I've been caught up in a few things, so I haven't been able to update.
1. The Mackinac Conference.
It was a good event, as it usually is. Pundits and Pollsters as always is my favorite panel. I was at the Rick Perry speech there. It went well. He needs to work on his debating skills in a big way as it hurt him a bit, but the stump speech was a good introduction to Michiganders. I think Perry has a good shot if he keeps the message to Texas vs most of the rest of the country in economics. That's his strength. 2012 election is about jobs.
Romney's biggest strength is campaign organization. He won the Mackinac Straw Poll largely because of that. He had the largest campaign presence on the island by far. It's not a surprise. Romney's organization is strong in 2008 as well.
The senate race is interesting. All the campaigns had some presence there, but some are more organized than others. I'm still undecided here. My vote will go to who I think has the best chance against Stabenow.
Pete Hoekstra had a speech and worked hard to get people there. What was interested about the people there is that many of them were on opposite sides in previous races, either with candidates or consultants. I was asked about five different times to show up there, and that is despite being a well known Mike Cox supporter from the gubernatorial election.
I had a brief chance to talk to Hoekstra about my two major concerns. One was TARP. He voted for it the 2nd time. He said that he made his decision based on local bankers in his district calling him up and telling him that he's seen nothing like that before and that something needed to be done. In hindsight, it may or may not have been the right decision, but we don't know what would have happened without the bailout. I don't agree with him there, but respect his answer. The other issue I had was comments about sales tax as a gubernatorial candidate. The timing of it aligned with the self proclaimed "Business leaders for Michigan" push to expand taxes to services. Another person later on said Hoekstra didn't support that plan, but supported Fairtax. I asked Hoekstra about the comments, and he said he supported the Fairtax on the state level. He has long supported it as a congressman at the federal level.
Clark Durant isn't well known, but he has spoken at a Livingston County GOP event several years back when Andy Anuzis was the chair. He's done a lot of work with charter schools and knows how to raise money. I'm interesting to see if he catches fire.
Gary Glenn is the head of Michigan's chapter of the American Family Association. If you haven't heard of him, you will. He's heavily involved in issues opposing gay marriage.
Peter Konetchy and Chuck Marino are both businessmen. I saw some campaign materials for both of them at Mackinac.
I'm undecided in who I support, except that it's going to be Stabenow's opponent.
Also, I found at Mackinac that incumbent and recent presidential candidate Thad McCotter will have a primary challenger if he runs for re-election, and it's going to be a serious one. State Senator Mike Kowall is taking him on and has a lot of prominent support in his county. MI-11 is more Oakland based than it was, so it could be interesting. McCotter is still very strong in Livonia. Kowall is strong in the Highland/White Lake area.
Away from Mackinac, the big news in 2012 is that Sarah Palin is not running. I'm not surprised at this. I think Palin lost any chance she had to win when she resigned as Alaska Governor. I think what she does best is rally the base on the speaker's circuit. I think she has a long career with her PAC and will be around for a long time.
Lastly, keep an eye on the Fast and Furious and Eric Holder. That scandal is picking up some legs. If this is true to any degree, some heads need to roll. That's another reason why the BATF needs to be disbanded. As far as Holder goes, he was Reno's top assistant during the Clinton years. He was bad news even back then.