Michigan Republican Party

Ken Sikkema says if Donald Trump loses the presidential election there will be some who will say he lost the election himself, but others will say he lost the election because Republicans didn't support him.
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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is putting members of his own party in Michigan in a tough spot. With slumping poll numbers, there are some concerns that he could have a negative impact on down-ballot races in the Great Lakes State.

With Trump at the top of the ticket, what is the state of the Michigan Republican Party? There's party infighting, concerns about possibly losing the state House in November, and some candidates simply refusing to endorse or even answer questions about their party's presidential nominee, Donald Trump. 

Trump merchandise
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A state Republican leader is losing her party position because she won’t back Republican nominee Donald Trump for president. Wendy Lynn Day was elected grassroots vice chair at a state party convention last year. In the role, she served as a liaison between the Republican Party and the tea party movement.

Day backed Senator Ted Cruz in the primary, but said she cannot support Trump, whom she does not consider a Republican.

michigan.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Republicans and Democrats held their summer nominating conventions over the weekend. 

Our It's Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta sat down with us today to break down both conventions.

Gov. Rick Snyder at the state GOP convention
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Michigan Republicans were in Grand Rapids this past weekend to finalize their slate for the November ballot, and to fire up for the final weeks of the election season.

Michigan Democrats will be gathering at the Lansing Center on Saturday for their state convention.
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The Democrats are gathering for their state convention in Lansing tomorrow, and the Republicans are holding their convention in Grand Rapids today and tomorrow.

Ken Sikkema​ and Susan Demas joined us today for our weekly political roundup.

"Here's what I know: We have to stop Donald Trump!" former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm told the DNC.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Speaking at last night’s Democratic National Convention, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton understands what the U.S. needs. 

“Our next president knows that our nation is a village. That we are one family. And in a family, no one gets left behind,” says Granholm. 

Granholm cited the Flint water crisis as an example. “When Flint’s water poisons its children, it hurts all of us.  These are our children. We are all Flint!” she told the DNC audience.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s lead tainted drinking water has been a crisis for more than a year.  

Now it’s also national political issue.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver strode to the podium at the Democratic National Convention last night after delegates watched video tracing the history of the crisis dating back to April of 20-14.

Once at the podium, Weaver stated the situation bleakly.

“The problems in Flint are not over,” Weaver told the packed sports arena. “The water is still not safe to drink or cook with from the tap. Our infrastructure is broken, leaking, and rusting away.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Republicans picked their 59 delegates to the national convention over the weekend. Now, the lobbying begins for their votes.

At their state party convention in Lansing, 25 delegates were chosen to represent businessman Donald Trump.  Trump received the most votes in Michigan’s Republican primary.   Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich each received 17 delegates. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

In a divided year, unity was a recurring theme at this year’s Michigan Republican Party Convention.

“Are you ready to win in 2016!” shouted Michigan state GOP chair Ronna Romney-McDaniel at the convention in Lansing.

The chief duty of the state convention is to pick delegates to the national convention this summer.   The three-way race has created divisions within the party.    

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Republicans are meeting in Lansing this weekend to select delegates to the party’s presidential-nominating convention this summer in Cleveland.

The delegates are divided between billionaire Donald Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Ohio Governor John Kasich.

There was concern about schemes to recruit shadow delegates who would not represent their declared candidates’ interests beyond voting for them on a first ballot in a deadlocked convention.

“We’re taking the Ronald Reagan strategy – trust but verify,” says Scott Hagerstrom, Trump’s Michigan director.

Courser-Gamrat websites

  LAPEER, Mich. (AP) - A former state lawmaker forced out of office in a sex scandal says criminal charges against are him are "nonsensical" and "political."

  Todd Courser responded Saturday on Facebook, a day after Attorney General Bill Schuette charged him with perjury and misconduct in office.

  Courser, a Republican from Lapeer County, resigned in September as his House colleagues were poised to kick him out. He had an affair with another lawmaker, Cindy Gamrat, but their legal troubles are tied to their attempt to cover it up.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Just a little over nine months from today, Americans will choose their next leader. This election year has already seen its fair share of presidential candidates rushing to comment on every major news story, but when does a politician cross the line from commenting on news to politicizing events such as the Flint water crisis?

Ronna Romney McDaniel is the chair of the Michigan Republican Party. Regarding the drinking water situation in Flint, McDaniel says, “It’s very clear that there were failures at the local, state and federal level.”

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley at a news conference in Flint, Michigan.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley declined to answer questions about calls for Governor Rick Snyder to resign. 

Democrats say the Republican governor should step down because of his handling of the Flint water crisis.

If he did, Calley would become governor.

In Flint today, Calley declined to speculate on Snyder resigning.

“I know the governor is completed committed to seeing this through,” he said.

Conservative Bro, the App

The Michigan Republican Party is standing behind a party official who shared an offensive post about Muslims on several social media platforms.

Wayne Bradley, the GOP's state director of African-American Engagement, said he apologizes if he offended anybody.

"I thought it was light hearted and funny," Bradley said, "And once I realized that some people took it the wrong way, I took it down."

"It wasn't until the Michigan Democratic Party made it an issue that I was aware it had offended anyone," said Bradley.

No-reason absentee voting bill pushed in Michigan House

Dec 5, 2015
user eyspahn / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Republicans' push to eliminate Michigan's straight-party voting option may improve the odds of voters being allowed to cast absentee ballots for any reason.

A lawmaker is pushing for passage of "no-reason" absentee voting legislation next week. Voters could ask for an absentee ballot application in person at their clerk's office without needing an excuse.

They currently must be 60 years or older, be out of town when polls are open or meet other criteria.

Photo courtesy of www.gophouse.com

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A Republican Michigan lawmaker has apologized for comments he made during a hearing that were deemed racially insensitive by Democratic leaders and a teachers' union.


Television stations WDIV and WXYZ report Troy Sen. Marty Knollenberg apologized Friday after criticism over comments he made during an education committee hearing. In speaking about struggling school districts, Knollenberg said the "non-white population" is a contributor, "we can't fix that" and "you can't make an African-American white."

Jeb Bush
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

There’s a busy spring in store for Michigan Republicans looking to see the party’s presidential hopefuls in action.

Four potential GOP candidates have plans to visit the Great Lakes State during April and May.

Wikimedia Commons

This week, Jack Lessenberry and Zoe Clark talk about headlines that marked the end of the beginning for some major Michigan issues. Ballot language for the roads funding bill, school money to fill the budget gap, and GOP officials with criminal records are all stories that look like they’re just getting started. 


Michigan's Republicans held their winter convention this weekend. Ronna Romney McDaniel was elected as the new Michigan GOP chair after former chair Bobby Schostak decided not to run for another term.

Ronna Romney McDaniel’s famous name is “a big selling point for her,” MLive’s Capitol reporter Jonathan Oosting said after speaking with McDaniel.

McDaniel’s uncle is Mitt Romney, former presidential candidate and Michigan native. Her mother, also named Ronna Romney, was a Republican National Committee woman in Michigan, and her grandfather is former governor George Romney.

Michigan Republicans face a challenge with Dave Agema

Jan 8, 2015
Dave Agema
Dave Agema / Facebook

This year is starting off with some controversy for Michigan Republicans. Republican National Committeeman, Dave Agema, re-posted an article on his Facebook page that leveled attacks at African-Americans and Muslims.

This is not the first time Agema has courted controversy and there are renewed calls for him to step down.

Is it time to renovate the state capitol building in Lansing?
Matthileo / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

This Week in Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss how 2015 is shaping up for Michigan. The Legislature is new, but many of the state’s problems are the same.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak is not seeking another two-year term, which means someone else, will lead the party through the 2016 election cycle.

US Supreme Court

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss a Michigan couple whose case could determine constitutional same-sex marriage rights, a challenge to Michigan’s right-to-work law, and a Republican-proposed plan for changes to the Electoral College.

Gov. Rick Snyder has been elected to a second term.
Wikimedia Commons

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry review Election Day in Michigan including voter turnout, victories and disappointments for both parties, and what yesterday’s results could mean for the next four years.

Kerry Bentivolio wants you to know that much of what you’ve heard about him is wrong.

For the last two years, the media has called him the “accidental congressman.” He prefers, unexpected congressman.

He got to Washington after winning the Republican nomination in his suburban Detroit district when the incumbent, Thaddeus McCotter, was tossed off the primary ballot for fraudulent petition signatures. The GOP establishment recruited a former state senator to run a write-in campaign against him in the primary. She lost badly, and Bentivolio went on to win in November.

But this year, he in turn was defeated in the Republican primary by attorney and mortgage foreclosure king David Trott. But Bentivolio is running a full-press write-in campaign to try and keep his job.

Bentivolio has a reputation for not talking to the media, so I was surprised when he called me out of the blue yesterday afternoon. He was genial, warm and witty.

Basically, he feels that Trott and the GOP establishment stabbed him in the back, have worked for two years to ruin his reputation, and he isn’t going to take it anymore.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Republican Party is preparing to hold a March 2016 presidential primary and not jump out of order like in 2012, when the state moved earlier to be more relevant.

The GOP's state committee will meet in Lansing Saturday to approve a March 15 primary. The date could change because the Legislature has final say.

If a Republican contender secures more than half the votes, he or she would win all 58 delegates. Otherwise, delegates mostly would be awarded based on results in congressional districts.

user Tyrone Warner / Flickr

Thursday is the day we talk Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.

Today we talk about the challenges facing Republicans in the Legislature as they figure out how to address lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights in the state.

Here’s our conversation:

Both major political parties have their state conventions this week. Republicans are meeting in Novi; Democrats in Lansing.

There’s always an element of the high school reunion about these conventions; people, including the press, look forward to them in part because they get to see old friends.

However, there are also squabbles.

Most of this year’s focus has been on the Republican gathering, where Tea Party insurgents are attempting to throw Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley off the ticket.

Democrats, however, have their own struggle behind the scenes.

In case you are new to this, these conventions actually nominate most of each party’s candidates for statewide office.

They used to say that the definition of a recession was when your neighbor lost his job, and a depression was when you lost yours.

Well, after this week’s monumental Detroit-area rainstorm and flood, we now have a new definition for our dictionary of popular economics. You can say that wasteful government spending is when Washington or Lansing helps someone else.

Proper allocation of scarce resources is when they help -- you.

That may sound like a joke, but all too many people subconsciously feel that way.

You need only drive through the streets of communities like blue-collar Warren and more affluent Huntington Woods to get a sense of the scope of this week’s destruction.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts has called on Washington for assistance, saying “if the federal government can help flood-damaged communities in various countries, I think they can help flood damage in the city of Warren.”

Good luck with that.

Cue the James Bond theme as we take up electoral espionage. We’re talking campaign black ops. Political spying.

We learned this week that Republicans here in Michigan sent two young operatives equipped with a tiny video camera in a pair of glasses to infiltrate a Mark Schauer for Governor campaign event -- looking for whatever they might find. And what did they get? Found out.

Our ace operatives bungled the job. Dropped the disc with the video where it was found by Democrats. Who, then, made it public, including their brief conversation with Dem lieutenant governor candidate Lisa Brown.

Republicans didn’t deny the operatives were theirs.

Democrats and the Schauer campaign cried foul calling it sneaky, dirty tricks. They got some newspaper headlines. Effective messaging helped along by the fact that it fit did neatly into a narrative courtesy of some missteps -- or what seemed to be missteps -- by Governor Rick Snyder’s campaign.