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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    Kent County Republican Committee - Project 2010 Kickoff

    By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
    Posted on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 07:20:07 PM EST
    Tags: (all tags)

    My original intention was to post my report of the Kent County Republican Committee (KCRC) Executive Committee Meeting and County Convention of November 25th during Thanksgiving Weekend.  Since that didn't turn out so well, and since another Executive Committee Meeting has occurred in the interim (15 December), I'm going to put my best effort into combining my notes from all three meetings into a single story.  That effort follows the break.

    My first impression of KCRC Headquarters when I arrived for the November 25th meetings was that this place was just as busy as it had been a month ago, during the final week of the 2008 election campaign.  But the busyness was different; instead of tables and phone-banks and charts (oh my), the "big room" has been converted into a miniature convention hall.  This is a very active and energized crowd, and they are ready to get back to work.  Because we were so busy talking to each other, it took quite some time for Joanne Voorhees (KCRC Chair) to obtain order and get the meeting started.

    Joanne gave the floor to the three incumbent County Commissioners who'd lost in the 2008 election.  She mentioned that these three candidates, among others, have incurred debt in the process of running their campaigns, and asked the individual attendees to do what they can to help these candidates erase their debt, so that they can begin preparing for rematches in 2010.

    • Harold Mast mentioned that he's been in politics for some time with an undefeated record; a loss was going to happen sooner or later.  He thanked all of the volunteers who had worked for him.

    • Jack Bolema said that he has been doing this for 24 years, and isn't finished yet.  Clearly this was not the GOP's year, but all other things being equal, the losses at the county level were close.

    • Nadine Klein pointed out that KCRC needs to start recruiting women and minority candidates in order to counter the notion that the Republican Party is made up of "old white men."  The Democrats were too well-organized and well-financed this year, and we need to learn from that.

    Shana Shroll read the official call to convention and the temporary convention officers were appointed.  Following this, Joanne Voorhees (Convention Chair) and Shana (Convention Secretary) were nominated and elected to permanent status in their positions.  Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land performed the oath of office for the convention.

    Jon Nunn delivered the Committee on Credentials report of non-attendees and permanent vacancies.  I realize that it has to be read this way (legal procedures and all), but honestly, it would have been quicker had he just told us who was in attendance and where the vacancies weren't.  Then Bob Kinney delivered the Permanent Organization and Order of Business Report.

    Congressman Vern Ehlers addressed the assembly.  He thanked the delegates and the party, and briefly reiterated Joanne's request to help the county commission candidates who are dealing with campaign debt.  He acknowledged that we're unhappy and disappointed, and the next two years will not be fun.  Barack Obama didn't look all that impressive when he chose to run for the Presidency, but he put together an impressive financing machine.  One thing that he did was to flag Congressional races to anyone who donated to him online, and solicit donations for that campaign as well.  Thus, Michigan Democrats were receiving money from donors nationwide, and not just in-state.

    Congressman Ehlers pointed out that this is the important first meeting on rebuilding.  Winning in 2010 is important.  KCRC is nationally recognized as well-organized and well-funded, and a capable state finance chair is critical to moving forward.  He concluded by encouraging the assembly to not be too glum, these things do come back around.

    Terri Lynn Land addressed the assembly, beginning with the election numbers game.  In contrast to media reports about "huge voter turnout," Michigan only had about 300,000 more voters than usual; in some counties the turnout was the lowest ever.  The more likely explanation is that many voters sat the election out due to displeasure (for whatever reason) with the Republican ticket.  No recounts are expected, and she highlighted the Scott and DeShazor pickups this cycle.  Secretary Land also spoke to the talent of the candidates that she campaigned for, many of whom will be trying again in two years.  She also focused the committee on the campaign to fill Mark Schauer's seat, and reminded us to question the State Chair candidates carefully about their intentions and plans.

    Then we broke out into our County Caucuses to elect our district chairs.  Once we reconvened, Jon Nunn read off the list of district caucus winners.

    During the 2008 campaign, there was a side competition taking place at KCRC.  College Republicans from the campuses of the various colleges and universities in Kent County were competing to see who could contact the most voters.  Over 150,000 voters were contacted from KCRC Headquarters, and about 1/3 of that total was accomplished by the College Republicans.  Joanne awarded the College Cup to Aquinas College (Jake Gellsma accepting).  In accepting the trophy, Jake also recognized the considerable contribution from the GVSU internship.

    Hank Fuhs publicly recognized the members of Michigan Veterans for McCain who were in attendance.  He also spoke about the 2010 apportionment and why we need to raise money to engage in this fight.  The census and apportionment will largely decide the political landscape in Michigan for the next 10 years, and right now the State Senate is our only defense against a Democrat-dictated drawing of that landscape.

    Ambassador Peter F. Secchia addressed the assembly.  He recalled that he came to KCRC thirty-two years ago to run for Committee Chair, not having much political experience at the time.  In December of 1976 the Republican Party wasn't feeling too good about itself, and the picture was very bleak; but KCRC came back and - with his leadership - organized the county to the point that every single precinct went for Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election.  They did it by establishing a sound grassroots working relationship with township and city officials, as well as with county and state elected representatives.  They also established and executed single-point coordination of all township and county races, and earned a nationally-recognized reputation in the process.  Yes, we have a screwed-up situation now, but we can rebuild now as we did then, and accomplish great things through it.

    Ambassador Secchia also said that, in his judgment, if you have elected officials who demand leadership, then they should win that leadership from their peers, in their caucus, from the people wearing the same party uniform and sharing the same "locker room."  Siding with your opponents is not, as the Grand Rapids Press stated, "reaching out," it is changing your uniform in the middle of the game.  Once you do that, no private political strategy is unshared, and no appointments are fairly represented.  It is "pretend" leadership without a team uniform . . . leadership that will never be able to decide who owes what to whom.

    Kim Yob introduced the slate of committee officers for the 2009 - 2010 campaign for election and approval:

    • Committee Chair - Joanne Voorhees
    • Committee Vice-Chair - Chris Beckering
    • Committee Secretary - Mandy Boulter
    • Committee Treasurer - Jim Southfield

    The slate was unanimously approved as presented.

    Chuck Yob addressed the assembly, beginning by delivering the bad news first.  It turns out that MIGOP was fighting with RNC over how the McCain Campaign should be run within Michigan, and this was the reason that John McCain pulled out of Michigan.  In Mr. Yob's opinion, it is not the responsibility of the party committee - at any level - to get involved in primaries or conventions that they are not themselves responsible for convening, and they absolutely must stay out of intra-party struggles.  It is for these reasons that he is supporting Ron Weiser for State Chair.  Mr. Weiser is known as a money-raiser (9-2 against Jon Stryker's checkbook in the 2008 election) who promises to unite MIGOP and lead it to victory in 2010.

    Norm Shinkle, candidate for State Chair, addressed the assembly, beginning by reinforcing Ambassador Secchia's view that the Republican Party's situation now is similar to the post-Watergate situation.  In his view, all three leading candidates for State Chair are high-quality Republicans, and statewide organization is critical to MIGOP being able to move forward (not to the center).  Mr. Shinkle is proposing an adopt-a-precinct program for the special election to replace Mark Schauer in the 19th State Senate District.  Jon Stryker and his agenda must become household knowledge; in Mr. Shinkle's experience, people are eager to oppose him (and any politician/issue he supports) once they know what he's about.

    Jack Hoogendyk, candidate for State Chair, addressed the assembly, beginning by calling for a return to the party core principles, firing up the grassroots, and fund-raising.  He recalled Reagan idealism as the reason that we turned things around leading into 1980, and that's how we do it again.  He referred to a Detroit News article in which Pete Hoekstra declared that he would not be running for re-election to Congress in 2010.  Even though Congressman Hoekstra's intentions were not made clear, the buzz from the floor is that he has all but declared his intention to run for the open gubernatorial seat.  Jack specifically quoted this line:

    "Hoekstra said he believes he can raise plenty of money to compete, even if his total doesn't frighten away the competition.  Hoekstra said, "People look at me and say, `This guy can't raise money.'  I'm an idea guy.  Republicans do best not when we're the best funded, but when we have the best ideas."

    State Senator Mark Jansen addressed the assembly and thanked the county commission candidates who stepped into the campaign arena.  Even if they didn't win, they at least got involved; he knows too many people who complain that something should be done, but refuse to lift a finger to do anything themselves.  The potential for Governor Granholm to be nominated for a position in the Obama Cabinet - for which she received thunderous applause from the floor - would, if it were to occur, provide the State Senate with an opportunity to appoint a replacement for the Lieutenant-Governor vacancy . . . perhaps a Republican.  He also pointed out that the challenge within the legislature should be to balance the state's budget in a Republican way, as opposed to protecting things that shouldn't be protected.  Senator Jansen reinforced Mr. Shinkle's assertion that Jon Stryker and his agenda must be connected to any Democrat who dares to take his money.  He concluded by emphasizing that we must do whatever it takes to win the special election to fill the Schauer vacancy.

    Joanne Voorhees recognized the contributions of the Precinct Delegates and GOP Women, as well as the KCRC elected officials at the county and state levels.  She reminded all that the next meeting is Thursday, January 29th, 2009, and concluded by remarking that defeat should serve to charge us up.

    < Jenny's End Of Year Discussion | Horsepower-O-Ramma >

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