Sunday, July 27, 2008

Livingston County Election Developments

There are several stories in the Argus on this. First off, the Argus endorsed Bill Rogers and Donna Anderson in their primaries for the 66th District, and Cindy Denby in the 47th. Joe Hune also wrote a letter to the editor showing his support for Cindy, which is a break from his usual policy of not endorsing anybody in primary races. While it is not a shocker considering how long Cindy worked for Joe, it is significant as one of his opponents, Carl Konopaska, also mentioned that he interned at Joe's office.

The other shows the campaign finance race. Some of the candidates are going back and forth on this.

Aberasturi criticized Denby for accepting so much PAC money.

"I think that she's going to be needing to follow what the PACs ask her to do if she gets elected because she's accepting all their money," said Aberasturi, who ponied up $5,000 of his own money in his campaign. " I won't have any PACs I plan to follow. I think it's a waste ... to have spent all that money on mailings and stuff like that."

Denby rebuked the claims that she would "follow" PACs if elected, noting she has memberships with several organizations that donated to her campaign.

"No vote is for sale, and, at the end of the day, my approach to when I vote is what's best locally, for the community," Denby said. "At the state level, it would be first what is best for our district and, secondly, what is best for the state of Michigan."

The district covers Fowlerville, Howell, Pinckney and the townships of Hartland, Tyrone, Deerfield, Cohoctah, Conway, Handy, Howell, Iosco, Unadilla, Putnam and Hamburg.

Portelli defended the seriousness of what he called his "bare-bones campaign."

"I have campaigned — I have talked to as many people as I could," Portelli said. "Spending a lot of money on postcards and marketing, I've found to be quiet ineffective in the past, for business purposes."

Konopaska could not be reached for comment.

The words "Political Action Committee" (PAC) and "special interests" gets tossed around like it is a bad thing. They are very misunderstood by much of the public. Whether it is a good thing or a bad thing is dependent on every person's interest. A PAC is nothing more than a group of citizens which support an issue unite to get involved with the goal of electing candidates. PACs are also hard money and tightly regulated and in Michigan, have to submit reports if they raise $1000 or more. I've worked with PACs for years. The implication by some is that PAC's write a check to a candidate in order to get their vote. That is not the case in the PACs I've worked with. The PACs I've worked with want to support the candidates who already have those views. The one I'm now with doesn't write checks to candidates, nor did the last one I worked with. Those PACs educate voters and supporters about the stances of the candidates and need a PAC in order to endorse candidates. 2nd Amendment groups have PACS. Pro-Abortion and Pro-life groups have PACs. Taxpayers groups have PACS. Business and Labor have PACS.

Do I think Cindy will follow Farm Bureau? No. I think she agrees with much of Farm Bureau and is supported because of that. Same goes for Builders and Contractors and the Restaurant Organization (Smoking bill?). One candidate for rep in Farmington Hills, Richard Lerner, has a long list of PAC Surveys and questionaires and you can see most of the questions. He's not a fan of PAC's and ratted out those who sent him a survey by posting the questions. It's a good read and you can find where they stand on a lot of issues.

Speaking of campaign finance, the secretary of state's reports are out. In the 47th, Frank Portelli and Carl Konopaska are running low-budget campaigns and disclosed their reports despite being under the waiver wire (if chosen). Don't laugh at them, Joe Hune did not spend much money either, and neither do the Concerned Taxpayer's Group. Charlie Aberasturi (he's also treasurer) needs to get his report in unless it was sent in the mail and postmarked on time. The Democrat Scott Lucas and his treasurer also does not have his pre-primary. He may not have opposition in the primary, but his name is on the ballot and he is up for election in August as his name is on the ballot. He did not click the waiver wire. These are preventable mistakes where candidates hurt themselves for no good reason. Hopefully for both of them, it was sent in. If not, the fine clock is ticking.

On the 66th Race, from the Argus

Republicans Bill Rogers raised more than $27,000, and Jason Corosanite amassed almost $18,000 total. One-third of Rogers' money came from PACs, with the biggest contributions — $2,500 — coming from each the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers and Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Corosanite accepted no PAC money and said one can tell where a candidate's "loyalties are going to be" by the amount of such contributions.

Rogers refuted that claim, stating it's necessary to run a campaign and that Corosanite shouldn't complain since he is with the Michigan Association of Chiropractors.

"What's interesting is his focus, from what I've heard before with his experience in Lansing is working with his PAC — his chiropractor PAC — so I guess I'm a little confused with why PACs are so bad if he works with one."

Corosanite said he serves in an advocacy position with his association and neither accepts funds from nor donates to the political action committee.

"If anything, it's been eye-opening for me to see everything that's going on," Corosanite said.

"I catch a lot of grief because I don't contribute to their PAC."

Jason's right, and so is Bill. You can often tell loyalties by PAC contributions or endorsements. Not always, but it is a good indicator. The State Chamber contribution shows that Bill likely won't vote for a tax increase. A look at Jason's campaign report shows a lot of contributions, almost exclusively from chriopractors (which he is). That isn't a PAC, but really not much different that support from the "Chriopractors PAC."

Donna Anderson (also treasurer) needs to get her report in if it wasn't mailed in already. She hasn't filed and did not click the waiver wire. Tom Crawford clicked the waiver wire. Bill and Jason's reports are in.

Maybe the reports are in for Aberasturi, Lucan, and Anderson, but if they are, why make it look bad when they are not on the Sec of State site after the due date? It looks sloppy and looks like they aren't in. If they aren't in, then they got fines to pay.

UPDATE - Aberasturi turned in his report on time with a day to spare. It just was not posted on the secretary of state site. Apologies to Aberasturi for implying that he didn't turn it in.

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