This weekend, I was a delegate to the State GOP Convention in Grand Rapids. At this convention, the party chose its state committee members, district committee members, state chair, and vice chair positions. There weren't a lot of surprises at the State GOP Convention. The 8th District caucuses were uneventful, which is a good thing.
The big battle was for youth chair between Matt Hall and Trevor Pittsley. Matt was heavily backed by some of McCain's major backers. Pittsley is backed by many of Romney's major backers. There's a proxy war going on between John McCain's people and Mitt Romney's people. (For the record, I'm a free agent) That aside, neither have officially endorsed any candidate, and there were several overlaps. After several counts/possible vote flips in one particular district, and a close fight with some controversey, Hall won by 8 votes. That's part of convention politics at times. I think either one of them would do a good job for the party and was a fencesitter till it was vote time. Matt Hall did an excellent job at WMU. Trevor Pittsley did an excellent job for state party and also worked with the Teenage Republicans at one of their events. Unfortunately, the battle ended in the manner it did with the controversey. That said, Matt's a good guy and should do a good job for us. Congratulations to him.
One of the major issues at the convention was Granholm's tax increase proposal. In response to that, former state rep Leon Drolet was passing out stickers for the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. The message on it was "RECALL 1983" in response to the Blanchard tax increases that lead to Democrat loss in the state senate after two recalled politicians who voted for it. The Concerned Taxpayers Group here was enacted in response to a 3 mill school tax proposal on the county level. It's high time to see a taxpayers group on the state level ready to do batter with Granholm. We are naysayers to her tax increase, and damn proud of it!
State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk and some others snuck though a border security resolution to the convention floor. I'm pleasantly surprised that this was able to reach the floor. This was pure grass roots success, much to the chagrin I'm sure of some Washington establishment types. Once it reached the floor, it passed easily - 3-1 at least.
On the 2008 front, I arrived at the convention as a free agent in my presidential choice. I leave also as a free agent. Four campaigns were represented there. Sam Brownback and Mitt Romney were there themselves. John McCain was represented by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Rudy Giuliani was represented by Candice Miller.
Brownback did a good job appealing to the social conservative base without any of the fire/brimstone type of rhetoric that turns off most of the mainstream. His goal of eliminating cancer in ten years is a laudible one. Mitt Romney is a very good speaker who talked about experience and fiscal principles. Candace Miller did a good job attempting to sell Rudy by emphasing his mayoral record. I'm no McCain fan at all, but Pawlenty did a very good job for him. I wish he was the candidate running instead.
I can't speak for other districts, but the 8th district had a rather cold reception to Mr McCain. Can he get the base back? Brownback had some support, but many have doubts about his ability to win. I think his chances increase greatly if people think he has a good chance to win. The crowd seemed to favor Romney, but was more a lean that way rather than hard core support. Overall - it's still way early and no one has run away with the nomination.
I arrived and still am an undecided free agent on the 08 race. I did not wear any presidential stickers there, just my Recall 1983 sticker.