michigan residents, while out-of-state donors kicked in roughly $409,000, according to a review by The Detroit News. 

Twenty-seven individuals gave El-Sayed a maximum allowable contribution of $6,800. Those top donors include West Bloomfield Township physicians Shareef Ahmed and Wael Hakmeh, Natural Justice nonprofit director Johanna Von Braun of New York and tech executive Sohaib Abbasi of California. 

It’s not surprising that El-Sayed is attracting out-of-state money “because there is interest in his being potentially the first Muslim governor” in the country, Demas said."

Whether or not he can beat Gretchen Whitmer remains to be seen, but don't count El Sayed out by any means. He could be the Bernie to Whitmer's Hillary, that's why Whitmer has aggressively been courting her liberal base for months, a section of the electorate El Sayed can still compete for in a major way.

U of M Board Of Regents Chairman Mark Bernstein recently endorsed Whitmer instead of running himself, and what Geoffrey Fieger will do is still unclear.

Not to be outdone by Whitmer, El Sayed, or anyone else, Ann Arbor businessman Shri Thanedar recently wrote himself a warchest of $3 million, making him an instant threat to compete for the nomination.

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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Monday, July 17, 2017

Lena Epstein Outraises Establishment Congressman Fred Upton In US Senate Race

Epstein gives an interview with Fox 2 while attending an event for "Michigan Trump Republicans"


By Brandon Hall

(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

Small business owner and former Michigan Trump Co-Chair Lena Epstein raised nearly half a million dollars in just 5 weeks towards her campaign to win the Republican nomination for United States Senate.

Epstein says she's ready to take on far-left Senator Debbie Stabenow in 2018.

"We are thrilled with the success we had in only five weeks, and credit it to conservatives across Michigan who want an outsider with business experience to take the fight directly to Debbie Stabenow," Epstein said. 

Epstein, who took in $465,000, even outraised Rep. Fred Upton, who brought in around $350,000.

Upton epitomizes the swamp in Washington DC and is a favorite of establishment Republicans who are pushing for him to run. He frequently defies President Trump and has one of the worst Republican voting records in Congress, consistently voting for liberal policies that leave the conservative base outraged.

The DC swamp salivates over the thought of an "Upton For Senate" campaign the way most guys drool over Upton's niece, model Kate Upton. 

Epstein says she supports "America First" policies, and as a Senator, she will focus on creating jobs for Michiganders. 

"As the next United States Senator from Michigan, I will support America First economic policies that create jobs and grow the American middle class, and will defund sanctuary cities," Epstein said. "My experience in the automotive industry and leading a company with over 200 employees gives me a solid understanding of what it takes to create jobs in Michigan." 


Epstein is currently running against former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Young, but someone far more exciting than the former Judge caught the nation's eye recently: musician Kid Rock says he may run for the seat.

Epstein welcomed Kid Rock to the race in a Facebook statement and online ad.

"Hey Kid: Welcome (to) the party! I hope we have the opportunity to campaign across the state together and talk about all the reasons we need to take the fight directly to Debbie Stabenow, defund sanctuary cities, and implement pro-growth America First economic policies," Epstein said. "Let's work all summer long! The more attention we can bring to the need to defeat Debbie Stabenow the better off we will be in November of 2018!"



Epstein has been very visible on the campaign trail since her announcement, including speaking at many events hosted by Michigan Trump Republicans, a grassroots group dedicated to supporting President Trump.

 __________________________________________________________________
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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Recall Against Spring Lake Village President Joyce Verplank Hatton Will Be Rejected

Joyce Verplank Hatton


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

A recall hearing regarding Spring Lake Village President Joyce Verplank Hatton will take place Wednesday afternoon, and given the language that was filed, the Ottawa County Election Commission must reject it.

The recall was filed by Spring Lake business owner Michelle Hanks, who, along with her husband, owns Seven Steps Up. 

The OCEC is comprised of Ottawa County Treasurer Brad Slagh, Judge Mark Feyen, and County Clerk Justin Roebuck.

Hanks opposes Hatton's 5 year crusade to disincorporate the village and merge with Spring Lake Township. Hatton says the fact that Village residents have to pay taxes to both entities is unfair.



Recall language is reviewed with two criteria in mind: whether or not the information is clear, and whether or not the information is factual. The Hatton recall fails on both counts.

First, it alleges that Hatton made "inappropriate comments" when she compared the growing police state in Spring Lake and across the country to what happened in Nazi Germany. (Spring Lake Village manager Chris Burns, at the same meeting, escaped scrutiny despite calling some SLV residents "rednecks.")

"Inappropriate" is subjective, it's an opinion, it is neither clear nor factual. That alone is enough to throw the recall out. 

However, the 2nd portion is also problematic. 

The argument that disincorporation poses a "significant cost" to taxpayers is at best another subjective opinion based on selective facts, and at worst, completely incorrect. Disincorporation will save Village residents money, there is no "significant cost." Even if there was a cost, whether or not it's "significant" is a matter of opinion.

Hatton responded to opponents in a recent letter to the Grand Haven Tribune. 

"As anticipated, opponents of Spring Lake Village disincorporation filed a recall petition to remove me from my seat as the village president," Hatton said. "The small group hiding behind the recall includes government employees and contractors who want to keep the taxpayer-funded, cash-guzzling gravy train known as the "Village of Spring Lake" operating for their personal benefit. I need not respond to this group any longer. The right to disincorporate is on the ballot. The voters will respond to them in the Aug. 8 election. If the voters want extra taxes and more government, that is their choice. If the voters want to recall the village president, that is their choice, as well. I'm not contesting a recall."
>>>Read the rest of Hatton's letter below:
"Like the media mavens who told us Hillary Clinton had the national election "in the bag," the Tribune has been playing along with a loud, pro-government minority. Fortunately, neither the Tribune nor the small band who benefit from the village's continued existence will decide the issue.
That is one of the miracles of our democracy. People vote in private, and in silence. And most Americans do not feel the need to tell anyone how they intend to vote, or how they voted.
When the village voters step into the booth on Aug. 8, they will know what to do. With only a month to go until election day, the village and the township are mailing their tax statements. The village tax is substantial. For example, the village wants over a thousand bucks for a modest, ground-floor, two-bedroom, two-bath condo — on top of a full share of township taxes. It isn't hard to imagine how this completely unnecessary double tax impacts the majority of folks trying to raise families in our town."
 __________________________________________________________________
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, July 12, 2017

Inman Says Lobbyists Don't Like Calley Part Time Legislature Proposal, Claims Lawmakers Can't Live Off $10k A Month



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

Traverse City area State Rep. Larry Inman says he opposes Lt. Governor Brian Calley's proposal to cut legislator pay and enact a part time legislature.

Calley's proposal slashes the pay of Lansing politicians in half, putting it on par with what a teacher would make for the same amount of work.

In an interview with MIRS, Inman says he and other legislators can't afford the pay change and could have difficulty finding other work. 

Apparently $10,000 a month just isn't enough to make ends meet.

"Who is going to run for this office for 90 days and $30,000 when you typically spend $70,000 in a primary and $70,000 in a general election," Inman said. "And then when you come home you have to find a job?"

Perhaps Inman could land a gig finding the truth about Amelia Earhart?

Inman says the Calley plan is opposed by lobbyists trying to influence the government on behalf of their clients.

"There aren't a lot of legislators and lobbyists that are real excited about his initiative," Inman said.

While the proposal isn't popular with politicians and special interests, polling shows it is popular with Michiganders.

One survey shows nearly 70% of those polled back the plan.

More information about Calley's plan can be found at CleanMIGovernment.org

 __________________________________________________________________
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: Kid Rock Launches US Senate Website



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

Kid Rock has launched a website teasing a bid for United States Senate.

With taglines like "get in the Senate and try to help someone," as well as "you never met a politician quite like me," Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, may be more serious about a US Senate campaign than previously believed.

Sitting in a chair with a "Made In Detroit" flag in the background, the picture is captioned, "are you scared?"

It could also be a great publicity grabbing move while selling some merchandise. Items for sale include hats, shirts, bumper stickers, and yard signs.

Regardless of his intentions, the new site has got people talking.

The musician confirms in a tweet the site is his and it's real.

"I have had a ton of emails and texts asking me if the website is real...The answer is an absolute yes."

He also says "Stay tuned, I will have a major announcement in the near future."

Records show the website was registered earlier this year in February.

Current challengers to Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, up for re-election in 2018, currently include business owner Lena Epstein, and former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bob Young.

Check out some pictures below:




 __________________________________________________________________
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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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Breaking: Traverse City Won't Become A Sanctuary City For Illegal Immigrants


Andy Marek and others speak out against sanctuary city status during a meeting of the Traverse City Human Rights Commission (Photo by Jason Gillman)


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

Traverse City won't become a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants.


That's what the city's Human Rights Commission has decided after months of contentious debate, with most residents opposing the move.

According to 9+10 News:

"The Human Rights Commission of Traverse City says that they will continue to promote diversity and inclusiveness, but the city will not be declared a sanctuary city.
An Ad Hoc Committee was formed to explore designating Traverse City as a sanctuary city.
The organization has been advised by local officials that the city does not appear to be a destination for undocumented immigrants.
The Human Rights Commission says it will continue to support immigration and the rights of all residents, but the city will not become a sanctuary city."
An overflow crowd speaks out against sanctuary city status during a Traverse City HRC meeting (Photo by Jason Gillman)


 __________________________________________________________________
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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State Senator Ted Fricano? Rumors Swirl Over West Michigan Pizza Mogul's Candidacy In Race To Replace Meekhof

Ted Fricano rallies the crowd in Holland before Mike Pence hits the stage (Photo by DarKen Photography)


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

State Senator Arlan Meekhof will be termed out in less than 18 months, and the Republican primary in August 2018 will decide his replacement given the electoral makeup of Ottawa County.

So far, only former State Rep. Joe Haveman has officially declared, but sources tell WMP that State Rep. Roger Victory will be jumping in the race soon. Holland State Rep. (D)aniela Garcia is also expected to join the fight.

Victory is the preferred choice of conservatives among that group, but they'd like to see someone else enter the race. Jon Sorber, CEO of Two Men And A Truck, says he's staying out, but will support conservative candidates behind the scenes.

One name that keeps popping up: Ted Fricano.

Fricano, owner of Fricano Place in Muskegon, is one of the most well known businessman in West Michigan, and Fricano's is considered one of the best pizza joints in the state.

Fricano, a Spring Lake resident, hasn't been shy about his political involvement in the last year and a half.

He hosted a "Platform and Politics" meeting in conjunction with the Michigan Conservative Coalition last June to allow community members to discuss what they believe the Republican Party's platform should entail. 

He organized a rally later that summer to spotlight the need to improve Muskegon after comments he made at a Muskegon City Commission meeting went "viral."

Fricano was also an Ottawa County Co-Chair last fall for the Trump campaign.

When Vice President Mike Pence held a rally in Holland just days before the election, Fricano riled up the crowd with his speech during the pre-program.

Fricano was unavailable for comment, but the West Michigan pizza mogul has many encouraging him to run.

 "I don't know what Ted will do, but I'd love to see him get in the race," said Diane Schindlbeck, founder of West Michigan Republicans. 

"Ted is exactly the type of person we need in Lansing, Schindlbeck said. "He's a successful businessman,  a strong conservative who unapologetically supported Donald Trump from the beginning, and he is one of the most caring, hardest working people you would ever meet. He would be a leader for the people of Ottawa County and a champion for grassroots Republicans who feel left behind by the Lansing status quo."

A conservative outsider from the private sector is appealing to many Ottawa County Republican primary voters-Fricano entering the race would be HUGE. 

Given his name ID, grassroots support, fundraising ability, and earned media potential, he would be an instant front-runner despite his lack of political connections and experience in government.

2018 is shaping up to be a hell of a year, 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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