Friday, August 08, 2014

Primary Recap - Livingston County

Most of these were not a surprise to me. There were a couple of minor surprises with the results.

Most of the contests were on the Republican side. There was one on the democrat side. I was way off here. I don't follow the dems much in the primary because there's enough on my own side to watch.

D - Primary - Most expect Ingham County treasurer Eric Schertzing to win because he's an elected official. That's very possible, but most people can't name their county treasurer. It's a low-key position. The most active candidate I've seen on the campaign trail is Jeffrey Hank. I wouldn't count out Susan Grettenberger however for "identity politics" reasons as this IS a dem primary which worships identity politics. I haven't been following the dem primary that  closely yet. If I had to predict a winner, I'll go with Jeffrey Hank in a mild upset since I've seen more from his campaign than others.

The actual results were:
In Livingston:
Grettenberger - 2522
Schertzing - 1113
Darga - 806
Hank - 675

I thought Hank seemed like the most active candidate in the county. Schertzing won overall due to his support in Ingham County. I wouldn't have been that shocked if Grettenberger won, simply because democrats are obsessed with identity politics. 

In the 8th District, Mike Bishop won rather easily over Tom McMillin. That's not a surprise from what I've seen. He had the support of the NRA (regardless of Natl Assoc of Gun Rights hype, they are AA compared to Major League), Mike Rogers, and the better absentee and ground game including doors. This was mostly across the board. The only places McMillin won were these:

Genoa Twp 10 (Non AV)
Genoa Twp 12 (Non AV, Overall)
Green Oak 4 (AV)
Green Oak 9 (non AV)
Hartland 4 (non AV, overall)
Howell Twp 1 (Non AV, tied AV, overall)
Howell Twp 2 (Non AV, Overall)
Marion Twp 4 (Non AV)
Putnam Twp 1 (Non AV)
Tied in Tyrone Twp 1 Non AV
Tyrone Twp 2 (Non AV, Tied AV, Overall)
Tyrone Twp 3 (Non AV, Overall)
Tyrone Twp 4 (AV, Overall)

Tyrone Township is probably the township that has moved the furthest to the right in the last 20 years. It voted for Debbie Stabenow in 1998 overall. It's now the major base for the Tea Party vote in Livingston County. I don't think there's much Flint influence there anymore. I'm surprised McMillin didn't do as well in Hartland which also a strong tea party area, although to a slightly lesser extent. Howell Twp also has strong tea party pockets, and it showed in the votes. While there are some tea party pockets of strength outside of those areas, they aren't as dominant as there are a very large number of old school conservate Republicans that aren't as loud, but make their presence felt when it is voting time.

There were two primaries for open seats. State Rep. One was the 42nd race that wasn't even close. Lana Theis won in a blowout with 49.80% Rich Perlberg was a distant 2nd with 26.27%, followed by Dale Rogers and Nick Fiani with 13.28% and 11.18%.

I was quite surprised with Nick's results. I thought he would do much better, especially in the Brighton area. I think the Right to Life endorsement of Lana hurt him badly. Rich Perlberg's results are about what I expected, as was Dale Rogers (who had some strength in Green Oak, Hamburg, and Putnam). I thought Lana would win, but not by the margin she won by. Lana won all precincts except the following:

Brighton City 1 (Non AV, Overall) - Rich Perlberg 
Brighton City 2 (Non AV) - Rich Perlberg (Lana won overall)
Brighton City 3 (Non AV, Overall) - Rich Perlberg
Genoa Twp 4 (AV) - Rich Perlberg (Lana won overall)
Green Oak 2 (AV) - Rich Perlberg  (Lana won overall)
Green Oak 7 (AV) - Nick (Lana won overall)
Hamburg 1 (AV) - Rich Perlberg (Lana won overall)

AFP is getting a lot of credit (or blame) and had a lot of mailings out for Lana. I think they were a factor, but a smaller one than other forces. The Livingston County Press and Argus is not the most popular news organization among conservatives. They are a quite liberal paper which endorsed Obama. Rich Perlberg - rightly or wrongly - got the blame for the paper's editorial stance. He also stated he was in his words "pro-choice" and supported an increase in the gas tax. Those comments reinforced the doubts many activists had regarding the newspaper. A large number of Republican voters would not vote for him under any circumstances after that, regardless of the endorsements of Bill Rogers, Carol Griffith, and Maggie Jones. They thought that he was not a republican based on his statements in the candidate forums along with his editorials (oftentimes snarky) in the paper. Was he a democrat? Was he a liberal? Were the paper editorials his true feelings or a needling to get people to read the paper? That was something we didn't know the answer to. That doesn't fly in the townships around Brighton.

This left an open for both fiscal conservatives and social conservatives. Lana Theis was running since last year. She raised a lot of money, knocked on a large number of doors (including rural areas), got the right to life endorsement, had AFP's support, the tea party's support, and a majority of the republican establishment supporting her (with Nick getting his share as well of the latter). The rest liked Nick for the most part, but followed RTL in supporting Lana for various reasons. Nick clicked the $1000 reporting waiver in 2013, which raised doubts about him raising enough money to be competitive.

There's hard feelings about the Right to Life endorsement and how it happened. Nick Fiani is also pro-life. With RTL not supporting him or even mentioning him as pro-life, some thought he was pro-choice which understandably bothered him a great deal. On the same note, RTL didn't want Rich Perlberg to win. That's a big reason why Nick lost to the extent that he did. Dale Rogers didn't like that Rich Perlberg got the MEA endorsement as he was a teacher. He got some support in the Southern tier of the townships. Putnam Township was his best area, and also has a higher number of teachers. I think some of the MEA Republicans (about 1/3 of MEA members) and MEA independents voted for Dale over Perlberg.

Lana had her based united and out to the polls and made what was supposed to be a possibly competitive race turn into a blowout. Timothy Johnson was the unopposed democrat. Speaking of Timothy Johnson, maybe us 42nd district folks can take some of his advice. On his site, he mentions as reasons for running.
1. Tired of being told men rule.
2. Tired of being told white men rule.
3. Tired of being told old white men rule.

That leaves Johnson out. Well, there's one person running who is not an "old white man", that that's Lana Theis.

In the 47th District, it was a close race as expected.
Vaupel -  41.83% - 3917
Day - 36.69% - 3436
Campbell - 17.68% - 1656
Melton - 2.93% - 274
Ring - 0.78% - 73 (Ring dropped out)

Some, especially out of county pundits who do not understand Livingston County, are saying crossover votes from dems to stop made the difference. I think that's absolute horsecrap. There was probably some in Howell City (particularly precinct 2 and to a lesser extent 1), but what won for Vaupel was a strong GOTV operation on the west side of the county. Vaupel got Joe Hune numbers out of Handy Township. He got 50% in Cohoctah, 64% in Conway, 73% in Handy Twp, and 62% in Iosco Twp. It was the Joe Hune method of winning. Vaupel won Howell by 47 votes. He won Handy Township by over 400 votes. These are not unheard of results in Livingston County primaries. The west side votes in a block.

I thought Phil Campbell would have done better than he did. He was hurt by geography and didn't have the campaign spending to keep up with Vaupel or AFP. He ran a good race with will be a formidable candidate in the future. Harold's a nice guy, but didn't have a chance.

Some, in particular outside the county interests tried to paint Vaupel as a RINO. It didn't fly. Some did a fake robocall (and did the same in Ottawa County) that supposedly pushed for crossover voters. That was from an organization that doesn't exist and was trying to hurt Vaupel. It didn't fly. Why? Because these voters, particularly in the west side of the county, know Vaupel, as they know Cindy Denby and Joe Hune. Dr Hank Vaupel is a well known mainstream conservative who is solid on the issues.

That's not to disparage the other candidates. Wendy Day, with the assistance of a large amount of money in mailings and billboards from AFP, ran a strong campaign of her own. Wendy took every precinct (overall combined AV and Day of voting) east of Fisk and Fisher Roads. That's the dividing line between Oceola and Howell Twp. Vaupel took almost every precinct west of that line with the exception of Howell Twp 3(near Wendy's home), Marion Twp 2 (Her home), Marion Twp 4, and Howell City 3 (Phil Campbell won his home precinct). Vaupel took the AV's in Deerfield 2 (lost overall), day of voting in Hartland 5 (lost overall), and day of voting in Oceola 1.

Wendy's best area was Tyrone Township. That's the tea party stronghold, which gave her 52%. She also won Hartland (47%), Oceola (45%), and Deerfield Townships (44%). This was a geography race where the west side beat the northeast side of the county. Vaupel now faces Jordan Genso.

In the county commission primaries, I was almost completely caught offguard by the Steve Williams vs Steven Hart race. I didn't see a lot from Hart, but he almost won. He only won three precincts, but that was enough to make this a 53 vote race. I wasn't caught off guard by the Doug Helzerman vs Ron Van Houten race. Helzerman is an elected official from the Fowlerville area. This was a geographic based race. Helzerman won north of Mason Rd. Van Houten won south of Mason Rd. Iosco Twp saved Van Houten. He won by 24 votes overall, and won Iosco by 124.

Onward to the general election. We can keep Livingston County moving in the right direction, or we can let it turn into Wayne County and Ficanoland by electing democrats. The latter is unacceptable.

Friday, August 01, 2014

I thought attorneys were supposed to be able to read.

This got forwarded to me. Shari Pollesch, Joe Hune's opponent sent this out.

Dear Supporter,
So, according to today's Livingston County Press & Argus, Senator Hune believes that the report about my fundraising success is going to cause funds to pour into his campaign from grassroots supporters. And, if you review the comments on line, Dan Wholihan, Chair for the Livingston County Republicans is predicting that Senator Hune will beat me in November "75-25%".  That is not what I am hearing at the doors and that is not what our grassroots fundraising so far has suggested. 
This was my quote.  

Shari Pollesch is raising money, but it's not the be-all and end-all of a campaign. Garry Post actually outraised Cindy Denby by 10K in 2010, but was demolished 67-29%. Joe is the type of person who doesn't take a race for granted. If he thinks it won't be a 75-25 win, he'll be working hard in the campaign as he already is.  

How the Hell do you get a 75-25 prediction out of my state? What makes Joe Hune a strong candidate is that his opponents never outwork him. If Shari works hard, Joe's going to work harder. That's how he is. He's already working on his campaign (and for Vaupel's at the same time). 

If Shari's lying about what I said in the comment section which is public, what else is she lying about?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Primary thoughts - Campaigns and Prop 1

There's an old saying. Don't shit where you live. I'm seeing a bit of Oakland County type of politics creeping into my county. Sign wars and 9AM Sunday illegal robocalls from organizations that do not even exist.That's not good for the future here in LC. Leave the a-hole behaviors to the "Communications Guru" types.

Of the major primaries here:

I'm speaking here as an analyst and I'm not making endorsements here. I'm also not speaking for LCGOP here.

R - Primary - I think Mike Bishop's going to take this. The NRA endorsement is THE big one in this county. Bishop was the only one to get it. Bishop has the more active campaign and ground game from what I've seen as well. He has the Mike Rogers endorsement and that is still a popular endorsement in this district outside of some of the libertarian factions. Tom McMillin is very popular with the libertarian factions, but will that carry him to victory? I wish both sides would quit using those gosh damn robocalls. I have those things and think they cost votes. NRA and Mike Rogers support carries the day.

D - Primary - Most expect Ingham County treasurer Eric Schertzing to win because he's an elected official. That's very possible, but most people can't name their county treasurer. It's a low-key position. The most active candidate I've seen on the campaign trail is Jeffrey Hank. I wouldn't count out Susan Grettenberger however for "identity politics" reasons as this IS a dem primary which worships identity politics. I haven't been following the dem primary that  closely yet. If I had to predict a winner, I'll go with Jeffrey Hank in a mild upset since I've seen more from his campaign than others.

State Rep:
HD-42 - There were some bitter undercurrents in this primary from the start. While one of the reasons is a poorly kept secret, I'm not going to get into all of that on the blog, especially in my position. Everyone is accountable for their record. The record includes experience, statements, editorials, political office, party office, and ideology.

For awhile there was three people running. Lana Theis, Nick Fiani, and Dale Rogers. There were rumors of a 4th at some point and it ended up being former Argus editor Rich Perlberg. Perlberg's paper endorsed Obama and Kerry. I don't know if that was Rich, Gannett, or someone else. Whatever the case, it's going to have major ramifications. Rich had some of his own editorials as well, some rather snarky, that are coming back to haunt him. Jennifer Hensley searched the Argus archives and found some of his greatest hits. Great Lakes Education Project's PAC pounced on those and fired off two mailings against Rich (so far)

The records from the newspaper made the candidate forums critical for Rich because of doubts about him surrounding the paper's left of center slant. Two issues I think are going to kill him politically. One is the gas tax. It's not popular at all here. The other which isn't mentioned as often, but is even bigger, is abortion. A lot of the establishment vote is going to Lana, not Rich. One of the biggest reasons is life. Rich supports abortion rights. Lana and Nick are pro-life. That issue is a litmus test for a large number of people. It also is an issue that becomes personal quickly. Certain issues with a lot of people don't have room for disagreement. That's probably the 2nd biggest in this county, with the 2nd Amendment being the biggest.

A lot of base voters were who considering between Lana and Nick (Dale has his own base, largely teachers) are now looking to stop Rich because of the combination of the paper's stances, gas taxes, and especially abortion. The comments on taxes and abortion reinforced the fears base voters had from the paper. This turned the primary for a lot of base voters into stopping Rich supporting who they think is the best chance to do so. Some voters on the fence got off the fence due to ideology.
Rich does have a few big endorsements. Bill Rogers, Carol Griffith, and Maggie Jones are the most notable.

Nick Fiani also has some significant GOP support and I can't count him out. He did made one major critical error that I think is making things extremely difficult. In 2013 when he filed, he clicked the $1000 reporting waiver. That tells potential donors that he's not going spend much on his race, and therefore they didn't take him seriously. A piece of advice to all candidates is this. Don't click the waiver unless you almost know for a fact that you plan to stay under it. It's not bad for a small office, but for a larger office, it closes doors that otherwise would be open. I think the $1000 waiver may have cost him a chance at Right to Life's endorsement even though he's pro-life. Nick didn't spend a lot of money on his campaign, but probably had the most free media of all the candidates from his battles on the school board. He's done a good job there with Greg Gray and John Conely. Brighton Schools almost got an emergency manager. Without Nick and John, they might have gotten one. Nick eventually took off the waiver wire. I think he'll do much better than most candidates who raise under 5K for their campaign, but that's a big hurdle to overcome when there is an 80K candidate (plus AFP) in the race. I can't count out Nick after he upset Ken Stahl in the school board election. Most people didn't expect that.

I expect the Right to Life vote to carry the day for Lana, along with those who don't like the paper. It's still a competitive race however.

For all the ideology hype here, I think this race will come down to tone and geography. There are four candidates (and Ted Ring who dropped out), all of whom are conservative. Their styles and background are all different. Dr. Hank Vaupel, Wendy Day, Phil Campbell, and Harold Melton.

The tea party vote is split some, although I think Wendy Day has the majority of tea party vote. Some of it is going to Phil Campbell, Harold Melton, and Doc Vaupel as well. Most of the "establishment" is going to Doc Vaupel, although some of it is going to Phil Campbell and Wendy Day as well. Joe Hune and Cindy Denby are both supporting Vaupel.

Most of the candidates however have their own base of people. I think the west side is going to vote for Vaupel heavily. I think Howell is mostly going for Campbell, but with some significant Vaupel and Wendy Day support. Melton will take some Howell Township votes. Hartland and Tyrone are tougher to call. They are the most heavily tea party areas of the county. That would be Wendy's advantage. Vaupel raised the most money, but Wendy has AFP. Phil Campbell has strong organizational skills and defeated an incumbent to be mayor of Howell so he's not to be counted out. If I had to call this, I think Doc has a very slight edge, although it's anyone's game.  Full disclosure. I'm biased and have a contract with Vaupel.

County Commissioner:
I don't see Steve Williams losing his primary. The Doug Helzerman v Ron Van Houten race will be close. Both of them are elected officials. I think turnout will determine that, and possibly geography as well. Helzerman is from Fowlerville and Van Houten is from Iosco Twp.

Prop 1. I'm a having a tough time with my decision here.It will probably be a last minute decision. If I had to vote today, I'd be a very reluctant yes. I do think whoever drafted this should be fired. While I support repeal of the personal property tax, I do not support earmarking more money from the general budget. The authority apparently has existed since the 70's, so it's already there. I think.

The amendatory act adopted by the Legislature would:
1. Reduce the state use tax and replace with a local community stabilization share of the tax for the purpose of modernizing the tax system to help small businesses grow and create jobs in Michigan.
2. Require Local Community Stabilization Authority to provide revenue to local governments dedicated for local purposes, including police safety, fire protection, and ambulance emergency services.
3. Increase portion of state use tax dedicated for aid to local school districts.
4. Prohibit Authority from increasing taxes.
5. Prohibit total use tax rate from exceeding existing constitutional 6% limitation.
Should this law be approved?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Those "Draft Dr Ben Carson emails?" Don't waste money donating to them.

Found this on yahoo news:

A super PAC that aims to persuade famed neurosurgeon and conservative political activist Dr. Ben Carson to run for president has raised more than $7.2 million since its formation last year, according to documents the group filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.
While much of the funds spent by the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee have been used to build a contact list, for direct-mail fundraising and to buy ad space, there’s one expense that stands out: book purchases.
Over the course of 2014, the group spent about $150,000 buying two of Carson’s most recent books, "America the Beautiful" and "One Nation," which it offers to supporters as gifts to encourage donations, committee co-founder Vernon Robinson told Yahoo News.
Between February and April, the committee paid $105,761.78 to HarperCollins, the publisher of Carson’s 2013 book "America the Beautiful." In May and June, the group spent another $44,453.35 on Carson’s more recently published book at Joseph Fox Bookshop in Philadelphia, FEC documents show.
While the group’s purchases only account for a fraction of Carson’s total book sales, each book has spent several weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. ("America the Beautiful" landed there in 2013, long before the group was formed.) Carson’s latest book, "One Nation." topped the best-seller list in June and nearly outsold former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s memoir, "Hard Choices," multiple news outlets reported last week. Publishers and advocacy organizations have used bulk purchases to boost the standing of books on best-seller lists in the past.
Carson, a retired doctor known for his work in pediatric neuroscience at Johns Hopkins Hospital, skyrocketed to prominence in conservative political circles in February 2013 after he delivered a diatribe against President Obama’s health insurance law during a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast while the president sat just a few feet away. Carson’s address was followed by a bombardment of requests for him to speak at conservative conferences and a chorus of activists urging him to run for president. In August 2013, Robinson and John Philip Sousa IV — the great-grandson of the "Stars and Stripes Forever” composer — launched the super PAC urging him to run.

Here some of the problems. 

1. There is NO indication that Dr Carson is going to run for president. This money is raised for a "might" not a "will." 
2. This is a Superpac. Superpacs are not allowed to coordinate with candidates. They can only run independent expenditures. 
3.  According to the FEC, this Superpac spent 6 million of that 7 million that was raised. What the hell are these guys doing? If these guys want to draft Carson, they better run ads for him if he does run (which I doubt). At the last filing (April), there was less than a million in the bank.

At best, this is a bad use of political funds. At worst, it's a scam. This reminds me of these national "Tea Party" or "conservative" groups that don't do a thing to help candidates outside of run their mouths or hold a press conference.  They raise money to pay their consultants....themselves.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Road taxes shows differences in 42nd District race

The Argus has a story about the roads, gas taxes and the candidates for the 42nd District here in Livingston County.

Not surprisingly, I highly disagree with one of them regarding the gas tax. There's been a militant push among many in the media and political class supporting the gas tax going back to 2007. It has taken seven years and luckily it still had not increased over the 36-40 cents it is currently (depending on price at the pump).

Perlberg said the state must address two decades of neglect of Michigan’s roads.
Lawmakers continue to seek another $1.2 billion in annual road funding.
“I would achieve that with a combination of increased gas taxes and vehicle registration fees. That could be tempered in the future if we have sustained economic growth, which will produce additional dollars into our general fund,” he said at the recent forum.

I'll give Rich Perlberg credit for being out and open about his support for this. It's certainly not going to be a popular answer. Considering we have the 6th highest gas tax in the country, it shouldn't be a popular answer.

Lana Theis had this.

Brighton Township Treasurer Lana Theis, also a GOP contender for the House seat, said capturing 25 percent of annual state budget increases could fill the funding gap.Theis said her idea would have captured a total of roughly $1 billion between the 2010 and 2014 budget years.

“The problem is not that we’re not taking enough money. It’s that we’re not spending the money in the right place,” Theis said at the Daily Press & Argus candidate forum.“Until they prove to me that they’re spending all of the money that we take at the pump on the roads, I don’t even want to discuss a tax increase,” Theis added.

Nick Fiani had this

Nick Fiani, president of the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education and a GOP House candidate, said the state should strictly dedicate gas taxes, the state’s sales tax on gas, and vehicle registration fees to roads.
Dedicating the sales tax on gasoline to roads would involve voter approval because it would require a constitutional amendment. Without increasing the sales tax, it also would mean schools and local governments would lose funding they currently rely on.
Fiani said road funding could also receive a boost through repealing Michigan’s prevailing-wage law on public construction projects and through more competitive bidding on projects.
He said his overall plan would create between $750 million and nearly $1 billion each year in extra road funding.
“There is absolutely no need to raise taxes to fix Michigan roads. If the state and the government would utilize the proper and appropriate streams of revenue toward the appropriate expenditures, a solution could be (found),” he said.

Dale Rogers had this

GOP House candidate Dale Rogers, a Novi High School vocational teacher, called for a bipartisan commission to review state spending.
Rogers said a starting point could be axing tax-incentive programs.
For the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, the state’s economic development incentives will be funded at $130 million, and the state’s filmmaking incentives at $50 million, according to state figures.
If the appropriated $180 million in incentives went to roads, that would still be $1.02 billion short of Snyder’s figure.
Most of the business incentives are scheduled to expire, but with program dollars intended to fill a revenue gap created by ending the personal-property tax on business equipment.
Rogers said the panel also could consider slashing a portion of state Department of Corrections funding, set at $2.04 billion for 2015.

I also saw this quote which tells me many of the same problems at the heart of every budget issue is still around.  

But only about $10 billion of next year’s $52 billion budget is state money. The remaining $42 billion is federal money, none of which can be redirected for other uses, explained David Murray, Snyder’s deputy press secretary.Murray said state general fund revenue increased about $1.1 billion from 2012 to next year’s budget, however.

I have a hard time believing that the $42 billion is federal money. He's confusing "state money" with earmarked money.  Some money is earmarked due to federal strings attached (matching funds, etc) and some is due to the State Constitution provision. It would take an amendment to change some of those. It's also something that needs to be looked at. If 82% of the budget can't be touched, than the legislature and governor has a real hard time doing its job properly. Until more than 8-10 billion can be adjusted, we'll always have budgetary problems in this state.  It's a structural issue that goes back to before Engler. Open up the whole damn thing and fix it. Don't give us another tax.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Primary Updates - August 2014

I finally have some time to update some things here. Unfortunately, the blog has become down the list of priorities with everything else going on.

In Livingston County, we have up to five different primary contests depending on where you live.

8th District Congress - Mike Bishop vs Tom McMillin. This race has gone negative and I've gotten my share of mailings. This seat leans Republican, but it's not a safe district with Mike Rogers retiring. The dems have a four way primary of their own, so there's contests on both sides.

State Rep: - There are primaries in the 42nd and 47th district. In the 42nd, there's Brighton School Board President Nick Fiani, Former Livingston County Press and Argus General Manager Rich Perlberg, Novi Teacher Dale Rogers, and Brighton Township Treasurer and past LCGOP Chair Lana Theis. There's been a lot of "Friends of the Program" stuff going on in this race, although not from the candidates themselves.

In the 47th District, there's Howell Mayor Phil Campbell, former Howell School Board trustee Wendy Day, retired construction worker Harold Melton, and Handy Twp Supervisor Dr Hank Vaupel, . Ted Ring dropped out of the race but his name is on the ballot. I expect this race to be extremely close, maybe even 2002 close.

Both of these districts are tough to read. It depends who turns out the vote and who stays home.

For County Commissioner, two incumbents have primaries. Steve Williams is challenged by Steven Hart. I'm not as familiar with Pinckney area local politics as I am other parts of the county, but I don't think Williams has a lot of worries here. I've seen a lot more from Williams. Ron Van Houten is facing Fowlerville Village Councilman Doug Helzermann. Both candidates have been active this campaign trail. This could be a geographic matchup. I don't bet against Van Houten. He's been through battles before.

Those are four primary contests. What's the fifth contest? Precinct Delegate.
334 candidates have filed. Historically (at least in Livingston County), there's been few contests for those positions. That has since changed. Part of this is due to the Lt Government battle between Brian Calley and Hartland Township's own Wes Nakagiri. Precinct delegates elect delegates to state convention. State delegates pick the nominees of (among others) Lt Governor. There's more in state there as well as precinct delegates vote for 1/2 of the County GOP executive committee (which chooses officers) and state delegates next year pick district and state party leadership.

It's an active primary, despite the high profile races uncontested.

There's also several ballot questions in the county.

Prop 1 - Personal Property Tax repeal, use tax earmarked. - I'm undecided on this one. I think the PPT needs to be repealed, but this ballot language is confusing. There's broad support for this from local governments, chambers of commerce, Senator Joe Hune, and others across the spectrum. If I voted today, I'd be a reluctant yes vote, but I still need to see more.

Fowlerville Schools - Millage renewal, non residential (18 mills).

Hamburg Library - New Millage (replacing expired one) 0.80 Mills

Green Oak Fire - Millage Renewal - 1.77 mills

Green Oak Police - Millage Renewal - 2.38 mills

Pinckney Library - Millage - 1.4562 mills (.9562 renewal, 0.5 new)

Howell Twp Roads - Millage renewal - .9496 Mills

Putnam Twp Fire - Millage renewal - 1.192 Mills

Cohoctah Roads - Millage renewal - 1.5 Mills

Village of Fowlerville Mosquito Control - Millage Renewal - .469 Mills

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What happened in Virginia? (Eric Cantor loses)

I haven't followed a lot of national election races this year. There's been too much stuff locally that takes up my time. I knew longtime incumbent Eric Cantor had an opponent, but I didn't think much about it. If I thought an incumbent would have gone down in flames, my money would have been on Lindsay Graham.

It was Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader and  a suburban Richmond area congressman. He lost to a guy named David Brat. A lot of people are giving opinions about the reasons for that and a lot of people are taking credit. I'm not a Virginia elections expert. I do know the obvious. Cantor ticked off his district, and Brat was viewed as an acceptable alternative. David Brat is an Economics Professor at Randolph Macon College. He's a Michigan native and went to Hope College. He has a doctorate from American University. That's all that's really known about him.

These are the facts here about the primaries.

There were three congressional primaries there. Two of them had incumbents, and one was an open seat.

VA-01- Rob Wittman won his primary 76-24 in a low turnout race. This district was next to Cantor's and had around 1/4 of the votes in the primary. Cantor's district is more Republican, but both districts are Republican leaning districts. There was 17500 votes there.

VA-08 - The democrats had an open seat in Jim Moran's district. That primary had almost 39000 votes. That is a base democrat district covering Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, and part of Fairfax County.

In Cantor's VA-07 district, there were 65000 votes. Turnout was high. Cantor lost by 7300 votes in a 56-44 defeat.

Geographicaly, Cantor won four municipalities.
Culpeper County - 2900 votes, 50-49 -  Rural, northern part of the district
Orange County - 2000 votes, 61-39 - Rural, northern part of the district
Spotsylvania County - 3600 votes, 54-46 - Rural, northern part of the district
Richmond (his home) - 3100 votes, 54-46 - The big city.

The rest went to Brat.
Chesterfield County  - 13000 votes - 55-45 Brat, Richmond suburbs
Goochland County - 2700 votes - 54-56. Rural, west of Richmond.
Hanover County - 13000 votes - 68-32. Rural/suburban transition area north of Richmond
Henrico County - 20000 votes - 53-47. Suburban Richmond
Louisa County - 2400 votes - 56-44. Rural. Northwest of Richmond
New Kent County - 2000 votes - 63-37. Rural. East of Richmond

In short, Cantor won his home, and three rural counties furthest away from the district closer to the DC area. He was clobbered in suburbia and the rural areas closer to Richmond.

That's the facts, the rest is conjecture. 

Was this due to amnesty as many pundits say? Maybe, maybe not. Lindsay Graham won without a runoff (7 way race), unfortunately. I was hoping McCain's mini-me would at least be tossed to a runoff. Was this tea party? McConnell beat Matt Bevin in Kentucky. Most of the tea party put their forces in Bevin's race and Chris McDaniel's in Mississippi. (two very flawed challengers against beatable incumbents).

One difference I see between Bevin/McDaniel and Brat is candidate quality. Bevin lost 60-35 in the primary to McConnell in what was supposed to be a close race. Bevin made a fatal error when he made a cockfighting and dogfighting speech. I can see the Michael Vick/Bevin morphing ad already if he won the primary. Or a postcard with a picture of those two next to a Golden Retriever. McConnell isn't my favorite, but needed to win that one. Some of McDaniel's top supporters (who need a major league ass kicking and I don't mean just a political one) may cost him the race against the democrat if he wins the primary. I'd be reluctantly voting Cochrane if I lived in Mississippi. Those wouldn't be ideology votes since I'm closer to the challengers on ideology there than I am the incumbents. In the case of Brat, I haven't heard his name in the news or on political websites until yesterday. That's not always a bad thing considering I'm up in Livingston County, Michigan and not Hanover County, Virginia. I didn't hear about Brat making cockfighting comments. I didn't hear about Brat's supporters sneaking into a nursing home to take pictures of the opposing candidate's wife. Brat ran on political record as best as I can tell.

Brat's quotes. From Politico

“I think it was just kind of a perfect combination of when I was walking door-to-door, you just go up to the door and talk to the average person and everybody is in agreement that the country’s on the wrong track, right?” he said, before appearing on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program.
“You just walk up to the door and say, ‘How are you doing?’ and everyone knows we’re on the wrong track. The problem with modern politics is everybody is doing sound bite stuff. In my stump speech, I give 20 minutes on why I think we’re off track. And I think people do really want to engage in a serious high-level discussion on how to get the country back on track because people care about their own country.”

I liked Brat's comments here from the same article.

When Brat began to walk away from the interview, he quickly turned around and stopped. He said he had just spoken to Sean Hannity on the telephone, and said he wished the press would stop labeling his victory as the conservative right toppling the establishment.
“I do want to add that the press – and I’ve heard there’s already some senior Democratic officials trying to spin this as a matter of right or left – and I just reject those categories. I’m running on free markets, constitutional principles. I don’t think free markets are either right or left. I don’t think the rule of law is either right or left. So through the duration of the last six months the press has been trying to pigeonhole me. Some people call me a liberal professor, other people call me a tea party candidate.”
When asked if he is a tea partier, Brat said, “I just say what I say — I’m running on the Republican principles, the creed. I’ve given stump speech after stump speech on those six principles that I believe in and I have huge grassroots and tea party support, and I owe those people the election. I owe Republicans, tea party, grassroots — they all came together and helped me win tonight. Utter thanks, but the press is trying to do this sound bite stuff and put you in a little hole, and peg you in one way or the other.
“I do just want to emphasize I’m running on ideas and principles. It’s for real. And so the press ignored me last time when I said that. Everyone’s acting like it’s a mystery how I won. I think the American people actually like principles and ideals. That’s what I said for six months and no one paid any attention. And so now that I won, it’s a shocker, I think it’s for real, based on those themes: principles and ideas matter.”

This">caught my attention.

Brat also got a bit lucky. At the same time he was emerging, Cantor and his political team were angering conservatives by trying to tighten their grip on the Virginia Republican Party. Cantor tried to boost Linwood Cobb, his close ally, for a local Republican Party chairmanship, and failed. It was a loss that most of his aides brushed aside, but caused real ire among tea partiers.
That widespread discontent became evident Tuesday evening. Cantor lost six of the 10 counties in his district, including Henrico County, his longtime political base

If you burn bridges, and those you burn know what they are doing (or know people who know what they are doing), bad thing can happen to you.

This is from a local Hanover County activist who wanted Cantor fired. It's titled the Top 10 reasons Cantor lost.

I'm beginning to see a picture of what I think happened. Normal insurgent challenges don't win, until enough people get pissed off, and enough people who know a bit about campaigns get pissed off.

From that Top 10 list:
10 – LOST TOUCH: There has been significant discontent in the district for years with Eric Cantor. He earned a reputation as someone who cared more about Fortune 500 companies than he did voters in his own district and he proved it by spending all his time with them and no time with the people in his district. It was baffling to many of us. When the tea party first sprung up people were angry with Cantor. I had known Cantor and Ray Allen for years and thought it was just a misunderstanding. Surely this could be resolved by opening the lines of communication and just having a meeting together for Cantor to hear our complaints so we could work together. I still remember the private meeting I had with his consultant, Ray Allen, five years ago when he told me, “Eric Cantor will never hold a town hall meeting. Over my dead body! You hear me?” Fatal mistake.
Consultants (and I am one) are often in a bubble. Mike Rogers was not a tea party favorite, but he's shown up and engaged and made his case to them. I've seen his people at a lot of tea party events as well as regular Republican events.

Numbers 2 and 8 really I think were the biggest.

2 – STRONG CANDIDATE: The conservatives and tea party put up a strong candidate. A lesson should be learned here by others. Brat has an impressive resume with his PhD in economics, his seminary degree from Princeton, and his work in ethics reform and education policy. He was an intelligent and articulate candidate that brought credibility to the movement. Brat ran a positive and upbeat campaign that solely was focused on the Republican Creed. Cantor refused to engage Brat or even participate in debates with Brat. Fatal mistake.

How often do I mention candidate quality?  This David Brat guy doesn't sound like a Christine O'Donnell, Matt Bevin, some of Chris McDaniel's top backers, or Sharron Angle.

8 – UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES: Eric Cantor and his consultant, Ray Allen, wanted to control the Republican Party of Virginia and he was willing to use any means necessary to accomplish his goal, including slating tea party and conservatives out of the political process. He created such outrage that we removed Cantor’s 7th district chairman, Linwood Cobb, at the convention last month. We left the convention with 700 delegates that energetically and enthusiastically worked the doors and phones for Brat. It is really not smart to make enemies of your friends, and especially when you are in a primary. Fatal mistake.

And THAT I think was the big key. One of the old sayings is "If you're going to kill the king, you better succeed." That doesn't mean wound for one battle. When convention battles are takeover battles, you're going have some nasty fights and they last a long time. Activists in general hate coronations. They also have more political knowledge than the average activist.  A lot of them don't have fear of "big names". "So what, you work for us" is the general attitude.

From Politico in April
RICHMOND, Va. — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is a rising star in national politics, but here at home, he’s at the center of a battle with fellow Republicans.
His allies are maneuvering to pack leadership slots at the Republican Party of Virginia with like-minded figures — a move they hope will bring stability to a party with little money and lots of infighting.

That’s infuriated some local conservatives, who feel they are being squeezed out of positions of power and aren’t going down without a fight. They are rallying behind insurgent primary challenger Dave Brat, an economics professor with just $40,000 in the bank — compared to Cantor’s $2 million.
While Brat has little chance of upsetting Cantor in the June 10 primary, the campaign and its supporters are making life a little tougher for Cantor, who will almost certainly become the next speaker of the House.

Those don't impact the numbers, but they impact organization and lot of them know what they are doing. If they all went to help David Brat, that can have a big impact, especially if they have good voter lists and contact information. 
I don't think this was all ideological.  Graham survived. McConnell survived. I think ideology was part of it, but more of it was inside baseball stuff that came back to bite him This election is a lesson. It's a lesson to every pol and party official out there. Be careful who you piss off.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Democrat run Detroit drops under 700,000 (was once nearly 2 million)

Detroit is the end result of democrat run societies. There's 50+ years of  "progressive" democrat rule (with one moderate in Dave Bing) from Jerome P. Cavanagh to Ed McNamara protege Mike Duggan. Notice that the riots started under Cavanagh's watch. White democrats FUBARed the city as much as anyone else, despite their denials. (

From the Detroit News:

Detroit— The 60-year exodus from Detroit is continuing but may be slowing, as the city’s population has fallen under 700,000 residents, according to estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The government pegs the city’s population at 688,701 as of summer 2013, down nearly 10,000 residents from 2012. The rate of decline, though, has slowed to an average of 7,500 per year since 2010 compared with 24,000 per year in the 2000s.
Suburban counties — Oakland, Macomb and Livingston — gained about 1 percent in population, while Wayne County lost about 1 percent, the records show. Its decline is fueled largely by Detroit, which had 1.9 million residents in 1950 and is now smaller than it was at any point since before 1920.

I don't consider Livingston (or Lapeer, St Clair, or Monroe) a suburban Detroit county (which I limit to Tri-County), but that's another discussion.

The census data don’t indicate where Detroit residents are going, but show that some outer suburbs are booming six years after the real-estate meltdown.
“Sprawl is back,” said Kurt Metzger, director emeritus of Data Driven Detroit who reviewed the numbers.

For all the talk about "back to the city," it just doesn't happen with most people. People live in an area for jobs, schools, crime, and costs. Detroit CAN come back if the voters there choose to have it come back. If they continue to support democrats and the same people who screwed up the city, it will not come back. If Detroit refugees vote for the same types of people that fubared Detroit, which I see happening in parts of Oakland County, then it will travel down the same road in Detroit. It's not geography or race that causes these problems. It's bad public officials that run these municipalities into the ground, along with the voters who put them there.

Here in Livingston County, it's our responsibility not to go down the road that Detroit has gone, and that some other communities are following.

Bigmouths vs action

While I don't think this issue should have been a court case or a ticket in the first place, this is not going to do anything to help.

From the Argus.

Libertarian candidate James Weeks II is organizing a rally to protest a Brighton teenager getting ticketed and fined for swearing in downtown Brighton.
Weeks, who is running for the 8th Congressional District, is calling his event the “This is f------ bulls---” rally.
The rally will be held noon to 3 p.m. on May 31 next to the Imagination Station playground, where the Colin Andersen was ticketed.

This is a cheap publicity stunt for a political candidate who got 3.7% in his race for state rep in 2012 against Cindy Denby. He's now running for Congress, and I expect similar results.

I titled this "Bigmouths vs Action" for a reason. This rally isn't about free speech, nor about Colin Andersen. It's about James Weeks II getting in the papers. Weeks is taking the bigmouth route. Bullshit is one of my favorite words in the English language, especially when it comes to politics. It certainly applies here. Livingston County isn't a friendly county for protests in most cases. Calling a rally a f'ing bullshit rally while apt, isn't going to get a lot of support for either his campaign, nor do much for the legitimate cause of free speech. This will do nothing to help Colin Andersen, and may in fact hurt him.

Again, Andersen should not have gotten a ticket. He shouldn't have swore in that situation, but shouldn't have gotten a ticket for it. It shouldn't have been a legal matter.

If Lewis wants to really made a stand for free speech, he should raise money and offer to pay for Andersen's appeals, should he decide to go that route. That would be effective, teach the police a lesson, won't alienate the public, and make an impact for free speech and overzealous police powers.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Brighton police tickets 19yr old who swears in front of him

"John Spartan, you are fined one credit for violation of the verbal morality statute"

Brighton makes the national news again over language. Keep in mind that Brighton has the law where it's illegal to be annoying. It's even in Time magazine. .  I don't consider Brighton a suburb, but that's another debate.
This was in today's Argus:

Swear in downtown Brighton near the Imagination Station playground, and there’s a good chance you’ll be getting a ticket.
Colin Andersen learned this lesson the hard way.
Upset that his friend had been ticketed for skateboarding in downtown Brighton and told to leave, Andersen said he was simply venting when he said, “This is f------ bull----.”
The 19-year-old Brighton resident was hanging out with his friends on a sunny April day in a parking lot next to the pavilion and Imagination Station; Andersen said he swore under his breath and no children heard him.
However, a Brighton Police Department officer heard him and issued him a ticket for disorderly conduct.
“What got me to start arguing a little bit, they were asking all of us to leave because he got a ticket,” Andersen said. “That’s not fair. We’re just standing around.”
Brighton Police Chief Tom Wightman said it’s OK for teenagers to hang out downtown, and the city doesn’t have a law prohibiting certain words.
“That’s fine if they want to behave and use the facility like anybody else,” Wightman said. “It’s when they misbehave (that) it becomes an issue. We’re going to be watching.”
Wightman said the playground is popular, especially with families and young children. Sometimes, police are called due to teenagers or young adults acting disorderly.
“That’s what gets on our radar, their behavior,” he said.
Wightman said teenagers hanging out downtown is an “ongoing issue.”

I'm not going to defend the actions themselves. I swear a bit, and in politics use the word bullshit all the time on this blog. It's a great word because it describes so much of what's out there that just can't be covered by other words with the same meaning. I tend to avoid that word in front of it here and don't "F'ing swear" in front of women and children. Time, place, and manner. I also don't use it in professional settings. I wouldn't have used it if I am in a similar situation as Andersen here, today. I'm also 35 years old instead of 19. At 19, I probably would have gotten the ticket and would have said the same thing. I never was (and still am not) that respectful of authority. That's why I'm not a democrat.

Besides, use your 5th Amendment rights and don't talk to the Police!

There's also a difference between disapproving of a behavior and using government sanctions against the behavior.

Andersen said this was the first ticket he’s ever received; he said he doesn’t even have a speeding ticket.
Andersen fought the ticket but lost when he went before a Livingston County District Court magistrate to present his side of what happened. He was fined $200.
Andersen said he doesn’t think it was right to issue him a ticket without a warning. If he had been warned, he would have listened to the officer.
“I would have respected his authority,” he said.
At the hearing, Andersen said the police testified they had given him a warning, something he denies happened.

The infamous informal hearing. The judge/magistrate hears what the cop says and hears what you say. He knows the cops well because he always sees him in court at informal hearings. He likely believes the cop's version. He may or may not believe you. As soon as he said that he swore under his breath, he lost. Informal hearings are like the Judge Joe Brown show (arbitration), not an actual trial. This is a civil infraction with broader rules as well that are not in a defendant's favor. The cops says he gave a warning. I don't know if that's true. It wouldn't be the first time a cop lied in court. Maybe he lied. Maybe he didn't. I wasn't there. Cops tend to have zero patience with a friend of someone ticketed, arrested, or detained.

Before I got my State Bar Association Pnumber, I got a car accident ticket when I was rear-ended. It was for "unable to stop with assured clear distance." I lost in an informal hearing after the East Lansing PD lied in court. Judge David Jordon, now retired (thank God) sided with the cop. I would have argued it much differently today than I did then. Again, that was before I got the P number. First off, I'd always take the formal hearing and deal with attorneys, not the informal hearing with only cops and a district judge or magistrate.

What I don't know is what the exact ordinance Andersen was accused of violating. He might have been screwed just for getting the cop's attention in a "parking lot". There's two "Disorderly Conduct" ordinances listed on the City of Brighton's website. One has to do with parking lots.

Sec. 54-104. Disorderly conduct at parking lots.

(a)  Purpose. Because the city council is convinced of the ever present danger to the safety of persons using the public parking lots located in the city, it is the objective of the city to prevent injuries to persons using the public parking lots. Accordingly, in order to avoid accidents resulting in personal injuries and property damage, and thereby protect the health, safety and welfare of all individuals using the public parking lots, the council wishes to prohibit the use of public parking lots situated in the city for any purpose other than for the parking of motor vehicles and for purposes incident thereto and for the purpose of serving pedestrian traffic to and from points outside of said parking lots. This section is not intended to limit the intent or the effect of this article.
(b)  Conduct prohibited. No person shall:
(1)  Conduct himself in any parking lot so as to create a hazard to himself or others who are using the public parking lot.
(2)  Use such parking lot for any purpose other than the parking of a motor vehicle, or the movement of such motor vehicle incident thereto, or travelling to and from such motor vehicle, or traversing such parking lot on foot or bicycle from and to points outside of said parking lot.
(c)  Any person found to violate this section shall be guilty of a civil infraction and shall be punished by a fine(s) as set forth in section 1-16(b).
(Code 1981, § 121.3; Ord. No. 482, § I, 7-17-03)

If this was a swearing charge, it'd likely get tossed out after the infamous Rifle River case which was unconstitutionally vague. This might be argued on those grounds, but this is a little different of an ordinance. However, it looks like Andersen got the ticket because he said that the cop's ticket to his friend was "F'ing bullshit".  He said that and the chief of police didn't disagree with that leading to the ticket.There is a lot that could be tossed out in court. It's not fought because a lot of these are civil infractions or smaller misdemeanors.  It costs less money to not fight these than it does to get an attorney and fight these in a formal hearing. It's less headache. No time has to be taken off from work by paying the fines. There's no attorney fees which will be much more than $200.

I don't like catch all ordinances (ie....the annoy law, even disorderly conduct) and they should often be fought on vagueness grounds among others. Law should be specific, clear, and easy to understand. 

He shouldn't have sworn at the cop, even if the ticket to his friend is "F'ing bullshit." He's not going to help his friend that way and he got the cop's attention. There may have been women and kids that heard that. At 19, he's supposed to be an adult. Should that have deserved a disorderly conduct for that? I don't think so. I don't the road that goes down. Not everything should be a legal matter.

Monday, May 05, 2014

May 6th - Elections in parts of Livingston County, Precinct Delegate Filing Deadline

There are some elections tomorrow in Livingston County
Hartland Schools - Millage Renewal
Pinckney Schools - .30 Recreational and Playground Millage
Fenton Schools - $11 Million dollar bond
Stockbridge Schools - $18 Million dollar bond

Also, the precinct delegate filing deadline is also May 6th - 4PM. If you are running and do not know if you are filed, contact your County Clerk's office. If you name isn't there as filed, then you are not a candidate for precinct delegate. There's been reports of some filings not getting turned into the clerk's office in a timely manner. The safest way to avoid that is to go directly to the County Clerk's office. In Livingston County, that is at the old courthouse in Howell. 200 E Grand River Ave Howell, MI 48843. That's the safest way to assure you are filed.

I do not expect write-ins to be able to win in most precincts. There are a lot of contests this year, largely due to the convention battle for Lt Governor's race. Many openings are filling up quick, including places that normally do not fill up. If you want to be a precinct delegate and have not filed, now is the time to do so.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

MI-08 - Bryan Barnett drops out. Now it's a one on one primary

From the Argus

Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett has withdrawn his 8th Congressional District candidacy.
Barnett, a Republican, had filed Tuesday for the seat, currently held by retiring U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton.
“Honestly, the thought of a difficult and divisive campaign between three Rochester Hills residents seems counterproductive at best,” Barnett said in a prepared statement.
In other news, state Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, withdrew his bid for an Oakland County state Senate seat to focus on the 8th District race.
That decision sets up a GOP primary with former state Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, who has been endorsed by Rogers.

Barnett dropping wasn't significant in Livingston County, but quite significant in Oakland County. He got 77% twice in Rochester Hills. This favors Mike Bishop most likely. Barnett had a lot of establishment support in Oakland County, including L Brooks Patterson. He did have a tough road to victory, especially with Joe Hune not running  and taking the Livingston and rural Ingham County vote with him. That's not a shot at Barnett. He just wasn't well known here. Rochester Hills is over an hour drive from Brighton.

While this didn't start out this way, I can see this starting to turn into an ideological based primary. Bishop had some tea party support in 2010 and isn't disliked by them, but Tom McMillin is a hero to many tea partiers which could automatically turn Bishop into an enemy of at least many tea party groups.

Justin Amash types are also supporting McMillin heavily. Amash can not stand Mike Rogers (or vice versa), so this could also end up being a proxy battle to some extent as Rogers endorsed Bishop early and Amash wanted McMillin to run from the start.  While I hope this isn't the case, I can see the knives being sharpened already by "friends of the program." Advice to all sides, negative campaigning doesn't work well in Livingston County and is known to backfire.

Joe Hune not running was a big game changer here for what he did not do. McMillin wasn't going to run against Joe. McMillin knows he needs the conservative vote in Livingston County to have a chance, and Joe would have wrapped that up from the start. Joe also had significant "establishment" support as well. 

The winner goes through Livingston County, and rural Ingham to a lesser extent. Bishop will get some of the Rogers vote automatically. McMillin gets the Amash and Campaign for Liberty vote off the bat. The winner of this primary will come down to who gets what would have been the "Joe Hune" vote. Joe's strong with tea party, but was really strongest ideologically with the regular old conservatives that don't like labels. Will they vote Bishop or McMillin? That remains to be seen, and I don't think it is set in stone. 

Bishop set up campaign office in Brighton. He's got good campaign staff in the county (some from the county). That's a smart move. I expect McMillin will work hard in this county as well.

The dems have a four way primary. Hopefully that one is as ugly and bloody as the 98 gubernatorial primary for them.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Who is running in Livingston County for 2014 partisan elections?

The filing deadline is in. I'll update this if data comes in late.

Before I get to the rest of ballot, there are no primaries for  Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Board of Education, the education boards of trustees/regents for MSU, UM, and Wayne State, or Supreme Court. These are decided in state conventions. Convention nominations are elected by state delegates. State delegates are elected at county conventions by precinct delegates. Preinct delegates are elected in the August primary. The filing deadline for those are May 6th and interested parties file at the County Clerk's office. In Livingston County, that's at the courthouse in downtown Howell.

For the offices:
Rick Snyder (R - Superior Twp)
Mark Schauer (D - Battle Creek)

Anybody but Schauer. Gun grabbing, partial birth abortion, Granholm's taxes, Obamacare, and Cap and trade.

Terri Lynn Land (R-Byron Township)
Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Township)

We have an actual shot here and the pundits are finally starting to figure this out. I met Land in 2002. She was not supposed to be the nominee and ended up winning due to hard work on the campaign trail. Land will work hard and give us a chance.  As for Peters, that boy will do whatever Reid tells him to do.

Congress - 8th District (MI-08)
GOP - Bryan Barnett (R-Rochester Hills), Mike Bishop (R-Rochester), and Tom McMillin  (R-Rochester Hills)
Dem - Ken Darga (D-Lansing), Eric Schertzing (D-East Lansing), Jeffrey Hank (D-East Lansing), Susan Grettenberger (D-Lansing)

This district leans slightly Republican because of Livingston County and North Oakland County. However, all of Ingham County is in the district, and anything with Lansing, East Lansing, and Meridian Twp isn't completely safe. Schertzing has won countywide in Ingham County, but how many people know who the treasurer is? It's an important position, but behind the scenes more than a prosecutor. In a 3 and 4 way primary, a lot of things can happen.

State Senate - 22nd District (SD-22)
GOP - Joe Hune (R-Hamburg Twp)
Dem - Shari Pollesch (D-Hartland Township)

Redistricting did make this seat more difficult as it swaps the swing areas of Shiawassee County and slightly Republican parts of Ingham County for most of Western Washtenaw County. Shiawassee County voted for Obama twice, but it's also friendly territory for Joe Hune. About 2/3 of this district is still Livingston County, and the most democrat parts of Washtenaw stay with Rebekah Warren. This is still safe. Chelsea and Scio Township can not carry a district for Pollesch. Even McCain won this district, and Joe's not going to be outworked.

State Rep
42nd District (HD-42)
GOP - Nick Fiani (R-Genoa Twp), Rich Perlberg (R-Brighton Twp),  Dale Rogers (R-Putnam Twp), Lana Theis (R-Brighton Twp)
Dem - Timothy Johnson (D-Genoa Twp)

I'm not worried about the general here. Johnson already put his foot in his mouth with his guilty white leftist comments as well as his anti-2nd Amendment comments (guns for me, not for you).  I think even a certain recalled Hamburg Township official would win this district without much of a problem. That may be a little cocky, but I'm usually cautious in my predictions. If I'm Nick, Rich, Dale, or Lana, I'd keep the dem talking. Beyond all of that, Johnson is a Wayne County guy who just moved here in 2012. While we're open to transplants including Wayne County transplants (like most of my family), many of us, including the transplants, don't want people to turn our county into the county the transplants left, especially Wayne County. People left Wayne County for a reason.

The main battle will be in the primary. The primary will be interesting. All bring their own backgrounds to the election. Nick Fiani is the president of the Brighton School Board. Rich Perlberg was the publisher for the local paper for years. Dale Rogers is a teacher. Lana Theis is Brighton Township treasurer and past GOP Chair. 

47th District (HD-47)
GOP - Phil Campbell (R-Howell), Wendy Day (R-Marion Twp), Harold Melton (R-Howell Twp), Ted Ring (R-Hartland Twp), Dr Hank Vaupel (R-Handy Twp)
Dem - Jordan Genso (D-Marion Twp)

This is on paper one of the five safest districts in the state. The biggest problem for Jordan Genso is that there are only 3 places in this district that even voted for Carl Levin (who won nearly 2-1 statewide) against a sacrificial lamb candidate. Howell, Handy Twp, and Unadilla Twp. Stabenow in 2012 only won Howell against a weak nominee (due to lazy campaign). With a five way primary however, the potential is there for a disaster if (and a big if) a candidate emerges heavily wounded compounded with other candidate supporters skipping the race. That's Genso's ghost of a chance. I don't expect Jordan to beat himself, unlike Johnson who frankly already has beaten himself. This is a 60%+ district in almost all years, so when I mean ghost of a chance, I'm referring to Scott Brown level.

The primary will be big here. Phil Campbell is Mayor of Howell, Wendy Day is a tea party activist and former Howell School Board member. Harold Melton is an activist and retired construction worker. Ted Ring is a former teacher and business owner. Dr Hank Vaupel is a veterinarian and Handy Twp Supervisor.

County Commissioner
Right now, there are the following contests. In Livingston County, it takes a disaster for a democrat to win any partisan contest. That does not mean that Republicans don't need to work. Lazy candidates contribute to a disaster. If our candidates are smart, work hard, and do not beat themselves, they will win. Some areas are safer than others. Our job is to not beat ourselves and to continue to do good work. The dems are bragging about finding 9 people to put $100 in (or 20 signatures) to run for the commissioner spots. Congratulations. They did what anybody should be able to do. That doesn't mean they have good candidates. It means they have names on the ballot. That's it.

District 1 (City of Brighton, most of Brighton Twp)
GOP - Kate Lawrence (R-Brighton)
Dem - Bruce Schneider (D-Brighton Twp)
This is a rematch. Lawrence won with 67% in 2012. The only way a dem wins here is by a massive win in the City of Brighton. Brighton Twp doesn't vote for dems, and Lawrence was Mayor of Brighton City. She's a matchup nightmare for any dem.

District 2 (Deefield, Oceola, small part of Hartland)
GOP - Bill Green (R-Deerfield Twp)
Dem - Jeanette DiFlorio (D-?)
This is also a rematch. Green won with 65% in 2012.  Deefield and Oceola don't vote for dems.

District 3 (Tyrone, most of Hartland)
GOP - Dave Domas (R-Tyrone Twp)
Dem - Ronda Trouse (D-?)

Tyrone's moved a bit to the right in the past 20 years. Stabenow won it years ago (96?), but lost it bad to Hoekstra who was a bad candidate (fundraising and inactivity). Levin lost it to Hoogendyk and he's done the best of any dem in the county since Frank Kelley (who was the last dem to win the county).  Hartland doesn't vote for dems.  

District 4 (Conway, Handy, Iosco, Unadilla, part of Putnam)
GOP - Ron Van Houten (R-Iosco Twp) Doug Helzerman (R-Handy Twp)
Dem - Donald Pushies (D-Conway Twp)

This district has a large number of independents. Conway's a 60%+ area at the top of the ticket, but had a dem township supervisor not all that long ago. Handy Twp likes their locals and while it's fairly strongly Republican, it fluctuates heavily based on candidate quality. Hune got 80% there before, but Stabenow also got 46% against Hoekstra, 6% ahead of Obama. Iosco is a more conservative version of Handy Twp in voting habits unless the GOP'er has strong ties to Handy Twp.  Unadilla will still vote for some dems, although it's now Republican at the top of the ticket. The part of Putnam in the district leans democrat.  Romney did very well in the district, but Hoekstra barely won it. The dems have what is likely an MEA connected candidate here. There's a couple of names that would really concern me here, but they didn't run. I don't see the MEA selling here, but we have to take this race seriously. The SW part of ths district sometimes goes dem, but they prefer their locals there. Pushies is 20 miles from there.

District 5 (Cohoctah, Howell, Howell Twp)
GOP - Don Parker (R-Howell)
Dem - Mike Tipton (D-Howell Twp)

Mike "34%" Tipton wants a rematch. Tipton couldn't crack 35% in a special election where there were no straight ticket voters hurting him. We were worried about Tipton last time since we were somewhat blind to his chances in a special election. We're not blind now. This time, we know what he's about. This time, it's a regular off year election. He's got a big mouth and will throw a lot of bombs, and we'll be ready for him. His big city style doesn't work in Livingston County.

District 6 (Marion Twp, most of Putnam Twp, small part of  Hamburg)
GOP - Steve Williams (R-Marion Twp), Steven Hart (R-Marion Twp?)
Dem - Lesa Doa (D-Marion Twp)

Steve Williams has a primary against Steven Hart. I don't know anything about Hart except that I think he may be a Pinckney cop. Interesting primary. Hopefully it doesn't get nasty.

Lesa Doa is Jordan Genso's wife. Genso is running in the 47th. This district could get interesting depending on matchups but it's a major geographic mismatch for Doa. Genso's geographic base is Hartland. For the 47th, that's not a big deal as Hartland's in the district (Joe Hune lives in Hamburg, but he's a Fowlerville guy)  Here, Hartland is not in the district, so Genso's base can't help her. I went to school with one of the Doas. Their base would be in the Brighton area, particularly the Brighton part of Genoa Township. Why is that important? The only way any democrat wins in Livingston County is with a large number of crossover voters. Steve Williams doesn't make a lot of mistakes or put his foot in his mouth. 15-20 years from now in an open seat matchup, this matchup would concern me much more than it does now if Jordan and Lesa stay in Marion Twp. The southwestern part of the county is quite independent and more apt to split their ticket, but it's also very geographic provincial. They'll vote for Hune/Donahue. This isn't a completely safe district due to Putnam's independent streak, but Steve Williams is a good candidate here.

District 7 (Genoa Twp)
GOP - Carol Griffith (R-Genoa Twp)
Dem - Jim Delcamp (D-Genoa Twp)

Safe R. Genoa Township doesn't vote democrat, unless it's a closet dem running as a Republican (not referring to Carol). I'll safe that story for another day. Carol's a very good commissioner and shouldn't have any troubles. This is one of the three most Republican district's in the county. Delcamp's run several times for office and hasn't been successful.

District 8 (most of Hamburg, small part of Green Oak)
GOP - Dennis Dolan (R-Hamburg)
Dem - Jim Katakowski (D-Hamburg)

This is a rematch. Dolan won last time with 58%, basically running with the top of the ticket. This could be a tough district if we have a bad matchup, but I'm not worried about a rematch here as long as we are prepared. We will be.

District 9 (Most of Green Oak, part of Brighton Twp)
GOP - Gary Childs (R-Green Oak)
Dem - Barry McBride (D-Green Oak)

Green Oak's heavily independent, but has moved our way some since the 70's. McBride ran a few years back against Jack LaBelle. This is the first time Childs faced a dem, although he beat Jack LaBelle which shows a lot of strength in his own right.

Conway Twp Treasurer:
GOP - Debbie Grubb (R-Conway Twp)
Dem - None that I know of. (Called Clerk's office earlier today)

Conway's heavily independent but conservative.

When I say "Safe R", it means Safe R barring a disaster. It doesn't not mean that we should get arrogant and do nothing but have a name out on the ballot. That's an easy way to lose. We have the facts on our side. We have a good track record in this county. We don't want to turn into Wayne County.

The field is set. It's time to get to work.  

Howell Mini-Circles are going the way of Crystal Pepsi

The only thing good about Crystal Pepsi was the song for the commercial. The only good thing about those minicircles is that they are on their way out. Right now, the Howell mini-circles are on its last legs.

From the Argus:

Days are numbered for Howell’s mini-traffic circles after a divided City Council voted Monday to have them removed within 150 days.
It remains unclear whether $35,000 in undesignated city budget funds would be enough to cover the removal of all 16 circles.
But those who supported the removal said the project could be amended as needed.
“It’s a starting point, it may not be an ending point, but at least we have a framework,” said Councilman Doug Heins, who supported the removal.


Streets affected by the traffic circles include Center, Chestnut, East Washington, Fleming, Griswold, Isbell, Jewitt, Lake, Madison, McPherson, North Barnard, North Court, North Tompkins, Prospect, South Barnard, Spring, Summit, West, West Clinton, West Sibley and Wetmore.
The council voted 4-2 to remove the traffic circles.
Councilman Jeffrey Hansen joined Niblock in voting against the measure. Councilman Steven Manor was absent from Monday’s meeting.
 Out of all the controversial projects with the streetscapes, those damn minicircles are probably the most controversial. While I don't care for the cost in removing them, spending the money on those things in the first place was worse. They obstruct vision, are confusing, make it tough for emergency vehicles to get through if needed (Howell had a fire last night), and aren't needed when there's already a four way stop at many of the minicircle intersections.

Vote to remove - Allen Schlittler, Doug Heins, Nick Proctor, Phil Campbell

Vote to keep - Scott Niblock, Jeffrey Hansen

Didn't vote - Steve Manor (probably supported the circles)