Saturday, July 8, 2017

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
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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.

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