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Friday, January 19, 2018

State Senator Patrick Colbeck Is The First Major Candidate For Governor To File Petitions For 2018 Ballot


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

State Senator Patrick Colbeck is the first major candidate for Governor to turn in nominating petitions to the Secretary of State.

Colbeck turned in around 18,000 signatures earlier this week, 3,000 more than needed. 

Once confirmed, Colbeck will now be on the August 2018 Republican primary ballot. Dr. Jim Hines turned in his signatures last year.

Colbeck touts the grassroots effort behind the process. No paid signature gatherers were hired, hundreds of his supporters got the job done on their own.

"Over 500 volunteers sacrificed countless hours to make this possible," Colbeck said in a Facebook statement. "Unlike other gubernatorial campaigns, no one was paid to collect signatures nor did we spend money on expensive mailers to registered voters nor did we use taxpayer funded staff to collect signatures. It was a pure grassroots effort that differentiates the enthusiasm of our supporters from those of the other campaigns. It also shows how we do more with less financial resources...which is a good skill set for our next Governor."



Colbeck will face off against Lt. Governor Brian Calley at a town hall in Grand Rapids on January 29th. Attorney General Schuette refuses to participate.

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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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Scott Hagerstrom Resigns As MIGOP Deputy Chair, Joins Schuette's PAC For 2018



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

Scott Hagerstrom has resigned as the Michigan Republican Party Deputy Chair in order to take a leading role with "Better Jobs, Stronger Families," the Political Action Committee supporting Bill Schuette's campaign for Governor.

Hagerstrom will focus on the PAC's grassroots engagement and outreach efforts...

Hagerstrom led President Trump's historic Michigan campaign in 2016. Before that, he worked with Paul Mitchell to defeat Prop 1. Hagerstrom also spent years leading American For Prosperity's political efforts in the Great Lakes State, notably, the fight for Right To Work.



Hagerstrom praised Schuette and says he is excited to work with the grassroots to deliver a win for the AG later this year.

"“Who we elect as Governor in November will help determine whether we move our economy forward and create jobs or return to a bleak past,” Hagerstrom said in a press release. “Bill Schuette is the only candidate who will build a strong economy and a brighter future for our state. I’m excited to bring that message to grassroots across Michigan and prove the power of the grassroots to the pundits all over again.” 

Political consultant Stu Sandler is the Executive Director of the PAC. Sandler says Hagerstrom's addition to the team is exciting, and that he will be critical to winning in November.

“We are excited to have Scott join our efforts to support Bill Schuette.  Scott will generate grassroots excitement and momentum around Bill Schuette’s vision for a stronger Michigan,”Sandler said in a press release. “Scott has the talent, passion and drive to help build the type of grassroots movement that will be critical to our victory in November."
Hagerstrom, right, with Grant Strobl, left (DarKen Photography)


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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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Speaker Leonard Touts Common Core Opposition As Past Support Haunts Schuitmaker In Attorney General Race



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

Speaker of the Michigan House Tom Leonard is renewing his push against Common Core in a new video campaign as the issue continues to remain a problem with his opponent in the Attorney General race, State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker.

Leonard says in his new video that he supports the 10th Amendment when it comes to education policy, the feds should stay out. Leonard also says that Michigan families "deserve better than Washington's broken policies"



In a statement coinciding with the release of the video, Leonard says that the government needs to let teachers do their job, not make things harder.

"Quality education for Michigan’s next generation should always be a top priority," Leonard said. "I’ve met some phenomenal teachers when I was a student and now as a state representative. They work hard each day to prepare students for life outside the classroom, bringing their own ideas, knowledge and life experience to the table.

But we need to make sure we’re not making their job more difficult. Too often, government has interfered with the learning going on inside the classroom. I am the only attorney general candidate who has fought against common core since day one. Foundational issues like local control and parental choice have been critical concerns of mine from the beginning, not just when they became politically expedient. While standardized testing is critical to evaluating our students, we need to give schools and teachers the time and autonomy to provide our children with a quality education."


Conservatives praised Leonard's video, and many hope he will hold a vote to try and repeal Common Core.


"Glad to see someone still willing to fight against Common Core State Standards," said Allegan County Clerk Bob Genetski. "The federal government cannot be trusted with deciding what our children learn local schools. Thank you Tom Leonard."

Schuitmaker's past support of Common Core could prove to be a major issue for conservative grassroots delegates as they decide who to vote for in the Attorney General's race. Schuitmaker voted for Common Core in the State Senate in 2013.

According to MIRS:

"There may be a reason Republican senators avoided a roll call vote on the Common Core resolution Thursday.

MIRS today contacted all 26 Republican senators either directly or through their offices to ask whether they'd been a vocal "Aye" or "No" on the Thursday voice vote for HCR 11, a resolution allowing the Department of Education to spend money on implementing the Common Core state standards.

Sixteen senators were reached, and only 10 would say definitively how they would have voted.

A voice vote was taken on the resolution Thursday, meaning nobody went on the record as voting for or against HCR11. "

Yes" votes would have come from Sen. Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive), Sen. John PAPPAGEORGE (R-Troy), Senate Majority Leader Randy RICHARDVILLE (R-Monroe), Sen. Tonya SCHUITMAKER (R-Lawton) and Sen. Howard WALKER (R-Traverse City).

"No" votes would have come from Sen. Jack BRANDENBURG (R-Harrison Twp.), Sen. Patrick COLBECK (R-Canton), Sen. Joe HUNE (R-Hamburg), Sen. Rick JONES (R-Grand Ledge), Sen. John MOOLENAAR (R-Midland) and Sen. Phil PAVLOV (R-St. Clair)."




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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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Drain The Swamp: Stan Grot Calls On Secretary Of State To Take Over Corrupt+Controversial Detroit Elections



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

Stan Grot, the Shelby Township Clerk and 10th Congressional District Republican Chair running for Secretary of State, says it's time for that office to take over Detroit's controversial election system.

Detroit has seen two immensely problematic elections in recent years, with many ballots being unable to be recounted after the 2016 Presidential election, as well as after local elections in 2017. 

Seals on boxes in many precincts were broken, rendering them useless. Other precincts had more votes cast than registered voters. The issues could have severely impacted a race for Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey that saw the incumbent barely squeak out a win that subsequently went to a recount. The recount produced more questions than answers... 

Grot says the final results are questionable, and the problems are hurting the confidence Detroiters have in the system.

“Recently, the Detroit City Clerk has come under scrutiny for yet another botched election, Grot said in a press release. "Tainted ballots prevented a legitimate recount from taking place in her own re-election bid in November. Her abysmal track record is proof that she is incapable of conducting fair elections.It’s still unclear whether the errors are a result of deliberate manipulations or incompetence, but one thing we know for certain is that it has compromised the integrity of our elections in Detroit. It’s caused many Detroit voters to lose interest in the process entirely, threatening the very foundation our democratic system is built on. This is very unfortunate with so many important decisions on the 2018 ballot for Michiganders to make."

Grot says it's time for action.

"I’m calling on the Secretary of State to conduct extensive public accuracy testing, election worker training, oversight of election day operations, and verification of the final results on Election Day in Detroit," Grot said. "It’s time for the state to step in to restore the integrity of our elections in Detroit.”

Grot faces MSU Professor Dr. Joseph Guzman and Eastern Michigan University Trustee Mary Trader Lang in the battle for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State. 

Delegates will decide who gets the nod at the Michigan Republican Party State Convention in August.

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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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Schuette Demands Detroit News Retraction After Paper Says He's Failed To Do His Job In MSU Nassar Scandal



By Brandon Hall

(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)

Attorney General Bill Schuette is demanding a retraction from the Detroit News after the paper claimed in an editorial that the Attorney General is not interested in the truth about what happened at Michigan State University during the Larry Nassar scandal.

The Detroit News says Schuette seems uninterested in getting to the bottom of things, and that he must do the job he currently has before moving on to Governor.

According to the Detroit News:

"The News’ reporting identified 14 MSU staffers who in some fashion were made aware of the girls’ complaints, but either did not act, or acted instead to protect Nassar.

The group includes Simon, who was briefed about a 2014 Title IX complaint against Nassar, but allowed him to keep seeing the patients referred to him by the MSU gymnastics program for another nearly two years. How many young women might have been spared had Simon suspended Nassar pending the outcome of the investigation?

That’s one of the many questions Attorney General Bill Schuette should ask. But he seems curiously uninterested in determining who knew what and when inside the MSU administration and athletic and osteopathic medicine programs.

Schuette’s indifference borders on dereliction of duty, the same charge he leveled against state workers who failed to act to protect citizens in the Flint water crisis. How is the Michigan State case different? And how does it differ from Penn State University, where a university president, vice president and athletic director were criminally convicted for not protecting boys from abuse on their campus by a former assistant football coach?

Schuette, who is running for governor, must step beyond any political calculations and do his job before he can make a legitimate claim to the next one he seeks."

After the MSU Board of Trustees met today to ask the AG's office to investigate the University, Schuette addressed the paper, calling for them to retract their claims.

"A full and complete review, report and recommendation of what occurred at Michigan State University is required and I will provide that," Schuette said in a statement. "However, this week and the coming weeks are time for the survivors of Larry Nassar to have their day in court, and I refuse to upstage their time for healing.

My focus up to this point has been the following:
1. Prosecuting Larry Nassar, which resulted in his conviction of 10 felony counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree;
2. Seeking a sentence that will ensure Nassar will remain behind bars for the rest of his life where he can never harm another woman or young girl in her tender years; 
3. Ensuring that victim impact statements from all survivors be allowed, sentencing so that the enormity of his crimes would be known;
4. Asking for a full report from Michigan State University, which I was told didn't exist.
The Detroit News in an editorial today called me wrong and indifferent, nothing could be further from the truth, and they should issue a retraction."
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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 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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