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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

14 Stories WMP Readers Knew Before Anyone Else

West Michigan Politics readers knew about the following 14 stories before anyone else. Thanks for reading, have a great start to your 2015!

-WMP broke the news Ottawa County Elections Coordinator Justin Roebuck had applied to replace retiring County Clerk Dan Krueger, and also successfully predicted he would be chosen as the new Clerk!

-WMP broke the "Hagar Park Sign" being removed in Jenison before MLive, WZZM, or anyone else

-WMP exposed Atheist extremist Mitch Kahle in a manner no one else has yet to do. (And please, GH Tribune, he's not a "civil rights activist." He's an atheist activist and an anti-Christian bully.)

-WMP broke the news Faith Steketee had been fired as Ottawa GOP Executive Director and covered it days before the Holland Sentinel. We also revealed how the Organizational Committee voted on the decision to fire her.

-WMP broke the story Arlan Meekhof received a $5,000 fine despite his outrageous attacks against Geoff Haveman in the 90th State Hose primary for a $50 fine. MIRS and Gongwer picked it up.

-Also picked up by MIRS and Gongwer was the WMP story on the Dems racist anti-Snyder mailer...

-When the Ottawa GOP refused to release the delegate list to even delegates themselves, WMP obtained it and released it.

-WMP exposed Bill Huizenga's Disney vacation with bankers he regulates...

-Also on the Huizenga front: WMP discovered Huizenga has 14 campaign reports that are over 10 years due in some cases. Much more on that next week.

-WMP broke the story that Brian Ellis was targeting Dems in direct mail to beat Amash, a story picked up by Jack Hunter's Rare Media.

-After the Holland Sentinel said "outside groups" were funding a controversial mailer against Geoff Haveman, WMP disocvered it was actually pretty close to home, right in Holland Heights... Joe Haveman and Arlan Meekhof funded the 616 PAC's headline-grabbing mailer....

-Bill Schuette's transition on pot policy seems to go unnoticed by everyone, but WMP readers know..

-After WZZM gave Joe Haveman's wife a forum to say Geoff Haveman "stole her husband's sign," WMP obtained a photo and WMP readers polled resoundingly rejected the outrageous claim. Anyone with eyes would.

-And it's a few years old, but WMP revealed Arlan Meekhof lied to Dave Agema about "e-verify" to keep him out of the 2010 State Senate primary....

Those are the highlights...Thanks for reading!

 _________________________________________________________________________

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
:)
Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

KimPOSSIBLE? Romney-McDaniel Gets Her First Challenger As Kim Shmina Declares Bid For MIGOP Chair

Kim Shmina, center, with her husband, right, and Attorney General Schuette, left, at a fall campaign event.
 By Brandon Hall

(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com)


Ronna Romney-McDaniel faces a challenger in her bid for Michigan Republican Party Chair after St. Clair Nurse and Wayne State University instructor Kim Shmina announced her candidacy.

Shmina has been involved in local, state, and party politics for years, and was also part of the effort that saw her county flip significantly from Obama to Romney in 2012.

She wants to engage and utilize the grassroots, build on Bobby Schostak's success, and unite the party heading into the 2016 elections.

In a statement, Shmina said:

"Kimberly Shmina has been fighting to elect conservatives to office for years.
Serving first as an elevated Precinct Delegate, St. Clair County Republican Party committee member, then 10th District Committee member, Kim is now Vice Chair of the 10th District Republican Executive Committee.

Since 2011, Kim has been the chairman of the 10th District Issues Committee, also serving on the Finance Committee. Retention and recruitment at the county and district level has always been a priority.
Kim has ran for local office to make a difference in her community.

Born in Detroit but raised in Cheboygan County, Kim, who is always eager to serve others, became a nurse after attending North Central Michigan College, then obtaining a bachelors degree from University of Michigan.

Ultimately, Kim earned her Nurse Practitioner certification and Masters at Michigan State University and finally a Doctorate in nursing from Wayne State University where she has taught for the last 9 years.
Kim has been fighting the conservative fight at arguably the most liberal university in this state, and she has been winning that fight! Kim is 100% Right To Life, 100% pro-second amendment, and has been a leader in the fight against common core in her school district.

Kim and her husband Michael have 4 children, and reside in St. Clair County.
As your next Michigan Republican Party Chair, Kim Shmina will build the party from the bottom up -- not the top down.

She will recruit and empower a strong Finance Chair and Finance Committee to build on the fundraising success of outgoing Chair Bobby Schostak. Kim will seek to retain and build upon the excellent state party staff that delivered results in 2014 but will never stand pat when there is an opportunity to improve.

If elected, Kim will work the job of party chair fulltime, all the time. Kim will visit every congressional district in the state, working hard at the grassroots level to encourage, assist, grow and involve all republicans.

Kim will bring the Tea Party into the fold of our Republican Party to win elections and help the party stay true to our principles. And Kim will actively engage the grassroots because she is truly from the grassroots.
You can call Kim any time at home at 586-725-6318, or e-mail her at kimshmina@comcast.net. Please visit www.kimshmina.com for more information and to join her team!"

When asked what type of candidates she had been proud to support in the 2014 cycle, what kind of candidates exemplified her vision, Shmina mentioned candidates like Lee Chatfield and Wendy Day.
Day

Chatfield
Shmina calls claims Romney-McDaniel has the race locked up ridiculous.

"Within the hour of her annoncement, I heard that Ronna had it locked up," Shmina said. "I find that interesting given 90% of the people I have spoken to say 'Oh Bobby's not running? Who is?!'"

Shmina-as well as Romney-must now get the signatures of 7 Congressional District Chairs in order to have her name put up for nomination.

Shmina can be reached at KimShmina@Comcast.Net, or CLICK HERE to go to her Facebook page.

Romney, for her part, has recently scored the backing of State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, Christian Coalition of Michigan head Keith Den Hollander, and tea party leader and radio show host Trucker Randy.

The convention takes place in Lansing in February.

 _________________________________________________________________________
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
:)
Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Pete Lund You Don't Know

Romney-McDaniel

By Brandon Hall



(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com)


With Ronna Romney McDaniel wasting no time throwing her hat in the ring to replace retiring Michigan Republican Party Chair Bobby Schostak, speculation is running rampant as to whether or not State Rep. Pete Lund will get into the race.

Many have spoken favorably about the prospects of a Lund candidacy-people like State Rep. Tom McMillin.

One of Lund's friends posted this gem to Lund's Facebook recently, and it highlights an important fact: Pete Lund has been involved in Michigan government for decades. He knows the players, he knows the game.

He has also proven his conservative credentials, consistently ranked as one of Lansing's most conservative lawmakers. (And dat hair, doe.)



Ronna Romney is already the subject of disgusting attacks we will not repeat here, and it's unfortunate because she seems very nice and would probably make a good Chair.

Delegates deserve a choice though, a real competition, not a coronation. Pete Lund looks like he may be ready to deliver just that.

_________________________________________________________________________
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
:)
Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson





The Top 30 Most Important Michigan Political Stories Of 2014



The Top 30 Most Important Michigan Political Stories Of 2014

By Brandon Hall

(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com)

30The Religious Freedom and Restoration Act was pushed as part of a corresponding bill to amend Michigan's Eliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation, and in some Dem versions, gender identity. The RFRA caused much debate and controversy, then died in the Senate after passing the House in "lameduck."


Yob
29. Strategic National Chief John Yob blasted the Michigan Republican Party for lying to grassroots activists about whether or not the party's 2016 presidential primary was really a "closed" primary, open only to Republicans.

28. MLive's Ballot Bash and candidate forum events throughout the fall and summer were some of the only well advertised opportunities for members of the public to interact with some of Michigan's most powerful leaders. Great work, MLive!

27. Grand Rapids voters decide to enact local term limits, sending a reminder to the small minority who would like to repeal those limits that Michiganders refuse to do so.
   
26. Detroit area political reporter Bill Bonds passed away after a legendary career spanning decades.

25. Activists worked hard, and even had the support of both L.G. Brian Calley and RNC Committeemen Dave Agema, but in the end, the group attempting to bring Michigan's legislature to "part-time" did not succeed in getting enough signatures to place the issue before Michigan voters.

24Detroit pension package passes as the city emerges from bankruptcy and things actually start to look up in "The D." Now if only that new Red Wings stadium didn't have so much taxpayer money...





23. In a story that has gone pretty much unnoticed by...everyone, Attorney General Bill Schuette actually said he'd be open to a pot reform ballot measure in 2016, depending on how it's written. Schuette is transitioning from hardcore anti-pot crusader to moderate, pragmatic pot watchdog as he gears up to run for Governor in 2018.

22. After a nasty race that saw State Representatives Greg MacMaster and Wayne Schmidt duke it out, Schmidt came out on top, beating MacMaster in the August primary. Using complicated, decades old family issues against MacMaster was a disgusting low point of the contest.

21. 2014 was the end of the legislative road for well known politicians such as Speaker Bolger, Sen. Whitmer, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, State Rep. Joe Haveman, and many more. At least for a little bit...



 

 
Gamrat, left, with son Joey

20. After the establishment votes were split by Mary Whiteford and Steve Schultz, Cindy Gamrat of Plainwell was rewarded for her hard-working campaign, scoring a huge primary victory in the race to replace outgoing State Rep. Bob Genetski. 

Gamrat, a nuese who graduated from U of M, is as watched as other incoming high profile State Reps, but she is nowhere near as bombastic. Keep an eye on her-if she plays her cards right, she could move to the State Senate in 2018, or be on any Republican's shortlist for Lieutenant Governor.

O'Brien

 
19. It was a slug-fest to the end, and with a 59 vote margin, Margaret O'Brien edged Sean McCann to become the next State Senator for the Kalamazoo area. O'Brien is said to already be working with State Rep. Mike Carlton on marijuana bills that died in the Senate during "lame duck."

 
http://westmipolitics.blogspot.com/2014/10/mirs-and-gongwer-pick-up-wmps-story-on.html

18. Whether it was Aramark, Education  funding, attacking Snyder's cousin for things Granholm did, racist mailers, fear mongering of Senior citizens, or attacking the Governor personally, Mark Schauer and Lon Johnson's lame, lackluster, lie-filled 2014 campaign plan was all about that hate, 'bout dat hate-no substance. Lon Johnson couldn't deliver on his grand absentee plan, and his boring, predictable BS makes one long for Mark Brewer as head of the Michigan Dems. 

Brewer would have done something like travel to gas stations around Michigan with signs that said  #StopTheSnyderGasTax and called the media there while he actually showed some emotion. (NEVER thought I'd miss Mark Brewer!) The guy had guts. Hell, remember "Reform Michigan Government Now!" He tried to take over Michigan government to benefit the Dems!

 
17. Jennifer Granholm may not have been on the ballot in 2014, but her presence was palpable in the Gubernatorial race. Michiganders are better off than they were four years ago, at least in almost every statistically documented aspect. The Granholm years were referenced implicitly and explicitly throughout the campaign, by candidates and surrogates alike. Surely, comparing the progress made under Snyder to where things had been under Granholm made a difference in November to the hundreds of thousands of Independent Michiganders who cast ballots for Snyder.


 
Cotter

16. After November elections, Kevin Cotter was elected as the new Speaker of the Michigan House, while Ottawa County's Arlan Meekhof took the reigns as Senate Majority Leader. Both will take their new positions when the new legislature officially takes office in January. It will be interesting to see how these two contrast with their predecessors, Speaker Bolger and Majority Leader Richardville.

15. After months of lobbying, Equality Michigan and its partner groups were unable to get amendments to the Eliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act out of committee to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protections. They are now gearing up for a 2016 Constitutional amendment to allow gay marriage in Michigan, and may also simultaneously pursue a referendum on Elliot-Larsen.



 

Huizenga
14. Whether it was hypocritical attacks/shady, illegal robocalls and mailers in the 90th State House primary, the controversial Ottawa GOP convention and subsequent firing of longtime Executive Director Faith Steketee, or Bill Huizenga's Disney vacation with bankers he regulates-or his outstanding campaign finance reports... Ottawa County was no stranger to controversy this year. The County is gearing up for a recall of Allendale Township Sup. Jerry Alkema, and the open State House seat in Amanda Price's district is sure to be...an interesting race....

 
Schostak

13. After serving two terms as the leader of the Michigan Republican Party, Bobby Schostak called it quits this year. Ronna Romney-McDaniel and Pete Lund are among some of the most often potential replacements, though while Ronna is in, Lund has not yet officially declared.


Bishop, left, McMillan right.
  12. It could be argued that the nominating speech (or something like that) Tom McMillin made complimenting Mike Bishop was the beginning of the end for his Congressional hopes-and that may well be true. Regardless, he would have been a great Rep... Mike Bishop went on to win the race by double digits, replacing Mike Rogers in D.C. McMillin also faced a cash defeceit, as the well connected former Senate leader Bishop had a full war-chest.



AFPMichigan head Scott Hagerstrom
11. It didn't win every race, but as they prepared for a full on war in 2016, Americans For Prosperity-Michigan made their presence known. Involving themselves in a slew of races, hosting multiple events across the state, and continually engaging activists as well as legislators and government leaders, AFP has made it clear they mean business in 2016 and beyond.


 


Bentivolio, left, Trott, right

10. "Foreclosure King" Dave Trott set his eyes on a new House this year: the United States House of Representatives. To get there, he needed to "evict" Kerry Bentivolio. That's just what Trott and his allies did, spending $6 million to defeat the incumbent Representative. Trott, along with a slew of special interest groups like the Chamber, had their eye on Bentivolio from the beginning.


Levin


9. Michigan's Congressional Delegation also took a hit from retirement. John Dingell, Carl Levin, Mike Rogers, and Dave Camp all retired this year.



Weiser
Horning
8. It was a heated campaign that saw Ron Weiser become the subject of attacks that were at best unfair and at worst, total BS. It also showed how great of a campaigner Dan Horning is. He didn't have Weiser's financial resources, but with his friendly personality and hard working campaign schedule, he almost dethroned the powerful former ambassador in his bid for U of M regent. Horning only lost to Weiser by 76 votes at the MIGOP convention in Novi.

 
Peters

 7. It wasn't a surprise on election night, but at one point, this was a heated race. In the end, Gary Peters beat Terri Land to replace Carl Levin as one of Michigan's Senators by double digits. 

Sadly, voters heard more derping about whether or not a debate would take place than the actual issues. Two ads also really stood out, and both hurt Land. The one with Peters and his family talking about how much of a cheap bastard he is, and the one making it look like she was personally spreading some sort of black smog or something. Peters defined Land, who never defined herself and did not seem to get along well with the media. It's too bad that the campaign didn't reflect how good of a politician and person Land really is, expect her to be back someday.

 


6. Wes Nakagiri's pink Snyder/Calley flyers made his campaign seem more like "Say Yes To The Dress!" than "Say Yes To Wes," and in the end, delegates decided to say no, renominating Brian Calley as Lt. Governor with over 60% of the vote. Wes Nakagiri earned a respectable 35%, and for the most part, ran a respectable campaign. Supporters booing Rep. Amash when he nominated the LG, and his creepy, Anti-Calley white van parked outside the convention hall lookin' like it was straight out of Law and Order SVU were not the campaign's best moments...



Mitchell
Moolenaar



5. After trailing by double digits for weeks, State Sen. John Moolenaar overcame the odds and scored an upset primary win over Paul Mitchell to decide who would replace Dave Camp in Congress. Even Attorney General Schuette got involved in the race, attacking Mitchell and throwing his support behind Moolenaar in a video statement just days before the election.





Chatfield

4. He looks like he's more likely to need a fake I.D. to score booze for a frat party than to sport a legislative badge, but don't underestimate Lee Chatfield. Frank Foster did, and as a result, the incumbent State Rep. was bounced to the unemployment line. Foster's support for "Elliot-Larsen" was far from his only issue. His controversial voting record and lack of attention to constituents were key factors, as well as the smart, hardworking campaign Chatfield ran.

 
Meekhof

3. After years of failed leadership, the Michigan Legislature was unable to do their job, and as a result, Michiganders will vote in a special election on May 5th. There, voters can decide if they want to rasie the sales tax as part of a package to pay for road repairs and other interest group projects, like education funding. The legislature also snuck in an internet sales tax bill to the lameduck agenda, meaning Michiganders will now be forced to pay taxes on internet purchases.

 
Snyder

2. After months of back-and-forth, voters finally had their say and decided to send "Michigan's Comeback Team" back to Lansing for another term. Gov. Snyder, Attorney General Schuette, and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson were all re-elected.


 
Amash

1. Unlike David Trott, Brian Ellis did not succeed in his efforts to unseat the incumbent Congressman he challenged. That's because unfortunately for Mr. Ellis, he ran against (and wouldn't stop lying about) one of the most transparent and accessible Congressman in the history of the Republic, Justin Amash. (He also lacked Trott's deep pockets, though Ellis is somewhat wealthy and did spend some of his own money.) 

While Ellis stayed hidden somewhere in EGR, Amash was out hosting town halls across the District, talking to regular people. While Ellis was rigging up BS commercials George Orwell could have written, Justin Amash stuck to the centuries old adage "the truth will set you free." And it did.

Amash, famous for posting every vote on Facebook, as well as for advocating for Constitutional government-all while refusing to engage in the typical DC games-had a smart campaign team, dedicated volunteers, and while he didn't have the Chamber, he had thousands of liberty activists across the Country backing him with small donations...

Amash survived the Ellis onslaught, sending a message to the establishment that money spent bothering Amash is money better spent elsewhere. Had the race been close, perhaps they'd be lining up for another fight against Amash in 2016. That wasn't the case though, Ellis lost by more than double digits. They better save that money to defend Bill Huizenga the way things are going for him these days. Multiple DC publications called the contest the ugliest primary of 2014.

_________________________________________________________________________
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
:)
Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

Monday, December 22, 2014

Rep. Bentivolio Goes Off In Epic Farewell Rant, Reveals Behind The Scenes #CRomnibus Details






By Brandon Hall



(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com)


>>>Congressmen Kerry Bentivolio is sick of the BS.

Bentivolio took a beating from "Foreclosure King" Dave Trott and his allies who spent millions on his behalf to beat the incumbent in the August primary.

Monday night, Bentivolio read everybody the "Riot Act" while explaining his #CRomnibus vote and revealing behind the scenes details of how it came to be. Who can blame him? Liberty folks abandoned him while the Empire beat him all to hell.

Here are some highlights, and the full statement is below.

"It has been said and written that I did this (changed my rule vote) to get “even” for the lack of support my fellow conservatives gave me during the primary election. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those that know me will tell you I am not that kind of person and the thought never entered my mind. I can surmise these conjectures are nothing more than my former opponent’s political machine at work in the social media and “bought and paid for” mainstream reporters. After all, they said in semi-private meetings during the primary campaign they would take the seat and then destroy me once and for all.

Conservatives who want nothing less than 100% are living in fantasyland along with the magic carpets and genie lanterns. While many of those conservatives and conservative groups received ample cash to stay out of my race, and Washington is a place where principles are bought by the highest bidder like stock on the stock exchange, my principles remain intact having been bought and paid for previously by soldiers, sailors, Marines and Airmen on the beaches of Normandy, in the jungles of Vietnam and desert of Iraq and many other places...

Professor Gruber claimed voters are stupid. I strongly disagree. They are often intentionally misinformed by a social and mainstream media and hence become low-information voters. I often said that if I needed to lie to my constituents to keep this job, then I did not want it.

I have often said, too, that the hardest thing to find in Washington, D. C. is the truth. It remains the case today.

However, since I have no real plans to return to Congress and many of you think I am responsible for ushering in the $1.1 Trillion spending bill I did not support nor vote for, so be it. Here is the story as it happened, from my perspective. If you wish to remember me as the crazy reindeer farmer, Santa impersonator, accidental Congressman who is responsible for that terrible bill passed in Congress before Christmas 2014, so be it too. It is amazing what a $6 million campaign in hard and soft money can purchase. I will pray for all of you, especially my country I fought for 30 years trying to protect. God bless you, and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas."

>>>HERE IS THE STATEMENT IN FULL:

"In keeping with my status and rating as the most transparent member of Congress, I offer this explanation and commentary regarding the “rule” vote that allowed the bill to come to the floor.

Many claim my vote ushered in a $1.1 trillion dollar budget for the coming year. I am deeply honored how many think I had the power to determine so quickly the financial fate of our nation! However, this is not the case.

Do check my voting record--I have never before voted “no” on a rule vote. This, I admit, I did on a whim, a last hurrah. Let me give a little background on the circumstances of that fateful day Thursday, December 11th that I changed my vote from a ‘nay’ to a ‘yea’. A week prior, my staff and I were moved to a small cubicle with one computer and one desk. We shared a printer with others not returning to the House this January. I sat in the House cloakroom off the floor of Congress most of the day discussing various issues and concerns with retiring Congressman Latham from Iowa since he and I were in the same situation, though for different reasons. I obtained a copy of the 1600 page bill and read the first 25-30 pages a few hours before the rule vote.
I complained to Congressman Latham that I was disappointed in the proposed bill from what I heard, having no time to actually read the entire bill and how Congressman Mulvaney’s amendment to the bill to defund President Obama’s amnesty program failed to pass.

 I informed him and Congresswoman Candice Miller, acting in behalf of the Majority Whip, that they could not count on my vote for the 1.1 trillion spending bill.

When the house called to vote on the rule, I walked the seven feet beyond the cloak room door and voted “no” on the rule. I was the first vote. Congressman Latham laughed and asked why I voted “no” since few Republicans ever vote “no” on a rule. The rule vote simply stops all debates and amendments and brings the bill to the floor for consideration. I mentioned to him it really did not matter since it would pass anyway and no one really cared how I voted on the “rule”. Within minutes a GOP aide came in asking why I voted no on the rule. I waved him off politely indicating to him it really didn’t matter.

Within 20 minutes Speaker Boehner and other members of Congress asked if I would change my vote. I was perplexed why there was this much attention given a departing member’s vote on a rule. I walked back onto the floor and watched the tally of votes on the overhead side panels. 160-160, 165-166, 175-174, etc.

While on the floor I stood within five feet of Congressmen Amash, Jordan, Mulvaney, and several other “conservative” members of Congress. Not one talked or discussed with me the implications, plans or strategy, consequences or what reasons they had to vote “no” on the rule. I asked what was happening and no one gave me a reply other than I should change my vote.

What I knew, as did they, that a “no” would mean re-negotiating a new bill. Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader would force the GOP to make concessions. I realized the Speaker was dead set against shutting the government down. A 30-60 day Continued Resolution (CR) was not an option because neither Harry Reid nor the President would sign it. There were “rumors” that the Democrats were planning on delaying social security, VA disability and retirement checks just before Christmas, blaming it on the GOP for failing to negotiate a funding bill both the Senate and President would sign. The Speaker was up against the wall, between a rock and hard place. After all, did not the President order open air memorials fenced and gated during the last shut down and hired Park Rangers to guard the otherwise “unguarded” tourist sites on the mall? What else would you expect from our Commander in Tyranny?

The elderly in my district need those social security checks! What many people do not realize or discuss in the media is the possibility that leadership would immediately offer a two-day CR funding the government over the weekend while they negotiated another bill with Democrats until they received enough votes and have had a bill the Senate, under Harry Reid, and the President would sign. Both the leadership and Democrats do not like Conservatives and we would not have had much influence on the final bill. 

Any future bill could be worse than the bill proposed on the floor that day. I was not willing under any circumstances, to give Nancy Pelosi any negotiating power, and for that reason alone I decided to change my vote to a “yea” on the rule.

Many conservative members changed their vote as well to make it a tie. After Congressman Stutzman changed his vote, the tally read 213 Yea and 213 Nay, effectively passing the rule. Congressman Stutzman is an excellent member and serves his constituents well. I am honored to have served with him as I am with other members of Congress. I changed my vote to make the final tally 214 Yea and 212 Nay. I being the first and last to vote on the rule.

Immediately afterwards, many members of Congress thanked me and called me a “true patriot.” I did not need to hear those comments. I proved that years ago serving my country in the military. I responded to each by saying, “Merry Christmas.” 

Not because of my vote, rather because they were all going home immediately after voting that day, and I would not see them again. The Speaker came up to me and thanked me for changing my vote and said he owed me a great deal. I smiled at him wishing him and his family a Merry Christmas, too.

After voting “NO” on the $1.1 trillion spending bill, a member of Congress mentioned a fellow member of Congress and friend was very upset that I had changed my rule vote. When I heard that comment I became very concerned. I realized then I MAY have made a mistake since my friend, a member of Congress I most respected, was disappointed. I began to worry.

Within minutes she came up to me and asked why I changed my vote. “Michele, I said, I did not want to give the floor to Pelosi.”

She asked if anyone promised me anything to get me to change my vote. I told her the truth and replied “No.” Then I asked her why no one contacted me or discussed with me any plans or strategy. I told her had she talked with me I might have considered sticking to my “no” vote.

 I have great respect and admiration for Congresswoman Bachmann and, other than my wife, have never met a greater woman. She is a tireless worker, a true patriot on all the issues, dedicated and takes no prisoners. Her retirement from Congress is America’s loss.

After the “rule” votes most everyone left the floor to wait for the call for the final bill, and I returned to sit with Congressman Latham again in the cloak room. Congressman Latham looked up at me and said, “So your vote didn’t matter and no one cared, huh?”
I replied, “Holy ****!”

It has been said and written that I did this (changed my rule vote) to get “even” for the lack of support my fellow conservatives gave me during the primary election. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those that know me will tell you I am not that kind of person and the thought never entered my mind.

I maintain to this day a 100% rating from the American Conservative Union and a 90% from Conservative Review. I can surmise these conjectures are nothing more than my former opponent’s political machine at work in the social media and “bought and paid for” mainstream reporters. After all, they said in semi-private meetings during the primary campaign they would take the seat and then destroy me once and for all.

Conservatives who want nothing less than 100% are living in fantasyland along with the magic carpets and genie lanterns. While many of those conservatives and conservative groups received ample cash to stay out of my race, and Washington is a place where principles are bought by the highest bidder like stock on the stock exchange, my principles remain intact having been bought and paid for previously by soldiers, sailors, Marines and Airmen on the beaches of Normandy, in the jungles of Vietnam and desert of Iraq and many other places.

I am proud to have served in two wars for my country, the only member of Congress to serve in both Vietnam and Iraq, and an additional two-year deployment in Washington, D.C. No promises were made, no twisting of arms, but there was a bit of intimidation, which I ignored. There was hope after the vote that we might negotiate a sixty-day CR, but that hope evaporated within hours after the rule vote when leadership obtained enough Democratic votes to pass the bill. I voted NO on the bill itself as I previously advised the GOP leadership. There was neither malice aforethought nor vengefulness motivating my actions.

A fellow member of Congress said by changing my vote Nancy Pelosi became an afterthought, and politically dead. Then, knowing me as I often refer to DC as the Land of Oz, or use Mark Levin’s Maldorf designation, presented me with an old broom. “What’s this?” I asked. “You killed the wicked witch of the West! Congratulations! Here is her broom, she isn’t flyin anymore!” Does anyone know where that guy is behind the curtain?

Professor Gruber claimed voters are stupid. I strongly disagree. They are often intentionally misinformed by a social and mainstream media and hence become low-information voters. I often said that if I needed to lie to my constituents to keep this job, then I did not want it.

I have often said, too, that the hardest thing to find in Washington, D. C. is the truth. It remains the case today.

However, since I have no real plans to return to Congress and many of you think I am responsible for ushering in the $1.1 Trillion spending bill I did not support nor vote for, so be it. Here is the story as it happened, from my perspective. If you wish to remember me as the crazy reindeer farmer, Santa impersonator, accidental Congressman who is responsible for that terrible bill passed in Congress before Christmas 2014, so be it too. It is amazing what a $6 million campaign in hard and soft money can purchase. I will pray for all of you, especially my country I fought for 30 years trying to protect. God bless you, and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas."

 _________________________________________________________________________
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
:)
Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson

'Twas The Night Before Adjournment...




By Brandon Hall 

(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com)


'Twas the night before adjournment, when all through the People's House, creatures were stirring, they were stirring about...

The votes were whipped ferociously with care, in hopes road funding and other special interest goodies would soon be there!

Michiganders were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of playoff-bound Lions danced in their heads... 

Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long night's nap...When over in Lansing there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter!

Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash... 

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a lame duck legislature with some new taxes to start the new year!

With LG Calley, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Rick! 

More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name! 

"Now Whitmer, Now Meekhof, Now Bolger, and Haveman! On Price, On Warren, On Walker, and Hanson!"

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now vote away! vote away! Vote away ,all!" 

So away their responsibility as legislators flew, with a package full of goodies, and tax increases headed for YOU.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St Rick came with a bound! 

A bundle of Public Acts he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack... 

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread... But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight... "Happy ClusterDuck to all, and to all a good-night!"

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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
:)
Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson


MI GOP Convention Update




 By Brandon Hall 

(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com)


With Bobby Schostak's announcement that he won't seek another term as Chair of the Michigan Republican Party, Ronna Romney-McDaniel wasted no time declaring she is a candidate.

Cries for Tom McMillin and Dave Agema to launch candidacies have popped up also.

McMillin recently said he hoped a strong challenger would run for Chair if Schostak did seek another term, and he has spoken favorably of State Rep. Pete Lund. Lund seems to want the job.

Bobby Schostak
Whether McMillin himself wants it isn't known, but he is definitely gearing up to fight Gov. Snyder's 2015 May Road Tax proposal that voters will decide on.

People rumored to be considering a run like Betsy DeVos, Paul Mitchell, Terri Land, and Terry Bowman seem unlikely to make a move.

What Scott Greenlee, Jeff Sawka, Paul Welday, Ron Weiser, Rob Steele, and other rumored potential candidates might do is not clear at this time.

In addition to normal Michigan politics, the presidential primary politics of 2016 are also at play behind the scenes...

It is interesting to note that Attorney General Schuette said:

"Now the party must come together in a unified fashion to pick our next leader and I will be an active voice in this process. By working together, we can quickly start working on efforts to move our party and state forward."

Other races are beginning to take shape as well.

In the race to replace Blake Edmonds for Youth Chair, Joey Gamrat of Plainwell will face off against Michael Banerian.

Adi Sathi is the only candidate for Coalitions Vice-Chair so far, and he has the support of Victor Diaz, who currently holds the position.
______________________________________________________________________
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
:)
Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson