party switch

Michigan GOP / gophouse.com

The Grand Rapids lawmaker who caused a scandal by switching political parties earlier this year will not return to Lansing. State Representative Roy Schmidt was defeated by his Democratic Party challenger, and political newcomer, Winnie Brinks.

“This wasn’t something I was planning, it was something people asked me to do (following Schmidt’s party switch).  I’m really excited about this opportunity to serve and to apply the skills I’ve learned in the last twenty years working in schools and non-profits to helping people in a more systematic way,” Brinks said.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The race to become the next state representative for Grand Rapids’ 76th District is getting even weirder. It’s now a four-way race between Democrat-turned-Republican Roy Schmidt, political newcomer Winnie Brinks for the Democrats, independent candidate Keith Allard and now a write-in candidate Bing Goei.

Goei made the announcement today. His write-in campaign to unseat Roy Schmidt in the Republican primary did surprisingly well. But Schmidt managed to hang on to the GOP nomination by a very slim margin.

Now Goei says people are begging him to run in the November election anyway.

“When people call on me I have this crazy thing about responding to them,” Goei said.

He admits his odds are not so good.

“If I understand history correct, that if (insert laughs from Goei and his supporters) well, when I win that it will be the first write-in candidate who has won a state house of representative position,” Goei said.

But pressed on this issue by a reporter Goei insisted his data shows his is a “very winnable campaign”.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Thursday morning the public got their first chance to sit down one-on-one with Democrat-turned-Republican Roy Schmidt since he switched political parties in May. The State Representative from Grand Rapids has been dealing with the political fallout ever since.

But at the coffee visit things seemed back to normal; assuming you ignore the massive media presence, which is not normal at these kinds of informal events.

Michigan GOP / file photo

Senate Minority leader Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer want a special investigation into the case of Democrat-turned-Republican State Representative Roy Schmidt.

The Kent County Prosecutor says Schmidt and House Speaker Jase Bolger tried to “perpetrate a fraud” on voters. But he says they didn’t commit any crimes. You can read his full report that was released last month here.

But Whitmer isn’t so sure. She believes there’s evidence to prove that Schmidt and others conspired to commit perjury and obstructed justice.

“My biggest fear is that people just brush it off as, you know, one of those odious things that happens in the capitol and it’s just not the case. It is very serious,” Whitmer said.

Michigan House Republicans / gophouse.com

Democrats are pushing for the changes in the wake of a plot by State Representative Roy Schmidt and Speaker of the House Jase Bolger so Schmidt could switch parties and be re-elected as a Republican.

Earlier this month the Kent County Prosecutor issued a report on his investigation.

Courtesy photo / Friends of Keith Allard

More people are lining up to oust Democrat-turned-Republican State Representative Roy Schmidt. Another candidate is kicking off his campaign Monday evening.

A few months ago, Schmidt caused chaos when he switched political parties just minutes before the filing deadline for candidates to appear on the ballot. The move left Democrats without a candidate and many Kent County Republicans with a candidate they’re not very excited about.

courtesy photo

A Grand Rapids business owner will challenge a party-switching state representative in the Republican primary on August 7th.

Bing Goei made the announcement at the headquarters of his floral business Friday morning.

Courtesy photo / Michigan Democratic Party

A Michigan house representative, who made a controversial switch from the Democratic to the Republican Party last month, will face a political novice in the fall.

Winnie Brinks filed paperwork today to run as a Democrat. She’s a case worker at a non-profit organization, and she’s never run for political office before.

“I think it’s time for some new eyes. It seems that the direction we’re heading in Lansing is not what our middle class needs; it’s not what our schools need. And not being part of that negative history, sure, I think that’s a good thing,” Brinks said.

Brinks has lived in Grand Rapids for 22 years. The 44-year-old has three daughters, aged 11, 14, and 16. She’s active in her public schools’ legislative committee and once worked for Godfrey Lee Public Schools. She says restoring education funding would be one of her top priorities.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do in a short period of time, but I am confident we can do it. We’ve got a lot of good energy. We’ve got a lot of support behind me,” Brinks said.

Several hundred people will need to write in Brinks name on the August primary ballot in order for her name to appear on the ballot in the general election in November.

State Democratic and Republican party leaders continue to fight over the recent party switch by a Michigan state representative.

State Democratic Party chairman Mark Brewer delivered a letter today to State House Speaker Jase Bolger’s Kalamazoo office demanding he reveal more about his role in the party switch of state representative Roy Schmidt.