Mark Schauer en Schauer selects Lisa Brown as running mate; Camp decides against seeking re-election <p></p><p>Each week we take a look at what’s happening in Michigan politics with Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.</p><p>Earlier today, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer announced that Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown will be his running mate for the upcoming 2014 election. Brown served two terms in the state House of Representatives and has served as the Oakland County Clerk since 2012, a position long held by Republicans.</p><p>Susan Demas indicates&nbsp;the selection of&nbsp;Brown will bolster the ticket because of her name recognition with voters in Southeast Michigan and she resonates well with female voters.&nbsp;</p><p>“Lisa Brown...gained a lot of attention in 2012 with the debate over the controversial abortion legislation, and was known for the ‘vagina-gate’ scandal when she was not allowed to speak on the floor.”</p><p>Meanwhile, a fourth member of Michigan’s congressional delegation&nbsp;announced&nbsp;he will not&nbsp;seek re-election. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Midland), the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, will step down, along with Mike Rogers, Carl Levin and John Dingell.</p><p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 20:41:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 17096 at Schauer selects Lisa Brown as running mate; Camp decides against seeking re-election Mark Schauer announces Lisa Brown as his running mate <p>Mark Schauer has made it official. He has chosen Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown to be his running mate in this year’s race for governor.</p><p>Schauer, a former congressman from Battle Creek, is the likely Democratic challenger to Gov. Rick Snyder in November.</p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 18:44:24 +0000 Jake Neher 17095 at Mark Schauer announces Lisa Brown as his running mate Talking about the politics behind Michigan's gubernatorial campaign <p>Rick Pluta joined us to talk about the politics behind Gov. Snyder’s re-election bid, about Snyder’s Super Bowl ad, and about Snyder’s likely Democratic opponent Mark Schauer.</p><p>Rick Pluta is the Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network and my co-host of It’s Just Politics.</p><p> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 13:55:03 +0000 Zoe Clark 16292 at Talking about the politics behind Michigan's gubernatorial campaign Gov. Snyder will formally launch his reelection campaign next week <p>Governor Rick Snyder will formally launch his reelection bid <span data-term="goog_297924670" tabindex="0">Sunday</span> with a Super Bowl TV ad, followed by a six-stop announcement tour <span data-term="goog_297924671" tabindex="0">on Monday</span> and <span data-term="goog_297924672" tabindex="0">Tuesday</span> of next week.</p><p>The announcement is no surprise.</p><p>The Republican governor has made clear for quite some time his intentions to seek a second four-year term.</p> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 01:38:35 +0000 Rick Pluta 16255 at Gov. Snyder will formally launch his reelection campaign next week GOP can’t control Agema while Dems confront the ‘Obama Quandary’ <p><em>Before we dive into this week's It's Just Politics, we gotta give a shout out to the Washington Post who named co-host Rick Pluta <a href="">one of Michigan's best state capitol reporters</a> in America.</em> <em>Cheers, Rick!</em></p><p>“We are reinventing Michigan,” said Gov. <a href="">Rick Snyder</a> in<a href=""> last night's State of the State address</a>; an address that could (in a much-abbreviated form) double as a reelection campaign speech. It was filled with a lot of good news of revenue surpluses, money for early childhood and schools, etc.</p><p>A little something for everyone.</p><p>For conservatives -- who have not fully embraced this governor -- Snyder joined the call for a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution. For moderates and independents, Snyder used the speech to try quell some of the controversy that’s being created within and about the Michigan Republican Party.</p><p>Here’s what he said: “Publicly tonight, I’d like to make a call to all citizens of Michigan, to ask us to have a greater degree of civility and respect towards others of different backgrounds and different views. The future of Michigan is dependent on having people understand that differences are a positive power, that we can find common ground and let’s work to bring Michiganders together, not divide us.” Fri, 17 Jan 2014 18:37:32 +0000 Rick Pluta & Zoe Clark 16072 at GOP can’t control Agema while Dems confront the ‘Obama Quandary’ Immigration, school year changes and other highlights from Gov. Snyder's State of the State address <link href='//' rel='stylesheet' type='text/css'><script type='text/javascript' src='//'></script><script type='text/javascript' src='//'></script> <p>Gov. Rick Snyder put services for immigrants and seniors at the top of his to-do list for 2014 in his State of the State speech yesterday.</p><p>The governor also promised to extend pre-school to every child in the state that wants to attend, and trumpeted the state’s economic recovery as he prepares to seek a second term.</p><p><span class="soundcite" data-id="129992011" data-start="0" data-end="3421">"We are reinventing Michigan," Snyder said. "Michigan is the comeback state."</span></p><p>Snyder noted that hiring is up, and more people are looking for work — although Michigan still has one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates and many families living in poverty.</p><p>But the governor says things are getting better and the state’s improved budget position and the prospect of a revenue surplus is evidence of that. He said much of that money — more than a billion dollars over the next three years — should be used on infrastructure, investments, and savings. But he also said taxpayers should get some of it back.</p><p>“There’s going to be some opportunity for tax relief,” Snyder said.</p><p> Fri, 17 Jan 2014 15:39:16 +0000 Rick Pluta 16067 at Immigration, school year changes and other highlights from Gov. Snyder's State of the State address Snyder and the appearance of political 'cronyism' <p>Control – the ability to command and direct events – is the elusive ambition of politicians. Politicians seek office promising to get things done or, in some rare cases, to stop something from getting done. But, mostly, they want to control their fates. We all want that, of course, but, it is not that simple.</p><p>Public life is complicated and messy.</p><p>Take, for example, <a href="">Gov. Snyder</a>. In just less than a week, Snyder will deliver his fourth State of the State address. He’ll wax on about the accomplishments of the last three years as he also proposes an agenda for this year and lays the groundwork for his reelection bid.</p><p>And, yes, we say his reelection bid. Though the governor has not yet announced he will seek reelection, as we’ve <a href="">talked about before</a> on <a href=""><em>It’s Just Politics</em></a>, Snyder is certainly already <a href="">acting like a candidate</a>. The governor’s reelection campaign has already bought airtime, just like they did four years ago, on Super Bowl Sunday. (One more reason we know Snyder will run again: He’s said the Detroit Lions will be in the Super Bowl before he leaves office… yet another thing he can’t control.)</p><p>Going into the 2014 election, Gov. Snyder and other Republicans would like to be focused on good news like<a href=""> revenue surpluses and balanced budgets</a>. But something always seems to get in the way. And, this week, that was the continuing drama surrounding former state Treasurer Andy Dillon’s personal and professional life. Sat, 11 Jan 2014 18:29:36 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 15974 at Snyder and the appearance of political 'cronyism' Why you don't hear about some presidential candidates <p></p><p>Two years ago, there were three truly national presidential candidates on the November ballot. Two were Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. But who was the third? Give up? It was Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate.</p><p>Like Obama and Romney, he was on almost every state ballot, except Oklahoma and, ironically, Michigan, where more than 7,000 people did write in his name. Part of the reason most of us don’t remember Johnson is because, in the end, President Obama got about 66 million votes. Romney got about 61 million. Gary Johnson got a little over a million and a quarter, or just under one percent.</p><p>Why did he do so poorly? Were his ideas that repellent? My guess is, not really.</p><p> Wed, 08 Jan 2014 13:40:47 +0000 Jack Lessenberry 15932 at Why you don't hear about some presidential candidates PAC spending is expected to be a big part of the 2014 election year in Michigan <p>2014 will be a big election year in Michigan and spending by <a href="">Political Action Committee</a>s is expected to be just as big.</p><p></p><p>Rich Robinson is the director of the <a href="">Michigan Campaign Finance Network.</a></p><p></p> Sat, 04 Jan 2014 19:16:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 15878 at PAC spending is expected to be a big part of the 2014 election year in Michigan Awkward: UAW official praises Democratic candidate for governor while the GOP incumbent listens <p>Today’s announcement that General Motors will spend $1.3 billion upgrading plants in Michigan proved to be a little awkward for one of the dignitaries on the dais.</p><p></p><p>It’s probably not a surprise that Governor Snyder got a few boos from union members in the audience, given that the first anniversary of the governor signing Right to Work into law was just last week.</p><p></p><p>Perhaps less expected, the Republican governor had to sit and listen as UAW regional director Norwood Jewell praised Snyder’s Democratic opponent in next year’s election.</p><p></p> Tue, 17 Dec 2013 02:50:48 +0000 Steve Carmody 15715 at Awkward: UAW official praises Democratic candidate for governor while the GOP incumbent listens 'Blue State' project targets Snyder, other GOP governors in states Obama won <p>We’re into the 2013 winter holiday season, which means we’re just a few weeks away from 2014 and a new round of big statewide elections.</p><p>That includes Governor Rick Snyder’s reelection bid -- which isn’t quite “official” yet, despite an <a href="">active campaign committee, ads, and political consultants</a>.</p><p>Still, it’s good to be a Republican governor these days. The presidential race is in the rearview mirror, the economy’s ticking up slowly, and people are looking at Washington and seeing nothing but gridlock and dysfunction.</p><p>But Democrats still see opportunity for putting one of their own into the governor’s office in Michigan, as well as eight other states that President Obama carried in 2008 and 2012. <a href="">Politico</a> says the Democratic Governors Association has secured a commitment from President Obama to fundraise, campaign, and provide material support to help pick up those states. Fri, 06 Dec 2013 18:44:44 +0000 Rick Pluta & Zoe Clark 15582 at 'Blue State' project targets Snyder, other GOP governors in states Obama won Poll shows Governor Snyder may face problems in next year's election <p>Governor Rick Snyder may be facing a tough re-election battle next year. A new poll shows the governor’s approval rating is holding in the mid-30s.</p><p><a href="">Michigan State University’s "State of the State" survey </a>polled Michiganders earlier this fall. The pollsters found only about 36% of Michiganders approved of the job Snyder is doing in office. That’s actually an improvement.&nbsp; Last spring, after the Right to Work battle, Snyder’s approval rating dropped below 30% in the survey.</p> Thu, 05 Dec 2013 19:11:53 +0000 Steve Carmody 15560 at Poll shows Governor Snyder may face problems in next year's election Dems cry foul over pay raises for state's investment managers <p>This week, on our tryptophan recovery edition of <a href=""><em>It’s Just Politics</em></a>, we’re talking money: salaries, wages, and how they’re becoming an issue in the <a href="">campaign for governor</a>.</p><p>Last week, gubernatorial-hopeful and former Democratic Congressman <a href="">Mark Schauer</a>, called for an <a href="">increase in the state minimum wage</a>. Schauer wants to increase the rate to $9.25 an hour over three years.</p><p>And, like we talked about <a href="">last week</a> - this is a subtle twist, not just hammering Governor <a href="">Rick Snyder</a> over his support for a pension tax, and school funding, but trying to give voters something to <em>support</em>, not just be against.</p><p>But giving voters things to be against is still an important part of any campaign narrative, and this week, for Democrats and Mark Schauer it was all about serendipity; a nexus of timing and opportunity. Fri, 29 Nov 2013 16:08:49 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 15483 at Dems cry foul over pay raises for state's investment managers Dems try to leverage minimum wage for maximum political benefit <p>Putative Democratic gubernatorial candidate <a href="">Mark Schauer</a> rolled out <a href="">his proposal</a> this week to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $9.25 over three years; which, as of right now, would make it one of the highest state-mandated minimum wage in the nation.</p><p>That’s sparked a debate over the efficacy of the minimum wage – does it encourage prosperity by pushing more money into the economy? Or does it stifle hiring and job creation?</p><p>But we’re here to discuss the red meat politics of the minimum wage. Mark Schauer’s announcement sets the stage for a classic class warfare throw down. So, instead of diving too deep into the policy side, let’s take on the political calculation that’s part of choosing that number of $9.25.</p><p>Polling shows <a href="">big support nationally</a> for a minimum wage of $9 an hour. There is some Michigan public opinion research that’s not quite as reliable, but still suggests it’s about the same - about 70 percent favor it.</p><p>But that support plummets as the suggested minimum wage goes up, especially above $10 dollars an hour. This shows the risk in using the minimum wage as a political wedge. To a point, it has populist appeal, but people still fear the consequences of setting wage floors. So the key is to find the sweet spot, and Mark Schauer seems to have settled on $9.25. (He says the policy-side reason is that number will make up for the erosion of its buying power over the last four decades.)</p><p>Which brings us to the next question: why now? Why not keep beating the Democratic drums - pension tax, school cuts, with a little right-to-work thrown in just to fire up the base.</p><p>The answer: Because the base<a href=""> isn’t fired up</a>. And the most recent polling shows Rick Snyder expanding his lead over Schauer. No matter how much Democrats may dislike what they’re seeing in Lansing, a lot of them are still not warming up to Mark Schauer, who is low-key, to say the least.</p><p>The minimum wage is supposed to be a jolt to try to put some electricity into his campaign. Fri, 22 Nov 2013 23:32:19 +0000 Rick Pluta & Zoe Clark 15405 at Dems try to leverage minimum wage for maximum political benefit Lessenberry talks minimum wage, issue ads and Detroit Public Schools <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Week in Michigan Politics </em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Christina Shockley and Jack </span>Lessenberry<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> discuss Mark </span>Schauer’s<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> proposal to </span><a href="" style="line-height: 1.5;">raise the minimum wage</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, the political </span><a href="" style="line-height: 1.5;">drama over issue ads</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, and the state of </span><a href="" style="line-height: 1.5;">Detroit Public Schools</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p> Wed, 20 Nov 2013 17:07:26 +0000 Jack Lessenberry, Christina Shockley & Emily Fox 15357 at Lessenberry talks minimum wage, issue ads and Detroit Public Schools Raising the minimum wage is the least we can do <p></p><p>How would you like to work 40 hours a week, every week of the year, for an annual income of $19,240 dollars? I didn’t think so.</p><p>The good news, if you could call it that, is that Mark Schauer, the Democratic candidate for governor next year, wants to raise the minimum wage to that level. Which would be, precisely $9.25 an hour. The bad news is that our current minimum is a lot worse at&nbsp;$7.40 an hour.&nbsp;</p><p>Someone working for it full-time makes only a little over $15,000. And the worst news is there is little chance of the minimum being raised to the level the candidate wants.</p><p> Tue, 19 Nov 2013 14:12:21 +0000 Jack Lessenberry 15339 at Raising the minimum wage is the least we can do In this morning's headlines: 460,000 without power, six wolves killed, minimum wage increase <p><strong>460,000 without power</strong></p><p>A storm with winds up to 70 miles per hour and heavy rain knocked down trees and power lines across Michigan yesterday. 460,000 homes and businesses are without power. Consumers Energy says power should be restored by late Wednesday for most customers and by Thursday for those in isolated areas.</p><p><strong>Six wolves killed in hunt</strong></p><p>"Michigan’s controversial wolf hunt wrapped up&nbsp; its first weekend with just six wolves killed in the first three days. Michigan wildlife officials have set a goal of 43 wolves in this year’s hunt," Steve Carmody <a href="">reports.</a></p><p><strong>Democratic gubernatorial candidate wants to raise minimum wage to $9.25</strong></p><p>"Mark Schauer says he'll make raising the minimum wage a top priority as Michigan governor. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate is proposing to increase Michigan's minimum wage from $7.40 an hour to $9.25 per hour over three years," the Associated Press reports.</p><p> Mon, 18 Nov 2013 12:55:06 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 15326 at In this morning's headlines: 460,000 without power, six wolves killed, minimum wage increase Michigan Attorney General to report future donors to his nonprofit fund <p><br />LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has decided that future donors to his nonprofit "social welfare" fund should be disclosed to the public.<br /><br />The decision announced late Friday comes in the wake of Governor Rick Snyder's decision to dissolve his 501c4 fund and create a new one.<br /><br />Schuette's On Duty for Michigan fund has been able to legally accept unlimited amounts of money from anonymous donors. Fund board member Gary Gordon says the money has "reduced the burden on taxpayers" and improved the effectiveness of Schuette's office. Sat, 26 Oct 2013 18:35:00 +0000 The Associated Press 15008 at Michigan Attorney General to report future donors to his nonprofit fund Politicians playing politics over a political-shutdown <p>A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. So, in the midst of the partial government shutdown, it seems everyone has taken turns placing blame. It&rsquo;s the Senator Ted Cruz shutdown, the Obama shutdown, the Tea Party shutdown.</p><p>The point here is not to own the shutdown, but to make someone else own it &ndash; to personalize it and dump it on the other side. We&rsquo;re not talking about the policy side of it here, but how political operations are using the shutdown.</p><p>For example, here in Michigan, Democratic Party fundraising messages are calling it &ldquo;Terry Lynn Land&rsquo;s shutdown.&rdquo; She has shut down the government, apparently, while still merely a candidate for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination.</p><p>And, as the federal government grinds to a standstill, political fundraisers and message-makers are working overtime. This is an environment that is, as they say, target rich. There are people whose jobs are to take these moments that command people&rsquo;s attention, incite passion, anger, frustration, and turn them into campaign cash and memorable political messages.</p><p>But when everyone&rsquo;s talking about the same thing, it can also be difficult to break through the cacophony. And a lot of people seem to be working off the same talking points. Democrats have one set: critical services in peril; a country held hostage by the Tea Party. Republicans, another: Democrats did this. They won&rsquo;t negotiate. Fri, 04 Oct 2013 16:47:53 +0000 Zoe Clark & Rick Pluta 14729 at Politicians playing politics over a political-shutdown Actions speak louder than Tough Nerd’s words <p>So, is it too soon to start thinking about Election 2014?</p><p>If you think so, think again. (Or maybe turn off your TV.)</p><p>“One Tough Nerd” is back on the air with a <a href="">60-second ad</a> called “Michigan is Back,” and it’s basically the launch of Governor Rick Snyder’s campaign for a second term. That’s despite the fact that Snyder continues to insist that he’s not an “official” candidate and, furthermore, that it wouldn’t be a good idea right now: “When you have the official candidate kind of role, it makes it more confusing for people.”</p><p>He also said last weekend at a <a href="">Republican conference on Mackinac Island</a> that an early launch isn’t necessary because, unlike his political debut in 2010, people now know who he is and he doesn’t have to build name identification.</p><p>Yet, not even a week passed before the governor’s reelection campaign made what appears to be a significant ad buy, maybe more than $500,000. Not only is he on the air earlier than anyone else, he’s up four months earlier in the cycle than last time around when he was unknown.</p><p>So what gives? It’s interesting that a governor who makes a point of being a non-politician (or, as he prefers, “not your typical politician") is now cutting distinctions that only a politician would make – the kinds of fine-pointed legalisms that typically get teenagers grounded. Governor Snyder is a candidate and should be viewed as such.</p><p>We here at <em><a href="">It’s Just Politics</a></em> have <a href="">never accepted</a> that Snyder was committed to any course other than seeking a second term. And once again, his actions and behavior (as well as most of his words) have borne that out. So why would Snyder belie his own analysis by going up so early? Here are some ideas:</p><ul><li><strong>Habit</strong>. The last time around, Snyder also launched early. We were introduced to “One Tough Nerd” on Super Bowl Sunday 2010, when he was a largely unknown businessman running against some better-known established political names. It worked before.</li><li><strong>Numbers</strong>. Most polls this far out show the governor running at least a little ahead of <a href="">Mark Schauer</a> - the almost-certain Democratic candidate. But, Snyder is still below that crucial 50 percent mark in every poll that we’re aware of. He’d certainly like to move that number up to a more-comfortable place, preferably before another poll comes out. That would appease Republican funders, too. &nbsp;And this might be the moment, the public seems to be responding reasonably well to some of his very assertive actions in Detroit.</li><li><strong>Image</strong>. If Rick Snyder wants to remain on top, he’s got to retain control of his image. And maybe the best way is to get out before the Democrats get busy trying to define and redefine impressions of “One Tough Nerd” in the public mind. (Democrats have already crafted their counter-persona, “One Weak Geek.”) Fri, 27 Sep 2013 18:24:00 +0000 Rick Pluta & Zoe Clark 14625 at Actions speak louder than Tough Nerd’s words