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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Secretary Of State Boots Major Candidates In The 11th District (As Well As Amash's Challenger) Off Ballot Over Petition Issues

Rep. Amash


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


Joe Farrington, the local elected official and small business owner who was challenging  Rep. Justin Amash, has been thrown off the ballot for not filing enough signatures, the Secretary of State announced yesterday. Other big names booted include Kristine Bonds and Dan Haberman in the 11th District.

Bonds, a Republican and daughter of legendary Detroit area newsman Bill Bonds, and Haberman, a successful businessman, were both in the race to replace retiring Rep. David Trott.

Others booted include State Sen. Tory Rocca, who was running for a position as Judge after being termed out, as well as Paul Clements, one of the top challengers to Rep. Fred Upton.

According to MIRS:

"Congressional candidates Kristine BONDS, Dan HABERMAN and Paul CLEMENTS joined judicial candidate Tory ROCCA in not getting the needed signatures, the Secretary of State announced today. 

Bonds is running as a Republican in the 11th Congressional District, and Haberman is a Democrat running for the same seat. She had 858 valid signatures while Haberman had 944. 

Clements, a Democrat, was hoping to take a third shot at unseating U.S. Rep. Fred UPTON (R-St. Joseph) in the 6th Congressional District. He was found to have 991 valid signatures, nine short of the 1,000 needed. 

Current state Sen. Tory ROCCA (R-Sterling Heights) was making a run for the 16th circuit court judgeship with this being his final Senate term. Julie Lynn GATTI, a candidate for the same judgeship, challenged his petitions. He needed 2,000 valid signatures, turned in 2,530 and only 1,816 were ruled valid. 

Bonds' petitions were not specifically challenged, but Clements' petition was challenged by Andrew DAVIS, a backer of another Democratic candidate in the district, Matt LONGJOHN (See "Challenges Filed Against Haadsma, Haberman, Clements, Rocca," 5/2/18). Haberman's petitions had also been challenged. 

The SOS also confirmed that Matt MORGAN, the only Democrat vying for the 1st Congressional District, had an insufficient number of petition signatures because most of his petition sheets had not listed an actual home address but rather a P.O. box (See "Dems' Morgan Position On Primary Ballot In Question," 4/30/18). 

Joe FARRINGTON, who was seeking to challenge U.S. Rep. Justin AMASH (R-Cascade Twp.) in the 3rd Congressional District, also was ruled not to have the needed signatures to make the ballot. He turned in 1,190 and only 843 were valid."

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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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CLICK HERE To Watch Tonight's Detroit Chamber Gubernatorial Debate On Mackinac Island!



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


Tonight's gubernatorial debate on Mackinac Island will feature the top 3 candidates from both parties, chosen from polling conducted for the Detroit Chamber. The event kicks off at 6....

Republicans include Attorney General Bill Schuette, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, and State Senator Patrick Colbeck.

Democrats include businessman Shri Thanedar, former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, and former head of Detroit's healthcare system, Abdul El Sayed.

>>>Watch Here Starting At 6:



 __________________________________________________________________

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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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

WATCH: Speaker Leonard Embarrasses Schuitmaker In First Attorney General Debate

Schuitmaker, left, Leonard, right
By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)


Michigan House Speaker Tom Leonard debated State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker last Thursday in Waterford, and the event hosted by the North Oakland Republican Club was a stunning display of the stark differences between the two candidates running to be the Republican nominee for Attorney General.

Schuitmaker started the evening off with a bizarre attack on Leonard, claiming he wasn't doing enough to return House Republicans to a majority in November. 

Leonard responded by noting he has donated over $200,000 to assist Republicans in 2018, money he could have used for his campaign, while Schuitmaker has not really done anything to help.


Schuitmaker's defense of her past support for Common Core and voting against English as Michigan's official language were weak, among other bad answers. 

She even accused Leonard of asking State Rep. Tom Barrett to propose the English law last year as a way to attack her for voting against it in 2006. Leonard praised Barrett's strong conservative record and said he's never had to ask him to do anything. Schuitmaker said she voted against the English bill because it did not address the needs of Hispanic workers in her district.

One low point was Schuitmaker defending the "dirty dozen," 12 moderate Republican House members who prevented a small income tax cut from passing, blaming Leonard for holding the vote and not standing by his caucus members. 

Leonard responded by saying that the state government should have to prepare a budget like Michigan families do, so claims that the lawmakers in question wanted to identify cuts first are essentially a BS excuse.

Leonard also noted that Schuitmaker stood by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof when he targeted State Sen. Patrick Colbeck last fall, stripping him of committee duties and taking over his Senate office. Schuitmaker backed Meekhof's decision.

With her attacks not working, and frustrated by an inability to defend her record, Schuitmaker started lobbing absurdly petty cheap shots at Leonard.


For instance,Tom told a powerful story from his time as a Prosecutor in Flint that really stood out.


A man was facing serious prison time for allegedly trying to kill 3 people. Leonard, who did not file the original charges but was assigned to prosecute the case, decided to spend 5 minutes to sit down with the young man and listen to his side of the story...

The man said yes, everything in the police report is true, but what it doesn't show is I was defending myself.

Instead of ignoring him and trying to shove a deal down his throat, Leonard dispatched an officer to the scene to see if any camera footage existed.

Turns out, there was, and it exonerated him completely, all charges were dropped.
The man was saved from prison, and taxpayers were spared the $30k a year it would have cost. (Also, the footage was about to be taped over in an hour!)


Tonya's response to that story? 

Derping about the fact that Leonard worked as an Assistant Genesee County Prosecutor for 2 years and 9 months instead of 3 years. Yes, she actually said that!


It reminded me of the annoying kid in 6th grade who corrects the teacher when it's a Friday and she says "homework is due tomorrow." Ok, it's Monday, we all know... Lame!


Schuitmaker even personally attacked me, pointing me out as an "internet troll" in the middle of the debate simply for reporting facts! (See 38:42) Unbelievable, absolutely classless. 


While Tonya Schuitmaker did nothing but throw out cheap, nasty attacks  in an attempt to cover up her terrible voting record and deflect attention away from her failing, hateful campaign, Tom Leonard talked about actually getting results for real Michiganders. The contrast was clear.

Watch For Yourself Below: (Please note significant applause for Leonard has been edited out after answers, evidently for time purposes)


__________________________________________________________________

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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Holly Hughes Passes "Rebekah Bletsch Law" In Major Win For Crime Victims (And The Hughes State Senate Campaign)


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


When convicted murderer Jeffrey Willis was allowed to leave the courtroom before family and friends spoke after Willis was found guilty of murdering Rebekah Bletsch last fall, people were pissed.

The Muskegon County Sheriff got creative, burning the statements to a CD and forcing Willis to listen to them repeatedly while being transported to another facility.

State Rep. Holly Hughes took legislative action, penning a bill that forces murderers like Willis to have to listen to those they have impacted the most.

The bill was passed by both chambers, signed by the Governor, and is now the law in the state of Michigan. 

The legislation is a win for crime victims, and it gives Hughes some earned media as she battles popular former State Rep. Jon Bumstead in a heated State Senate primary. The bill is also a legislative accomplishment that can be easily explained and touted on the campaign trail. 
Hughes

According to MLive:

"Convicted criminals now must listen to victim impact statements at sentencing hearings.
Public Act 153 of 2018, also known as the Rebekah Bletsch Law, was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday, May 23.
The law requires convicted criminals to listen to impact statements from victims or family members during sentencing hearings.
The bill, House Bill 5407, was introduced by Rep. Holly Hughes, R-Montague, in January. It was spurred by Jeffrey Willis leaving the courtroom during his sentencing hearing for the murder of Rebekah Bletsch in December 2017 to avoid hearing impact statements. 
Impact statements were given by Blesch's mother and sisters without Willis present."


__________________________________________________________________

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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Developing: Chatfield Leads House Pot Legalization Talks As June 5th Deadline Looms

Chatfield


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


Speaker Pro Tem Lee Chatfield is leading efforts to hold a vote in the House on the marijuana legalization initiative that was submitted earlier this year.

House Republicans privately discussed the issue for over two hours last week, but getting the 56 votes needed is an uphill battle. Insiders don't expect it to happen.

Lawmakers have until June 5th to pass the proposal, otherwise voters will decide in November.

The situation is interesting: Republicans mostly oppose pot, but the increased voter turnout over this proposal could cost them the House in November. 

Democrats mostly support legalizing, but they want the benefits of the marijuana votes to help them in other races this fall, and subsequently, don't show much interest in the legislative option.

According to MIRS:


"House Speaker Pro Tem Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering), the presumed Republican leader in the 2019-20 session, is talking with Senate Republican leadership about the possibility of cobbling together the votes needed to pass the marijuana legalization citizens initiative by the June 5 deadline.

Chatfield met with Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-Holland) and Sen. Mike SHIRKEY (R-ClarkLake) for a brief huddle in the coffee room off the Senate floor near Meekhof's seat on Wednesday about the issue.

The two-term House member said at this moment there is no inter-House agreement and if there's not one in two weeks, there won't be. The constitution requires both chambers either pass citizen initiative in 40 days after receiving them or they automatically go the ballot.

Meekhof and Shirkey see value in passing the initiative, conceding that voters are going to pass it anyway and that legislative amendments to the measure would need only a simple majority of support as opposed to three-quarters support if voters approve it (See "Shirkey Asks Lawmakers To Consider Marijuana Proposal; Dem Leaders Say No," 5/11/18).

"There's been an ongoing conversation about which is the best way to regulate it as we move forward," Chatfield said. "I think it's important that we have a framework in place to regulate marijuana. We can see what other states have done and amend it if necessary . . . as the people's chamber and the legislature moving forward, that's the best way to deal with these sorts of issues."

Meanwhile, House Speaker Tom LEONARD(R-DeWitt) said he would permit a House vote on legalizing pot if others can find the 55 votes to pass it.  He still remains a no vote and, in a conversation with MIRS this morning, he suggested that the "handful of votes" for legalization that he described last Thursday is now "about a dozen plus," a number that includes Chatfield.

The marijuana legalization effort has caused tensions between Leonard and Meekhof (See "Marijuana Smoke Out More Tension Between Leonard, Meekhof," 5/4/18).

"We've been talking openly with House members, making sure they understand what the constitutional obligations are" regarding the initiative pot petition, which gives lawmakers first whack at passing it and if not, then the voters check in on the statewide November ballot."


Also from MIRS, Meekhof has thrown cold water on Senator Shirkey's idea of delaying enactment of pot legalization until it's ok'd by the feds.

"Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) drove a spike through the idea of putting an enactment delay on the marijuana legalization effort, issuing a statement that he was "disappointed" such an idea would be discussed.


"The Senate Republican Caucus is working to adopt and amend proposed legalization of marijuana," he said. "The goal is to treat recreational marijuana the same as we do medical in this state. The notion that I would consider repealing, or effectively neutralizing, this citizens-initiated legislation is false."

The statement came less than 24 hours after Meekhof's wingman on the marijuana legalization effort, Sen. Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake), suggested on Off The Record that legalizing recreational marijuana and then amending it with a majority vote to have it only go into effect when the federal government reclassifies marijuana from a Schedule 1 to a Schedule 2 drug. "

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, May 16, 2018

"Deceptive" Schuitmaker Mailer Using Colbeck Sent From Secret Organization Run By GOP Power Broker With Ties To Radical Dem AG Candidate Dana Nessel






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

A 501c4 supporting State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker's campaign for Attorney General, the "Serving Michigan Fund," recently sent out a mailer to Republican Precinct Delegates many believe implied she was supported by State Senator Patrick Colbeck. 

Some are calling it deceptive.

While most 501c4 donors aren't known, sometimes corporations disclose donations in their own reports. 

Donors to Schuitmaker's Serving Michigan Fund include $2,500 from RJ Reynolds tobacco company, and $500 from CVS(Lawmakers like to use the secret funds for a number of reasons, one obviously being that nearly $3,000 from big tobacco doesn't look good on a campaign finance report.)


It turns out, the man running the secretive organization (which does not disclose its donors) is longtime Lansing power broker Richard McLellan.

Interestingly enough, McLellan has ties to radical Democrat Attorney General candidate Dana Nessel.

Nessel has made headlines for, among other things, promoting the fact that she doesn't have a penis as a reason to vote for her. 

She is a radical feminist, abortion extremist, and was a gift from God to whoever the wins the Republican nomination for Attorney General. (She would be the first openly gay statewide elected official in Michigan history.)

McLellan and Nessel ran a pro gay rights ballot initiative together in 2016.

According to the Detroit News:

"The Fair Michigan campaign will propose a constitutional amendment enshrining anti-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual residents in housing, the workplace and public accommodations.

Dana Nessel, the Detroit attorney who led the case to overturn Michigan’s gay marriage ban, said Friday she will co-chair the ballot campaign with Republican Lansing attorney Richard McLellan."


The group's proposal did not make the ballot.

Former RNC Committeeman and State Rep. Dave Agema blasted the mailers. He says Colbeck's conservative credentials are sought after, and Schuitmaker was hoping to capitalize.


"It's deceptive," Agema told West Michigan Politics. "It shows that Tonya wants to be associated with the most conservative gubernatorial candidate. It's a compliment to Colbeck. She wanted her face with Colbeck."

The mailer focused on sanctuary city policy, one of the areas Colbeck and Schuitmaker agree and have worked together.

Schuitmaker should have listened to Colbeck when he tried to stop her from passing Common Core:



Schuitmaker has been labeled desperate by many political observers, never quite being able to stop Speaker Tom Leonard's momentum in the race since it started. 

Leonard has won nearly every single straw poll of Republican leaders and grassroots activists taken across the state since the campaign kicked off last September.

Schuitmaker's low point so far is debatable, but her bizarre attack on Leonard over Common Core legislation SHE supported and he did not takes the cake in my book. Bridge Magazine called her outrageous ad "hypocritical." 

View the mailers 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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11th District DRAMA: Kerry Serves Rocky With $10 Million Lawsuit For Defamation Over Military Service Comments (At A Debate!)

Bentivolio, left, Rocky, right





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

Former Congressman Kerry Bentivolio is fighting hard to win back his old Congressional seat after Rep. David Trott's retirement, and he is upset with what one of his opponents allegedly said about his military service record.

Bentivolio filed a lawsuit in the Oakland County Circuit Court seeking $10 million in damages for comments  Rocky Raczkowski, who is also running, allegedly made claiming that Bentivolio has lied about his military service record.


Raczkowski is a businessman in the metro Detroit area.

According to the Detroit Free Press:

"Bentivolio's lawyer, commentator and author Debbie Schlussel, said she has statements from people documenting that Raczkowski, a former state representative and retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves, has made false claims about Bentivolio’s record and several medals his military record shows he received. Bentivolio served in the Army and later in the National Guard.

Schlussel said Bentivolio – who did receive a Vietnam Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars for his service in the Army in the 1970s – never made those claims.

“Rocky is a liar,” Schlussel said.

“I have brought it up lately because he demeaned my military service,” Raczkowski said of Bentivolio. He added that the lawsuit was served on him at a debate Monday night at the Emagine Novi theater by a retired military man in uniform. Military rules prohibit the wearing of uniforms to political events even by retired personnel."


Wow.

(The fact that Debbie Schlussel filed the lawsuit, which is likely to be thrown out, is certainly telling given her history of outrageous slander, libel, and lies.)

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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Modern Family, Detroit Style: Conyers III Unlikely To Make Ballot In 13th District Race To Replace His Father After His Cousin Challenges Signatures



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

John Conyers III, son of embattled former Congressman John Conyers, is not expected to make the ballot after failing to file enough valid signatures.

The news broke Wednesday afternoon and is expected to be made official later in the week.

The signatures were challenged by his cousin, State Sen. Ian Conyers, who is also seeking the seat...

According to the Detroit News:

"John Conyers III does not have enough valid voter signatures to qualify for the congressional race to replace his father, resigned U.S. Rep. John Conyers, according to elections staff at the Wayne County Clerk’s Office.

Clerk Cathy Garrett is expected to make a final decision by Friday after staff recommended she keep Conyers III off the Aug. 7 Democratic primary ballot in the 13th Congressional District.

The review was prompted by a formal petition challenge filed by an attorney for State Sen. Ian Conyers, D-Detroit, the former congressman’s great nephew who is also running for the seat.

Conyers III submitted 1,914 petition signatures to qualify for primary ballot as a candidate for a full two-year term that begins in January, but only 905 were valid, according to a staff report from the Wayne County Elections Division.

Congressional candidates need 1,000 valid signatures to qualify under state law, and Conyers III’s petition should be deemed “insufficient,” staff said."

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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, May 14, 2018

MIRS: Schuette Getting Hammered From All Sides On Secret Virgin Islands Land Deals

Schuette







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

Reactions to the scandal involving Attorney General Schuette's secret luxury real estate empire and his use of state employees to help him with it have come in from across the political spectrum.

From his Republican opponents in the Governor's race, to Democrats anxious to make the news an issue for the fall, the response was brutal.

According to MIRS:

"Democrats and all of his Republican gubernatorial opponents took turns verbally battering GOP frontrunner Bill SCHUETTE today for not being upfront about inherited property he was managing in the Virgin Islands while in office as Attorney General.

Despite annually releasing his tax returns and claiming other assets were being handled in a blind trust, the son of a Dow heiress has never mentioned he has a one-third share of a family company that earned $7.2 million in land sales in 2012 and 2013.

Also, until today, he's never mentioned that a LLC he owns, Ditleff Point Lots, owns two empty lots in the Virgin Islands that are for sale for a combined $4 million.

While clearly nothing illegal is afoot, Schuette's challengers were taken aback that for as much as the candidate talks about transparency, he was less than forthcoming about these facts when Brian CALLEY confronted him about it during Thursday's Michigan Press Association forum.

"It appears that he's running a real estate practice out of the AG's Office," said Republican Patrick COLBECK, a reference to the Attorney General staff that has signed documents for Schuette in these personal matters.

He said like the questionable background behind the new Senate Office building, Schuette's avoidance of the true story speaks to public integrity and "that is a matter of public concern."

..."Not only did Schuette fail to disclose, he repeatedly lied to the press about his knowledge of this property," Hines said...

Democrats and their allies tried to paint the failure of disclosure and the use of state-paid staff as a "pattern of abuse," by roping in the hiring of political operatives into the Attorney General's Office.

"Using taxpayer-funded staff to assist you with personal financial transactions is the height of shady behavior, especially from the state's top law enforcement official," said Lonnie SCOTT, executive director of Progress Michigan.

A progressive PAC called "American Bridge" got into the act, as well, by calling out the Schuette campaign for again spotlighting President Donald TRUMP's endorsement of his campaign.

"After Bill Schuette was caught red-handed lying about his assets yesterday, his campaign hit the panic button and rehashed an endorsement that they already announced months ago," said American Bridge spokesperson Zach HUDSON...."

__________________________________________________________________

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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Courser Blasts Schuette For Hypocrisy Over Secret Luxury Real Estate Empire Scandal



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


Former State Rep. Todd Courser blasted Attorney General Schuette after news broke regarding Schuette's secret luxury real estate empire, as well as the fact he used state employees on state time to help with multiple deals.

Courser says it's hypocritical.

"Hypocrisy Much This is Too Rich....I'm being prosecuted by Schuette for "misconduct in office" its MCL750.505 for supposedly asking a state employee who was off state time to send out a email that supposedly deceived taxpayers," Courser said in a Facebook statement..

"The Speaker of the State House said its not a crime because the employee was off state time, the House counsel said it was not a crime because the employee was off state time, the House Chief of Staff said it was not a crime because the employee was off state time, the House Business Office Director said it was not a crime because the employee was off state time, The Attorney General in Michigan Bill Schuette said it was a crime because he said it was and he said it as he uses his government staff secretly to conduct the review of documents and conduct a closing on a 7.2 million dollar Virgin Island Estate for himself personally and then he lies to the taxpayers about it? But some that is not a crime? Of course no one will prosecute him for it. Too Rich.."

Courser continues to fight the AG's office in court over the charges in a case that has gone on for over two years now.

I will say this... Imagine how the establishment would react if Courser and Gamrat used state employees to help with secret real estate deals while in their official office, AND on state time!? They'd go NUTS! The investigation would have already started! 💯 💯 💯
 __________________________________________________________________

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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