Michigan GOP

Thirty years ago, I was briefly involved in the dog show world, when we had a collie that went on to become a champion.

That was during the long ago and now long-forgotten race in which President Ronald Reagan was running for re-election against Walter Mondale.

Both offered vastly different views of America. There were a some people who were very passionate about that campaign, either because they loved Reagan, hated his policies or were excited about the first woman on a major party ticket, Geraldine Ferraro.

But when I came off the campaign and consorted with regular humans, I learned that wasn’t true for most. The show dog people I knew, for example, were more bitterly passionate about their rivals and paid more attention to the idiosyncrasies of the various judges than most people did the election.

Most of them could recite their dogs’ pedigrees at the drop of a hat, or point at a collie and say – “see, you can tell from his hindquarters that he’s out of Champion La Estancia Travolta.” The woman who told me that did ask me once “who’s that guy running against Reagan?” but I think she did so to be polite.

What I took away from this is that America is a land of a million subcultures, and increasingly, politics is just one of those.

There are big differences between the candidates for governor this time, and the candidates are spending tens of millions to try and get your attention in the hope that you might actually vote. But we know already that most people won’t. Apart from the candidates themselves, I’ve seen just two races this year where people seem energized and excited.

How is the Republican Party faring in its quest for votes in Detroit?

It was last December when the GOP brought in U.S. Sen. Rand Paul to christen its new voter engagement office in Detroit.

Bridge Magazine writer Nancy Derringer recently visited the office to check in on things. Derringer says selling the Republican Party in Detroit, a city with enormous African-American majorities, is a more daunting task than you might think. And even the party itself says it's a long-term effort.

Detroit-based freelance writer Aaron Foley says the African-American community tends to get turned off easily by even the word "Republican."

"A lot of people still vote Democrat even though where they worship and where a lot of their faith is more of a Republican thing," says Foley.

Derringer says the GOP's message to Detroit voters is to emphasize the similarities they share with them. 

"You have to admit that we have a lot in common. You are for faith and families, we are for faith and families; you want good schools, we want good schools; you want to feel safe in homes, that's what we are all about," says Derringer.

* Listen to our conversation with Aaron Foley and Nancy Derringer above.

Okay, now, here’s a test: How many members of the state board of education can you name?  Don’t feel bad.

I can’t name them all either.

What’s more, many people don’t even realize we elect these folks, and the trustees who run our three major universities. This might not be a bad idea if the campaigns involved honest debates over education policy.

But that almost never happens.

Instead, we rely on the political parties to select nominees who will devote themselves to mastering the issues and helping run our educational institutions with integrity.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

Republicans and Democrats held their state party conventions over the weekend.

The GOP met in the Detroit suburb of Novi. Democrats were in Lansing. Their purpose was to nominate a slate of statewide candidates, and promote party unity going into November, and they succeeded. Partially.

The conventions’ legal purpose is to select candidates for the November ballot, but they’re also a chance to fire up the party faithful. And there’s always a goal of broadcasting the impression of an excited, unified party, and, frankly, to avoid big drama that makes big news.

Michigan Legislature
Michigan Municipal League

It looks likely there will be more Tea Party Republicans in the Legislature next year. And one of the likely new tea partiers in the state House says they may want one of their own to be the new Republican leader.

Todd Courser won the GOP primary in a very Republican-leaning seat. That means he’s probably likely headed to Lansing next year. And he says Tea Partiers in the Legislature will be looking for something different in the new House leadership team.

“What I would like to see is a vocal conservative voice that is willing to stand, really, and make sure that we’re moving legislation forward that actually meets the criteria of being conservative, and fits the platform of the party,” says Courser.

Courser was on the Michigan Public Television show Off The Record.

He says larger budgets, the Medicaid expansion, and the Common Core curriculum standards don’t fit that definition. He says the freshman Tea Party class in the state House might put forward one of its members as a candidate for House Republican leader for the coming session of the Legislature.  

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Over the weekend, Michigan Republicans chose a new member of the Republican National Committee to take the seat vacated when Terri Lynn Land stepped down to run for Carl Levin's Senate seat. 

The new member is someone with quite a Michigan-centric political pedigree.

Ronna Romney McDaniel is Mitt Romney's niece, and the granddaughter of Michigan's 43rd governor, George Romney. 

What does her election mean for Michigan's profile on the Republican National Committee? 

We're joined by Michigan Public Radio Network Lansing Bureau Chief, Rick Pluta. 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Republicans have taken no official steps to rebuke the kinds of anti-gay comments made recently by GOP National Committee member Dave Agema.

The party's meeting on Saturday in Lansing didn't deal with a measure proposed by western Michigan activist Jason Watts, submitted after the deadline for resolutions. It doesn't mention Agema but disavows the party of "demagogic rhetoric that is incendiary and unbecoming of civil discourse."

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Tea Party activists are threatening to put up primary challengers against Republican lawmakers who vote to expand Medicaid in Michigan.

The bill would add hundreds of thousands of Michiganders to the Medicaid rolls under the federal healthcare law.

The legislation cleared the state House last week. The state Senate is likely to take up the legislation this week.

Tea Party groups claim it would be the biggest expansion of state government in more than four decades.  They say Republican votes in favor of the bill warrant a primary challenge next year.

Medicaid expansion in trouble in Mich. Legislature

Mar 23, 2013
Governor Rick Snyder is hosting the 2014 North American International Summit.
michigan.gov

Governor Rick Snyder and health advocates have their work cut out for them persuading the GOP-led Legislature to expand Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands more residents.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Over the weekend, both the Democratic and Republican parties held their conventions.

The 18-year run for Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer has come to an end. Brewer will be replaced by Lon Johnson, of Kalkaska.

On the other side of the aisle Republican Chairman Bobby Schostak was reelected.

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Rick Pluta, the Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network.

You can listen to the full Stateside interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Republicans are sticking with their party leader as the GOP tries to keep complete control of state government in 2014.

Bobby Schostak was narrowly re-elected chairman Saturday at Republicans' state convention in Lansing. He fended off a challenge from tea party enthusiast Todd Courser.

Michigan House Republicans release their 2013-2014 plan

Jan 30, 2013
Tim Martin / mlive.com

Earlier today, Michigan House Republicans announced their plan for  the 2013-2014 legislative session.

They call their plan, "Brighter Days Ahead: 2013-14 House Republican Action Plan for Hard-Working Michigan Taxpayers.

Speaker of the House John Bolger (R-Marshall) said this in their press release this morning:

"We are once again presenting the people we serve with a detailed, common-sense approach to resolving challenges that Michigan's hard-working men and women are facing,"

House Republicans say they plan on tackling the following issues:

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Kent County Prosecutor says a state representative who switched political parties minutes before an election filing deadline may have committed election fraud. But the review concludes Democrat-turned-Republican Roy Schmidt did not do anything criminal.

You can view the full report here.

The prosecutor’s investigation shows Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids) worked with House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) to switch parties and run as a Republican.

You couldn’t say yesterday was a slow news day. We learned that Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, would join Governor Rick Snyder today to announce the new bridge over the Detroit River.

The Michigan House of Representatives voted to slash the state income tax over the next six years, without, however, explaining how the state is expected to pay for the services it needs.

wmrice / Flicker

It's a big day in Wisconsin as voters in that state are deciding whether or not to recall their Republican Governor Scott Walker. Here in Michigan, however, Republican Governor Rick Snyder is faring a little better.

The Michigan Republican Party holds its convention in Detroit today.

The state GOP is choosing delegates to the party’s national convention in Tampa-Florida this summer.

Supporters of Ron Paul say they were denied delegates they deserved.

Paul failed to win a single committed delegate in Michigan’s February 28th presidential primary. But Paul supporters hoped to lay claim to a large share of the state’s officially uncommitted delegates. They got six out of 30 voting delegates headed to Tampa. But Paul supporter John Ettinger of Linden in Genesee County says they deserved more.

"It was a completely rigged numbers game no matter what," says Ettinger.

Matt Frendeway is the Michigan Republican Party spokesman. He says Paul supporters simply failed to win enough delegates to the state convention to get what they want.

“That’s what campaigns are about," says Frendeway.

Frendeway says the party followed long-established rules for allocating national convention delegates. Most of Michigan’s delegates went to Mitt Romney, who won the state’s GOP primary.