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?


john ewing said...

Agree. Its Lana Theis's to lose to Fiani. Effectively the Brighton Twp. Treasurer who tried to make her election year budget look good by deleting a spending bucket - outside consultants vs. the President of the School Board who has cut costs prudently, and run a low-cost efficient campaign.

However it ends up, Fiani will end up with the lowest cost per vote received, and the respect of the people for running a campaign just how he views running govt. operations - efficiently !

Theis spent 6 times Fiani based on the pre-election filings. She may win but it isn't going to be by a factor of six times Fiani's votes.

John Ewing

Hard to imagine Perlberg receiving votes from Republicans. Possibly the boldest scam in Livingston County election history. But there are credible rumors of him seeking Democrats to crash the primary, so you never no. At least there won't be any need for fancy statistical analysis - the Democrat cross-over votes are going to be exactly equivalent to Perlberg's vote total.

Doberman Watchdog said...

The race for the 42nd is the most interesting to me. I've not gotten any mailings or calls about Dale Rogers, and I've only seen one small road sign so far, so I'm not taking him too seriously. I like what I've seen with Nick Fiani on the school board, but I don't think he was ready for the well funded battle between Theis and Perlberg. In a very tough battle he has been a class act. I have a lot of respect for him and hope he runs again for other races if he loses this one.

The main event is the battle between Perlberg and Theis. I've received a lot of mailings and calls from both candidates, and the entire district is plastered with their signs. I'm amazed that Perlberg has gotten so much financial support considering the well documented support of Democrat candidates, including Obama, by the Livingston County Press while he was running it. Perlberg has also made some nasty comments about Republicans and the Republican party that make him sound like he belongs in the Democrat party. So why is he running as a Republican? Is he really a Democrat running as a Republican because he knows Democrats can't win this seat?

I've met Theis several times and this has given me a chance to hear firsthand where she stands on the issues. Overall I've been pretty impressed with her. No offense intended to John Ewing, but I don't think the things he talks about are likely to cost her any votes. If we look hard enough we can always find something we don't like about someone; we have to ask ourselves how important and relevant these things are in the overall picture.

If Perlberg only had one strong opponent I don't think he would have much chance of winning. Conservative Republicans outnumber moderates by a fairly large margin, and I can't see many conservatives voting for Perlberg. But it's possible that Fiana could draw off quite a few conservative votes from Theis, and if Perlberg gets most of the moderate vote combined with votes from Democrats crossing over into the Republican primary, we could end up with a situation where Perlberg wins the race with around 40% of the vote. This is exactly how Snyder won in 2010.

john ewing said...

Theis is a deceitful politician...and good at it. From a distance, her "kids in a wagon" baloney plays pretty well. People who get closer know the real Lana. I don't think faking your budget in an election year is a small deceit...part-and-parcel of the real Lana Theis. Didn't want the people to see "outside consultant fees", something she spent wildly on every year in office...until suddenly disappearing in an election year.

She's also not very bright (voting to kill swans while claiming to be pro life tells you how deeply she thinks about things), takes responsibility for nothing, and hasn't done a thing for Brighton Township. Her story about "opposing an ordinance" is a fairy tale...highly calculated charade intended to make her look "grass roots".

Fiani is the only trustworthy guy in the race - ran his campaign just like government should be run...low budget, limited begging, no nonsense. You learn a lot by just watching people campaign...Theis started her campaign with a 40K loan to try to intimidate people not to challenge her. Surprise surprise she didn't spend any of that...only spent the money she raised.

Fiani has done more with $4000 than Lana Theis has done with $24,000. Really tells you all you need to know.

If Perlberg gets a single Republican vote I'd be surprised. The guy is a Democrat with no journalistic integrity - his abuse of the paper he used to edit, in order to promote his campaign and demean the competition is unbelievable...and the gall of his claim to having his "voice" silenced while directing the yellow journalism delivering his voice through fake news articles in the Press-Argus is craven.

Theis is a hold-your-nose candidate for those who can't tolerate Democrat Perlberg and the Rogers Crony Network.

john ewing said...

Agree that weird things can happen in three way race...its quite likely that Rogers, Perlberg's owner and leash carrier, pitched to him that Fiani and Theis would split the sane vote, and he could win by picking up all the insane.

Might have worked in a Presidential election year when less informed voters are coming in. I don't think Perlberg stands a chance with the informed Republican voters who will show up to this year...even if Theis and Fiani split the sane votes, that's 35 - 35, if not 40-40...still not enough of the insane to push Perlberg over the top.