Sunday, January 25, 2015

Joey Gamrat Withdraws From Youth Chair Race, Vows To Continue Working

Gamrat, left, talks to Michael Banerian, right, at The Pow Wow in Mt. Pleasant. (Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson)

By Brandon Hall

(Email him at

Joey Gamrat has withdrawn from the race for MI GOP Youth Chair, Michael Banerian is now likely to win the post, as he is unopposed.

>>>Read the background HERE: Joey Gamrat Addresses Eligibility Concern, Says Convention Delegates Should Decide The Issue

No members of the MIGOP Policy Committee returned WMP's request for comment.

Gamrat told WMP he will continue to be involved and doesn't need a title to roll up his sleeves on behalf of constitutionally conservative values and youth outreach.

"I have been on the radio in Petoskey and Ann Arbor, and continue to attend meetings in counties all across our great state," Gamrat said.

"Am I a little disappointed the Policy Committee ruled the way they did? You bet-but it won't stop me! I will continue to do my part to help lay the groundwork for constitutional conservative candidates to score big victories in 2016, and I will continue to interact with young Michiganders in every corner of our state to grow our party and engage our youth in the political process."

Gamrat released the following statement this week:

Friends, Supporters, and Fellow Republicans,

After much discussion, it has come to my attention that the Policy Committee will likely side with the State Party Legal Counsel and deny my eligibility to be a candidate at the February 20-21 State Convention. I have reached out to each member of the Policy Committee personally, and it is clear that I would have several votes in favor of allowing me to run, and giving the Delegates an option in the Youth Chair race. It is equally clear that there would likely not be enough votes to override the Legal Counsel’s opinion.

We have been moving full speed ahead with our campaign, and I am grateful for the endorsements and support I have received from dozens of TEA Party Leaders, State Committee Members, County Chairs, and Elected Officials – to say nothing of the hundreds of Precinct Delegates who have pledged their support as well.

However, I am interested in building our Party, not putting it through a TEA Party versus Establishment battle. I want to spend my time advancing the Cause of Freedom and Liberty through finding, recruiting, training youth across the state, and building relationships. I want to be an emissary for the Principles our Founding Fathers labored so long and hard to make a reality, the very Principles our Party was founded on: Individual Liberty, Personal Responsibility, and a system of Government that recognized the power rested solely in the hands of the People, through God's design.

So even though I am withdrawing from the race for Youth Chair, I will not stop working all over the state. I will attend County, District, and other Youth functions. I will work to continue advocating our Principles in all environments: College, High School, Middle School, and even Elementary School.

I included some information below, for those of you curious about how we got to this point. While reasonable folks can disagree about my conclusion(s), the fact remains that it is not as set in stone as some have portrayed it. Ultimately the Policy Committee is charged with making that determination. Regardless, there is some interesting precedent in our Nation’s history. I also link to a recent Politico story about how successful Presidential campaigns will be recruiting 16 and 17 year olds in the coming year, since they will be eligible to vote in the 2016 Presidential Election.

Please do not hesitate to call have any questions or comments. I am always available to chat!
Thank you for your past support, and prayers along this campaign trail, and I look forward to continuing building up with you a foundation for youth to get politically involved


Joey Gamrat

When I first decided to run, I went to my local Clerk and filed the necessary paperwork to register to vote. However, because I am 17, and don't turn 18 until July 3, they accepted my paperwork, but were not prepared to issue a voter registration card until a later date. The next regularly scheduled election in my Township wasn't until a date in late 2015 that occurred after my 18th birthday.

I then proceeded to gather the necessary District Chair signatures, and submitted my paperwork in a timely fashion to the Policy Committee.

In the interim between my registration/obtaining the signatures, the Legislature put the Gas Tax on a statewide ballot for May 5. This means I cannot be issued a voter registration card until after the Gas Tax vote on May 5th. So, sometime shortly after May 5, I will be issued a voter registration card.

A thorough review of the By-Laws, as amended February 4, 2012, Article IV, Paragraph (A) reveals there is no specific preclusion about how young someone can be to serve in the role of Youth Chair, only how old.
There is a requirement in Article III, Paragraph (E) that a Regular Member (someone with voting rights) be a Registered voter. This Paragraph deals specifically with membership as relates to voting matters, and financial contribution requirements. It does not state when someone has to be registered to vote, only that they must be registered to be considered a "Regular Member".

Furthermore, there is no restriction in the February 20-21, 2015 Convention Rules, as adopted May 3, 2014, on how old someone must be to RUN, or even that they be registered to vote to RUN.

So my arguments were:

1. I met the qualifications at the time I sought and obtained Congressional District Chair approval.
2. The By-Laws only speak to my ability to SERVE (said another way, be SEATED) as a Regular Member of the State Committee, not to the qualifications to RUN. It is the purview of the Policy Committee (and subsequently the Rules Committee of the Convention) to determine someone's qualification to RUN.
3. Section 16 of the Rules for Feb Convention state: "Participation in the Republican county and State conventions shall in no way be abridged for reasons of sex, race, religion, AGE, or national origin, and the county and State conventions shall encourage the broadest possible participation by everyone in party affairs."

Said again, there is no age limit for how YOUNG someone must be in order to RUN, only a requirement that they be registered to vote to take a SEAT as a Regular (Voting) Member of the Committee.
If I was successful in seeking the office of Youth Chair, I could properly take a seat as a voting member of the Committee sometime shortly after May 5, 2015, once my previously filed voter registration was then issued.

The Delegates should make this decision for themselves (after all, no one is required to vote for me in the Youth Chair race if I am on the ballot) and I should therefore not be denied ballot access, as we attempt to build the Party and reach out to Young voters. (There is precedence, by the way, for this occurring in the US House of Representatives. Multiple times, candidates have been ELECTED who are younger than the Age requirement in the US Constitution to SERVE. The House handles the seating of the Member accordingly, but the voters are not denied the right to choose whether they wish to elect that person.)

Below are three examples pertaining to Age, there are others based on other items, but these three are pertinent.

Accessed on January 13, 2015

The founders initially set 21, the voting age, as the minimum age to serve in the House. During the Federal Constitutional Convention, though, George Mason of Virginia moved to make the age 25. Mason said that there should be a period between being free to manage one’s own affairs and managing the “affairs of a great nation.” Convention Delegate James Wilson of Pennsylvania objected to the suggestion that any further restrictions be placed on House membership, and cited the service of William Pitt as a counterexample. Pitt, who held office at the time of the Convention, was the youngest prime minister in British history at the age of 24. Nevertheless, Mason’s amendment passed seven states to three.

The House and Its Members
Article I, section 5 of the Constitution provides the House with the authority to determine whether Members-elect are qualified to be seated. For instance, William Claiborne of Tennessee became the youngest person to ever serve in the House when he was elected and seated in 1797 at the age of 22. The House also seated Claiborne at the age of 24, when he won re-election. The House, however, has not always been so lenient. Representative John Young Brown of Kentucky was first elected to the House in the 36th Congress (1859–1861) when he was 24, but the House refused to administer the oath of office to him until he was 25—after the first session of the Congress was over.

Politico Article about Campaigns courting young voters:…/young-voters-campaigns-114141.html


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


Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

1 comment:

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