About 1,500 Republicans are meeting on Mackinac Island this weekend to get ready for the 2014 and 2016 elections.
There are several prospective Republican presidential candidates auditioning here before Michigan Republicans. But the real focus is on next year and races for governor and U.S. Senator, among others.
“This kind of a huge pep rally for us,” said Saul Anuzis, a former Michigan Republican Party chairman. “We rally the troops, fire up the volunteers, meet the candidates, and get ready for the next election cycle.”
Anuzis says there is still plenty of time before next year’s election to quell the anger of tea partiers with Governor Rick Snyder. They’re upset over his support for the Medicaid expansion, as well as other policy differences.
Hank Fuhs is a long-time Michigan Republican activist. He says the Tea Party is still evolving.
“It’s really maturing. They’re getting involved, they’re understanding the process – because if you don’t understand the process, you think they’re trying to pull something on you. There ain’t no tricks on the books on people. What you see is what you get.”
Governor Snyder and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus address the conference tonight.