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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Money Moves: Biz Wiz Sandy Pensler Pours $5 Million In Campaign To Beat Stabenow

Sandy Pensler


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


Biz wiz Sandy Pensler is serious about beating Debbie Stabenow, and now the Republican Senate candidate is giving his campaign $5 million to get the job done.

Pensler spokesman Tom Shields says the move shows Pensler is serious.

"Republicans now have an impressive candidate with real business experience and the resources to hold Debbie Stabenow accountable for her four decades of double talk as a career politician,” Shields said in a press release.


Pensler's announcement comes just days after former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Young dropped out of the race after struggling to raise money. Young only had $100,000 on hand while Stabenow sits on $7 million.

Speculation has also swirled regarding John James dropping out of the race. 

James, a Veteran, West Point grad, and businessman, has inspired Republicans with a powerful story, but that story has failed to produce support in the polls, or improve his fundraising. James had about $200,000 on hand in his last statement and struggles to crack double digits in polling.

Pensler, a business turn around artist from Southeast Michigan, helps companies on the brink of failure, saving jobs and making a profit in the process.

The latest poll before Young's departure from the race showed nearly 80% of likely Republican primary voters are undecided...
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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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Calley+Colbeck Agree To Voter Townhall Tour, Schuette Refuses



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

Lt. Governor Brian Calley has proposed a series of town hall meetings for Republican primary voters to ask candidates for Governor questions, six in six weeks. 

State Senator Patrick Colbeck and Dr. Jim Hines have accepted Calley's invitation, but Attorney General Bill Schuette is refusing, apparently unwilling to take his case directly to the voters.

Schuette says he will participate in townhalls at another time, to be determined.

According to Emily Lawler of MLive:

"Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is challenging his Republican primary opponents in the governor's race to travel the state with him over the next month and a half, participating in six town-hall style debates.  
"The next state election will determine whether Michigan continues its comeback or goes in a different direction, so Michigan Republican primary voters deserve the opportunity to ask all the GOP candidates for governor questions about their visions for the future of our state," Calley said in a press release.  
"That's why I'm calling on all the candidates seeking the GOP nomination to commit with me to participating in a series of candidate town hall events throughout Michigan over a period of six weeks." 
Attorney General Bill Schuette, a big hitter in the Republican gubernatorial field, does not plan to participate, according to spokeswoman Katie Hills. 
"Bill believes they should be at work trying to cut taxes. We are looking forward to things like town halls at a later time," Hills said. 
But other gubernatorial candidates are primed for the challenge.  
Sen. Patrick Colbeck, on WJR's Frank Beckmann show Monday, said he, Jim Hines and Calley had agreed to the series of town halls.  
"We've all agreed on a suite of town halls that we're going to have, sharing our respective visions for where we want to take Michigan," Colbeck said. 
Hines is open to participating in the debates, a member of his campaign staff confirmed."  
The decision comes as Schuette has been in the hot seat for threatening to fire state employees who did not support his Gubernatorial campaign. 
Schuette has also seen a nearly 40% lead over Calley disappear down to around 10%...
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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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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

FBI: We Have Evidence Leading Conyers Replacement+Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon Is Corrupt

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon


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

The FBI says it has evidence Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon is corrupt, but they don't have enough to bring charges at this time.

The revelation came to light recently after FBI documents were mistakenly released publicly for a brief time.

Napoleon is the leading candidate to replace controversial Congressman John Conyers, who recently resigned after a sexual harassment scandal ended his 60 year political career.

Recent polling shows Napoleon leading the field in the 13th with 26% of the vote, Westland Mayor Bill Weld was 2nd with 16%...

"Looking ahead to who could fill Conyers newly vacant seat in Congress, MIRS also asked the participants who they’d vote for in next fall’s election. The current leader is Sheriff Benny Napoleon of Wayne County with 26 percent of the votes, followed by undecided voters at 17 percent, Westland Mayor Bill Wild at 16 percent and State Senator Coleman Young II at 12 percent."

According to Robert Snell,George Hunter and Christine Ferretti of the Detroit News:

"Several previously undisclosed Metro Detroit public officials and politicians drew scrutiny from federal agents during a public corruption investigation that started in Macomb County and spread to Wayne County and Detroit, according to federal court records obtained by The Detroit News.

The records, for the first time, publicly mention former Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco in a criminal investigation that has led to charges against his former right-hand man, Dino Bucci.

Federal wiretap documents filed in federal court contain a list of “target subjects” that includes several public officials. Among them: Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, Wayne County Circuit Judge Vonda Evans, two former state representatives and Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland.

FBI agents were investigating conspiracy to distribute marijuana, bribery, extortion and other crimes in connection with Detroit towing mogul Gasper Fiore or others, according to court records obtained by The News. The records included an application to continue wiretapping Fiore’s cellphone.

In one document, FBI Special Agent Robert Beeckman, who helped prosecute former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, describes the ongoing investigation.

“Evidence has been gathered showing that crimes involving corruption have been committed by some of the target subjects, including Tinsley-Talabi, Napoleon and Casab,” the agent wrote. “However, those investigations have been pending for months or years and the evidence so far has not been sufficient to bring federal charges.”

Stay tuned!

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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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Breaking: Mike Mitchell Faces Imminent Arrest By FBI, Busted With Stolen Government Property In Garage

Mike Mitchell, left, with Attorney General Bill Schuette, right (DarKen Photography)


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


Former 11th Congressional District Republican Chair Mike Mitchell will be arrested imminently after stolen Plymouth Township property was found in his garage, a source close to the investigation tells West Michigan Politics. The arrest could come any minute.

Mitchell was allegedly involved in a scam surrounding his work in Plymouth Township government when he worked under Supervisor Shannon Price. Price is also the target of an investigation, but the FBI does not have enough evidence to bring any charges at this time.

WMP has learned that the township property found in Mitchell's garage included a lawnmower, as well as a Gator, a nifty looking, golf cartesque vehicle. He also had  offroad ATV's known as quads/ four wheelers. 

The items had been missing from Plymouth Township for weeks when they were discovered. Mitchell apparently had a large garage full of Township items. The total value of the items is believed to be around $25,000.



The source's information matches with a blockbuster new article from the Plymouth Voice by Don Howard.

According to Howard:

"Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt Heise has confirmed that federal prosecutors are expected to reveal criminal charges involving the theft of municipal property. Heise, speaking last Wednesday during an exclusive interview with The Eagle, said that the charges are imminent in the investigation which is ongoing. Refusing to name the involved parties, Heise confirmed that FBI agents have visited Plymouth Township Hall several times in the past three months. Rumors about a criminal investigation within the township have run rampant since July after Township Police Chief Tom Tiderington confirmed certain former township employees were being investigated for an alleged large-scale theft of township property. 

Heise would only confirm that in addition to a pending indictment of a former employee, federal agents have expressed a “great interest” in township interaction involving the now defunct company owned by former trash titan Chuck Rizzo, and his father, Charles Rizzo, Rizzo Environmental Services, and “matters involving former township personnel that occurred during the tenure of the former Supervisor Shannon Price.” The Rizzo investigation is part of a wideranging probe of political corruption in local governments. 

Rizzo, the former CEO, and his father Charles Rizzo Sr., have recently pleaded guilty and face up to 10 years in federal prison after admitting they bribed Macomb County politicians to build their trash business. Rizzo senior, charged in a 43-page indictment this fall, allegedly stole funds from his own company to bribe local politicians while building his trash-hauling business into a colossal enterprise. The father and son businessmen were the subject of a court-ordered wiretap and admitted responsibility when confronted by federal authorities. The ongoing scandal led to criminal charges of multiple elected officials and municipal employees in several communities. During a contentious 3-1/2 hour Plymouth Township Board of Trustees meeting in May 2015, one month after Price took office, Plymouth Township officials awarded Rizzo a seven-year, $11 million waste hauling contract and dismissed Duncan Disposal System, Inc. The meeting was punctuated with raised voices and obvious displays of temper but then-officials claimed Rizzo was the low bidder of five competing companies and the contact was approved by a 5-1 vote. 

Heise said after the initial discovery of the missing property in the spring of last year, township officials considered turning the investigation over to the office of Attorney General Bill Schuette, but declined to do so because of the state official’s involvement with Price. Heise described that move as being “problematic” and said one of the main reasons for the decision to involve federal authorities was that Price was a former employee of the attorney general and Schuette had conducted fundraisers and provided political endorsements for Price. Price worked in the department of constituent relations for Schuette from 2011 until 2015 when he left to become the Wayne County Commissioner from the 11 th District

The federal prosecutor in charge of the township investigation is Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta. Bullotta was the prosecutor for the Rizzo case and is known for his role in the prosecution of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, a historic case that sent the former mayor of Detroit to prison for 28 years.

"One law enforcement official close to the situation said that multiple sources have confirmed that there is an ongoing federal investigation into thefts of township property. He added that his information was that federal indictments are pending.

 “It appears that the investigation is focused on the former Township Director of Parks and Grants Mike Mitchell,” the official, who asked not to be named, said. Mitchell was Price’s former aide during his tenure as a Wayne County Commissioner and was hired by Price soon after his controversial appointment as Plymouth Township supervisor, replacing Richard Reaume, who resigned mid-term."


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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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Michigan Conservative Coalition Hosts 11th District Republican Candidate Debate January 8th In Novi



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


The candidates competing to replace Rep. David Trott in the US House will be in Novi for a debate on January 8th.

The highly anticipated debate is being sponsored by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and will take place at Emagine Theater.

In attendance will be business owner and former Trump Michigan Co Chair Lena Epstein, businessman and former State Rep. Rocky Raczkowski, former Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, and Plymouth Twp. Supervisor Kurt Heise.

The event's Facebook page says:

"Voters are anxious to hear from the candidates running for the 11th U.S. Congressional seat. This is the first candidate forum for the 11th District in 2018.
Due to the anticipated size of attendance this event has been moved to the Novi Emagine Theater.
For questions about this event contact the host coordinator Marian Sheridan - 248 225-1846"

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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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Breaking: Ted Cruz Endorses Pat Colbeck For Governor

Colbeck, center, with wife Angie, Senator Cruz, and supporters (DarKen Photography)

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

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is endorsing State Senator Patrick Colbeck for Governor.

“I’m proud to endorse Patrick Colbeck in the race to become Michigan’s next Governor," Cruz said in a statement. "He is exactly the sort of principled leader the citizens of Michigan need.” 


Colbeck touted the Cruz endorsement in a press release Wednesday afternoon.

"Senator Cruz’s conservative record attracted millions of supporters in 2016 as he sought the Republican nomination for President.  Colbeck served as the state chair for Cruz’s presidential campaign in Michigan in which Cruz came in second behind Donald Trump.  Colbeck later encouraged voters to elect Donald Trump in the general election and Trump went on to become the first Republican to win the state since 1988.

Colbeck has been recognized by Michigan State Senator Jim Ananich (D) as “Michigan’s Ted Cruz.”  In fact, Colbeck and Cruz align on many fronts, most recently on education.  As a state senator, Colbeck introduced bills that leveraged federal 529 tax exemptions to create  “Enhanced MESP (Michigan Education Savings Program) Accounts” allowing families to get more access to education funds without Michigan having to raise taxes.  Similarly, Senator Cruz, as detailed in The Hill, introduced an amendment in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that would expand 529 savings accounts for K-12 expenses.
Also like Cruz, Colbeck is not afraid to distance himself from Republicans  when they stray from the principles on which the party was built. Both have been fierce opponents of Obamacare.  As George Will noted during the Michigan Presidential primary,  Colbeck is a “thorn in the side of the GOP’s legislative leadership on spending and other matters.  Which is to say, he is somewhat like Ted Cruz.”
Colbeck is also a supporter of the reforms Senator Cruz advocated in the national tax reform package.  Colbeck says under the plan, it is important now more than ever for Michigan to eliminate the state income tax.  The federal plan restricts the state income and property tax deduction and state income tax elimination could be the chance for Michigan to attract employers from high tax states, like Illinois.  Colbeck has outlined a practical, milestone-based plan to eliminate the state income tax through efficiency-based expense reductions and economic growth."
Colbeck faces Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lt. Governor Brian Calley in the Republican primary for Governor.
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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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Friday, December 22, 2017

Calley Cuts Into Schuette's Lead As More Republican Primary Voters Say They're Undecided



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

Attorney General Bill Schuette's 39% lead has disappeared as more likely Republican primary voters move to the undecided column.

According to a new poll from Steve Mitchell's Mitchell Research And Communications, Schuette leads Lt. Governor Brian Calley 25%-14%. State Senator Patrick Colbeck comes in at 2%, and Dr. Jim Hines also received 2%.

Previously, just over 30% were undecided as Schuette led 52-13. Now, nearly 60% of Republican primary voters are undecided.

Mitchell tells MIRS Calley's entrance into the Governor's race, as well as his campaign for a Part Time Legislature, helped the LG close the gap.

According to MIRS:

"Steve MITCHELL, president of Mitchell Research & Communications, credited Schuette's eroded support to the fact Calley recently announced his candidacy...

In the last two months, Calley has transferred leadership of his part-time legislature ballot initiative to other Republican activists, announced his candidacy and touted the gains Michigan has made since Gov. Rick SNYDER and Calley were elected in 2010, Mitchell said. 

"This is clearly now a close race," Mitchell said." 

Calley's campaign consultant John Yob tells MIRS he didn't think Schuette's numbers would fall so quickly. Yob blasted Schuette's Super PAC, also predicting Calley, Schuette, and Colbeck will be in a close race that mirrors the 2010 primary.

""We knew the race would tighten as voters compared the two candidates, but it is rare that you see polling numbers totally collapse so quickly," Yob told MIRS. "Voters will move from undecided to Brian Calley as they decide to continue the Michigan comeback rather than revert back to the failed policies of the lost decade.   

"This primary is shaping up very similar to 2010 with Calley, Schuette, and Colbeck in a tight campaign down the stretch," Yob added. "We will once again prove that endorsements from politicians and poorly implemented cheap shots from SuperPACs don't win primaries in Michigan." 

The most alarming aspect of these numbers for Mr. Schuette is clear: 75% of voters oppose his candidacy or are just not sold on him yet despite over 30 years as a power player in Michigan politics.

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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