Thursday, August 30, 2012


Updated the congressional and state rep districts with the primary winners. The polls should be updated shortly once the ballot proposals are set in stone. Lots of shenanigans are going on with those. 

MI-11 - Special Election September 5

I missed most of the convention speeches. I can only take so much "talk" from politicians, even from my own side. Oftentimes the speeches I like aren't as popular as some others. It's the same with debates. Often those I think who won the actual debate lose it in the court of public opinion, or I think both did badly. I saw two speeches. Chris Christie's and Paul Ryan's. I thought both of them were good, Ryan's in particular. Ryan didn't try to be who he wasn't. He is who he is, and that's what he needs to be.

I've heard Romney speak several times in person over the last six years. I've seen him hit it out of the park with a speech, and I've seen him strike out. I don't know what to expect. I've made my decision already. He's not Obama. He'll fire Eric Holder, Janet Napoliantano, Tim Geithner, Kathleen Sebelius, and Arne Duncan. He won't appoint Cass Sunstein clones to SCOTUS.  It doesn't get worse than these clowns. I'd even vote for Rick Snyder over this crew, and it's no secret what my opinion is there.

There's still another election before November. The special primary for the vacant MI-11 is on September 5th, a Wednesday. Normally, elections are only four possible days a year, but there's some federal rules on congressional elections, and Snyder didn't want to end up in court. Therefore, we have a special election for what amounts to a two month term.

This covers the OLD 11th. This does NOT cover the NEW 11th. If you're in part of Clawson, Troy, part of Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Northern West Bloomfield, Farmington, Lake Angelus, and the new part of Waterford, this isn't your district. If you are in Westland, Redford, Wayne, Belleville, Van Buren Twp, Garden City, or part of Dearborn Heights, this is still your district for this election which will fill out the rest of McCotter's term.

There's six people running for this two month term.

Kerry Bentilvolio, the winner of the August primary for the NEW district, is one of the four republicans (and 1 RINO) who is running.

Nancy Cassis, who ran as a write-in for the August primary for the new district, is this time listed on the ballot.

Carolyn Kavanagh lives in Livonia. Her dad is a district judge there. If this was a judicial race, my money would be on Kavanagh for that last name alone. It's like the name Ryan, Kelly, or Murphy. It wins. 

Kenneth Crider is in Livonia. I'm unfamiliar with him.

Steve King. He's a RINO. He ran as a democrat against John Walsh in 2008 and now calls himself a Milliken type. Milliken was one of the worst governors we've had including Granholm. King's best known as a local musician who plays in the classic rock band Steve King and the Dittilies. As is often (although not always) the case, good musician, bad politics.

On the democrat side, David Curson from the Belleville area. He's a UAW rep and is unopposed in the primary.

The winner of the Republican and RINO primary will face Curson for the Special General election which is the same day as the normal general election on November 6th. I don't think it's a forgone conclusion that Bentivolio will win on September 5th. His folks need to really GOTV.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Polls are worthless

I'm seeing panic among some sky is falling types on the right because Karl Rove apparently ran his mouth about the electoral vote count right now. I missed exactly what he said outside of Romney currently likely losing, but that's presumably based on polls.

Polls are worthless. To be specific, polls at this time are worthless.That's not meant as an insult to pollsters, but it is impossible to accurately measure the opinion of voters - in August or early September - for the October/November election. The reason is simple. People do not vote in the general election during the month of August. They vote in October or November. Possibly early September if the absentees are out early. This year, voting in the August primary started around June 26th. Absentees are as high as 34% of the vote these days and campaigns that don't have absentee programs are usually DOA. 

If you look at Real Clear Politics, you'll find a large number of polling archives.  

John Kerry lead in August polling. John McCain lead for a brief period in some September polling. He never lead after the bailout.

Don't forget margin of error. If you have a margin of error of four, and have Obama up 4 nationally as the current polls have it, it could be a tie, and still be within the margin of error. The last group of polls had this.

RCP Average8/2 - 8/13----47.743.7Obama +4.0
Rasmussen Tracking8/11 - 8/131500 LV3.04447Romney +3
Gallup Tracking8/6 - 8/123050 RV2.04646Tie
Politico/GWU/Battleground8/5 - 8/91000 LV3.14847Obama +1
CNN/Opinion Research8/7 - 8/8911 RV3.55245Obama +7
IBD/CSM/TIPP8/3 - 8/10828 RV3.54639Obama +7
FOX News8/5 - 8/7930 RV3.04940Obama +9
Reuters/Ipsos8/2 - 8/61014 RV3.44942Obama +7

Now there could be two major reasons for the discrepancies.

A. There was possibly major movement towards Romney. Obama could have been up big in early August and losing this week. That's if all of those polls are accurate. The lesson from that? August doesn't matter much.
B. Inaccurate measuring of samples. Possible. Which way? We won't know until October/November.

Even if polls are done right, the variances could be from Obama+12 in Fox (doubtful - Romney won't do worse than McCain) to Romney up 6 in Rasmussen (also doubtful right now). There could also be from top to bottom Tie, Tie, Tie, Obama +3.5, Obama +3.5, Obama +6, and Obama +3.6 with minor movement with the Paul Ryan VP pick and gas prices going up again. That's plausible, and all within the margin of error - if the election was August 14th. It's not. Tarp bailouts wern't on anybody's minds back on August 14th of 2008.

You had at this time in 2008, McCain trailing, announcing Palin as his pick, and taking the lead in September until the bailout took the focus away from energy which was becoming a big issue at this point during the last campaign. On the same note, the McCain campaign ground game sucked while Obama basically ran the Bush 2004 campaign and improved on it. In hindsight, that McCain lead in September was a mile wide and an inch thick. It was obvious he was going nowhere when he not only quit Michigan, but worse - his staffer announced it to the world. It is to this day, one of the stupidest things I've seen in politics right behind McCotter's petitions.

Now's not the time to panic. Too many things can happen. While I'm rather lukewarm about voting for Romney (anybody but Obama, Holder, Sebelius, Napoliantano, Sunstein, etc) I'll say one thing about his campaign. He's organized. Romney has had strong organization as long as I've seen his campaign. That goes back in 2008 which was planned in 2006 through today. I've seen the Romney staffer in the county almost as much as I've seen the victory center director. I've seen other plans start now instead of October. I don't think Romney's going to be outworked or out organized. 

The actual campaign is just starting now. The August primary is done and it is now general election season. Labor Day is in about four weeks, and things really start to heat up then. The actual election starts in about a month and three weeks with the first of the absentees, and ends almost exactly two months and four weeks from now.

Monday, August 13, 2012

School board filing deadline tomorrow - 2012

August 14th, tomorrow is the filing deadline for non partisan offices in the November election. School board and village candidates are up. Deadline is 4PM August 14th.

Debi Drick, President of the Livingston County Women's Club is looking for mainstream fiscally conservative candidates interesting in running for a local school board seat in the county. If you are interested, please contact her at Debi used to be on Howell's school board and knows how things work on those boards.

People always talk about schools the importance of them. The biggest impact on education isn't from the feds who shouldn't be involved in the first place as they screw it up. The state has a lot of impact, although the biggest is locally on our school boards. We elect these people to office.

Downticket is important, and has as much of an impact on us as a presidential election, if not more. Most government that we interact with are the local governments. County. Township. City. School. We can not forget those races when we vote.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Recap of the primary

It was a rough primary overall, at least for me. It wasn't a total loss and some folks I wanted to win, but a lot of the candidates I was supporting lost. Most losses don't bother me that much in primaries. Usually I can easily point to good reasons why the results were the way they were. I wasn't happy with the Genoa Races or Oakland judicial race at all. The best folks didn't win there, and at least in the Genoa case, low turnout absolutely killed us. I wasn't that happy with the treasurer's race either, and low turnout didn't help us at all there either. I'll update the districts periodically now that the results are in.

One thing I noticed is that a lot of votes were absentee. There were 10215 votes in the HD-47 primary. I did some work for Cindy this primary. At least 34% of the vote - going into election day - was absentee. I assume that's across the board and applies to HD-42 as well. I don't have the exact numbers. Turnout was very low despite all the contested races. In my Green Oak polling place, I walked in. There was one person ahead of me and one person in line at the other precinct there. At 11:30 AM, I was number 55. My ballot number was about 259. Cards cast - 311.

The lack of absentee program doomed Clark Durant. Durant peaked late and worked hard at the end in Livingston County, but you have to have the AV program going to have a chance against a name like Hoekstra. I think if all of the turnout was Tuesday with no AV's, Durant may have won. The election started in June however and not August. Hoekstra needs to have the AV program ready to go to have a shot against Stabenow.

Mike Rogers won easily against two unknowns. I didn't see much if any of a campaign from Hetrick or Molnar. Hetrick had some signs in the right of way, but it takes more than that to have a strong campaign that would challenge someone like Mike.

Dale Rogers had a waiver wire campaign against Bill Rogers, but did what he could considering the resources in his campaign. I'll give him credit for hitting doors and also showing up the unity breakfast this morning. He took his lumps like a man, as I had to do in a couple of cases with some of the campaigns I was involved in, and I hope he stays active.  I respect those who run actual campaigns. 

Harold Melton I think underestimated Cindy Denby due to her low key demeanor. There's a difference between being low key and weak. Cindy's a very strong incumbent especially due to the constituent relations in that office. If you're going to challenge Cindy, you better be prepared or you'll be overwhelmed, and not even by the campaign resources. Personally, I wish Harold ran for township board in Howell Twp.

Prosecutor was close as expected. Bill Vailliencourt won narrowly over Carolyn Henry. Lyle Dickson had more votes than the difference between the two, and I wonder who would have otherwise receive those votes.

Sheriff wasn't close. Tom Ash defeated Tom Ash. Bob Bezotte won easily, and I think Ash's speech at the Brighton Tea Party, the 11th hour complaint from Alex Duncan (who lost his race in Marion Twp) claiming he got an ass whooping in 1985 as a kid (I later found out Bezotte was out of town that day) and claiming he mentioned it as not politics, and the Dukes of Hazzard stunt by Mike Moorman all cost him.

Margaret Dunleavy won easily as expected. That's a well run office and she does a good job.

I was surprised at the treasurer's race. Brian Wutz ran what I thought was a good campaign and a much more active one. Nash was an appointed incumbent who had much of the established elected officials/commissioners backing but was running an essentially status quo campaign. I thought it was going to be close, and it was a 62-38 loss. It was closer all other countywide incumbent challenges, but it still wasn't close. I hope Brian stays active. He's a good guy who adds a lot to the party.

I was surprised at the margin in the Register of Deeds race, although I'm not surprised Sally Reynolds won. Sally's an underrated campaigner who works despite limited campaign budgets. She was hitting a lot of doors. Carole Bullion was a stronger challenger than her results would indicate. Both are good people and I hope Carole stays active. I hope Carole runs again when the seat opens up.

There are two commissioners who lost re-election. Three were vulnerable. Two are gone. Ron Van Houten survived against Bill Call. Van Houten's a good guy. I don't know Bill Call except that he is or was part of the school board. I was a little surprised Van Houten won because of Call's strength in Fowlerville. Jim Mantey lost to Bill Green. I'm not that surprised there. Mantey was a good commissioner. He was not a good campaigner. People didn't know him. I am slightly surprised at my own district. I will have having a new county commissioner. Jack LaBelle is being replaced by Gary Childs. I don't know him. I know that he owns a bike shop and has many ties in South Lyon. Much of Green Oak is closely tied to South Lyon around the Rushton area. I voted for Jack, whom I knew from the board, and he won't be easy to replace.

Incumbents were the winners generally in the township races with few exceptions. I wasn't happy against with Genoa's case. Don't complain when "downtown Genoa" is on the way.  I was happy to see Linda Rowell win, but Spicher and Woodall would have done a real good job there. Green Oak has a new trustee. James Tuthill will be replacing Wally Qualls. I was hoping Mike Z would win in Hamburg.

Ballot Questions:

Passed - Conway Twp Roads, Deerfield Roads, Hartland Fire renewal, Osceola Roads, Fenton Schools Renewal (in county), Fowlerville fire/library,

Failed - Howell Township Sewer (no surprise there - 80-20 margin)

Outside the county, MI-11 wasn't a surprise to me. Bentivolio in Oakland had about 29,000 votes compared to the 13,800 writeins. In Wayne County, Bentivolio had about 13,800 to the 8400 or so write-ins. I estimated that it would take about 25,000 to have a ghost of a chance and about 30,000+ to have a more realistic chance. There were about 22,000 write ins. Most were probably for Cassis. That's damn good, but shows how difficult it is. Interestingly, Bill Roberts the LaRouche guy, only lost Oakland by 2000 against the establishment candidate Syed Taj, Taj did better in Wayne County where he's from, winning by 4000 there. I wonder if the dems are kicking themselves for not running someone stronger like Dian Slavens, Tim Melton, or Mike Duggan.

MI-13 - John Conyers won easily.

MI-14 - Gary Peters is the first whitey in Congress to represent a part of Detroit since either Sander Levin or Curtis Hertel to have part of the city in their district. Hansen Clark won the Wayne County portion of the district 51-33 with others taking the rest. 33% is still good for a white dude in Oakland County who most importantly doesn't live there. Oakland came through big for Peters. Clarke actually got third in Oakland, behind Brenda Lawrence and Peters. Peters won not surprisingly West Bloomfield and Farmington Hills. Somewhat surprisingly, he won Southfield, Oak Park, and Pontiac. Pontiac and Oak Park wern't close. Southfield was close because Lawrence is the mayor there, and Peters still won. Southfield, Oakland, and Pontiac blacks aren't as adverse of voting for white folks. I am surprised Peters won because Detroit still has most of the district.

I'll update the districts when I get a chance to reflect who the nominees are for the fall.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

It's primary day

Today's the most important day for choosing our reps. Most decisions will be made not in November, but today. A republican won't win Detroit or Ann Arbor this year. A democrat won't win Hudsonville or Zeeland. That's the way it is until proven otherwise. The way to make changes if necessary is vote for the right people TODAY.

Our job is this.

1. Get informed.

2. Make an informed vote.

If you aren't informed on any race, stay home. I don't want some people voting. That's politically incorrect, but so what. I don't mind my vote cancelled out by someone I disagree with.  I do mind when it's cancelled out for stupid reasons. If you aren't informed on some races, skip those. I've done that at times. If some candidates have done nothing to get their message out to voters, it's okay to vote for 'blank.' I would rather vote blank than vote blindly for somebody I know nothing about. I avoid both situations when I can.

I've made my decisions. Some are easier than others. See you at the polls.

Updated - Low Turnout. I was number 55 today in Green Oak after the morning rush.  A lot of AV votes are already in however.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

11th Hour campaigning

It's about 36 hours before the polls open up here for the August primary. About 70% of the vote will be Tuesday. The actual election has been going on for over a month. Absentees have come in as early as late June and most were sent out in that week long period from last June to early July. If a candidate neglected that, then it's an unforced error that could be very costly. Mitt Romney won 50% of the delegates here (the extra was a gift by leadership to spike the football) because he won big with absentees.

Some candidates are hitting the doors. I know Cindy Denby, Sally Reynolds, Tom Ash, and Dale Rogers are all hitting doors. It's a good thing to do if you want to win. Ask Joe Hune who used that strategy to win in 2002 and to make a what some thought was going to be a competitive race turn into a 75-25 blowout, only losing one precinct. Hoekstra and Durant are making last minute rounds.

While finishing strong is important, campaigns are marathons, and don't forget the AV's. Possibly the best campaign I've ever seen was Joe Hune's 2010 campaign, with his 2002 campaign (considering his resources) right there besides it. That's not a knock on the others. Cindy Denby (who was a major part of Joe's 2002 campaign) is another strong campaigner often overlooked due to her soft-spoken demeanor. Joe took his 2010 opponent seriously, had a top level plan, controlled what he was able to control, didn't try to be what he wasn't, and followed through on his plan. It wasn't a complicated plan, but covered all the major essentials of a Livingston County election.

I don't know what to expect Tuesday. I think some incumbents are in major league danger largely due to lack of campaigning. Ron Van Houten and Jim Mantey are good county commissioners, but they aren't good campaigners. I don't know if they are going to be caught looking or feel like they don't have to campaign. I think other incumbents are in trouble for shenanigans, like in Genoa Township. Todd Smith and Gary McCririe need to go. Gary survived in the past because his opposition wern't strong campaigners. Kevin Spicher is a stronger candidate than previous opposition. Linda Rowell and Keli Woodall are stronger candidates for trustee than in the past as well. Maybe Smith gets knocked out too, although four people will win.

For sheriff, I think Bezotte will hang on, partly due to self-destructive attacks from Tom Ash. Ash alienated people with this, his speech at the Brighton Tea Party, and the latest thing that was all over the papers. I don't like technicality games that get played, especially by law enforcement. Maier I though would have had a good chance if he was more visible. He had an opening, but I don't think he took advantage of it.

I have no idea how prosecutor is going to go. I think all three have a shot. I'm keeping my choice quiet here. I've known two candidates for 8 years, and have close friends heavily backing the other. This is a nasty race with a lot of hard feelings involved.

For Register of Deeds and Treasurer, I see a bit of a culture clash here. Unfortunately for Register of Deeds, one of the candidates has to lose. Carole Bullion has really impressed me on the campaign trail. Sally's done a good job and I've known her for years and can't justify firing her. If Sally wins, I hope Carole stays active and considers a run four years later if it is an open seat. For treasurer, I'm backing Brian Wutz over Jennifer Nash. Nash is a quasi-incumbent appointed by the board and picked by Dianne Hardy when she retired. I'm not a fan of when officials retire with a month left so their picks have a head up. It's common, but it doesn't mean I like it. Nash is a nice lady and would be a status quo on par likely with what Dianne's done in the past, but I like Brian's background as a tax attorney and his ideas. His degrees are in this field. He's a detailed oriented guy who would do a real good job there. I think the money can be invested wiser, and the tax auctions can be run at home better than by Lansing, like many other counties do things. I have a problem with $20 million in a single checking account, especially if FDIC limits are only unlimited temporarily until 12/31/2012.

Lastly, the clerk's race has been relatively uneventful. Margaret Dunleavy should win. She usually runs the best among our county officials, and for good reason. Margaret's done a great job and has a great staff in the office. I work with the election's office all the time, and Joan and Arlene do great work there, and it's not the easiest area with the laws and responsibilities on that department. They also got my CPL license quickly as well. Margaret's probably the most entrenched county official despite, and that's because people like her and the way she runs her office.

It'll be interesting to see what happens last minute, including on election day.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

MI-11 - Is this poll legit or does it matter?

I'm still skeptical about this. I think it will take at least 35,000 write-in votes to have a shot. If a quitter in MI-8 got 22,000 votes (in 2010) after announcing he's quitting over a write-in, It would take probably 35K to play ball, and Bentivolio's actually running a campaign. I don't like coronations so I hope Bentivolio wins. I think he'll hang on just because of the difficulty of a write-in election for a large office.

From the Free Press:

WASHINGTON –Winning a write-in campaign for a nomination to Congress is daunting, but former state Sen. Nancy Cassis appears to be heading in the right direction.
Cassis, of Novi, is leading her rival Kerry Bentivolio of Milford 52% to 36% in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the 11th Congressional idstrict, even though Bentivolio’s name is the only one on the ballot, a poll conducted for the Free Press, WXYX-TV (Channel 7) and three outstate stations shows.
Cassis was tapped by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and other local Republican leaders in June as the best candidate to run a write-in campaign against Bentivolio, a former teacher and reindeer rancher who has never been elected to public office.
Bentivolio got a leg up in the race when the incumbent, U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Livonia, dropped a write-in bid of his own after failing to make the ballot when his campaign submitted fradulent and duplicated signatures in support of his reelection effort.
The poll was done by EPIC-MRA of Lansing last Saturday and Sunday. It surveyed 800 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The thing with polls to remember are these.

1. Polls are at best a snapshot in time of the opinions of a good sample of the electorate. That's if they are done right. Early polls for November, I absolutely discount at this point because things change so often. Primary election polls are another matter.

2. Polls can be wrong, whether it be by sample, weight, or other matters. The rise of cell phones make things tougher, as does Caller ID. 

3. How do you poll a write-in? In most of Oakland County, there are other Republican races with a lot of hype as well. Townships, US Senate, Judicial. Is congressional at the top of the list? Maybe in Novi.

It'll be interesting to see what happens.

RetakeOurGov makes their endorsements

There's been a lot of chatter both ways about Retakeourgov's endorsements. They are listed on Retakeourgov's site

For those who don't know, Retake Our Gov is one of the major tea parties in Livingston County. It's leader is Wes Nakagiri. Wes is a good guy and generally runs a good ship with his organization. I believe this is the first year they are directly endorsing candidates. Their PAC leadership can endorse whoever they want. However, there should be a clear process for endorsements. A lot of the candidates who wanted their endorsement and didn't get it are irked because they said they were not contacted or interviewed, so they don't know how Retake our gov made it's decision.

I expect growing pains with PAC's and expect the process to be smoother in the future. That's how my experience as been when I was one of the people making endorsement decisions with PAC's. There's many ways decisions can be made regarding PAC's from endorsements to grades, to "negative endorsements" advocating to defeat certain individuals (such as "unacceptable" ratings).

When I was with the Concerned Taxpayers Group PAC of Livingston County, we had a professional interview process at a conference table. Five or six of us were there rating candidates based on their answers and their records, if any. Most of the questions were pre-selected, with some follow up questions from the panel who were all fiscal conservatives who varied in their politics (Some R, mostly I). All candidates were invited for interviews. Those who were not interviewed didn't get considered for endorsement. Those who did were considered and our group endorsed those candidates who scored the best based on the average grade among the five people. It is subjective, as it always is to a degree, but the process is objected as that all have a change to get it if they didn't have a bad record.

A PAC's endorsement process should be clear, known to candidates, and known to its members. Hopefully, any process confusion this year can be explained by Wes, and any future decisions will iron out the growing pains from an initial run.