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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    I-Caucus of Michigan and the Michigan Republican Senate Primary

    By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
    Posted on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 08:25:08 AM EST
    Tags: U.S. Senate - class 1 seats, "Dangerously Incompetent" Debbie Stabenow, Michigan Republican 2012 U. S. Senate Primary, Scott Boman, Roi Le Chinn, Clark Durant, Gary Glenn, Randy Hekman, Pete Hoekstra, Peter Konetchy, Chuck Marino, Rick Wilson, Michigan Tea Party Patriot Network, grassroots activists, Independence Caucus of Michigan, Spanish Inquisition, proctology examination, constitutional principles (all tags)

    As I have written before, most of the organizations comprising the Michigan Tea Party Patriot Network are structured as 527 groups.  This means that they're not allowed to directly advocate the election or defeat of any candidate for elective office, only to operate on behalf of issue advocacy and voter mobilization.  However, the tea party networks in several states (including in Michigan) voluntarily operate in strategic partnership with an organization set up specifically as a Political Action Committee.  This organization concerns itself with candidate screening, endorsement, and advocacy, with a specific focus on constitutional loyalty and grassroots activism, and on integrity over money.

    The Independence Caucus is not a political party, nor is it affiliated with any political party.  It is, rather, a group of concerned citizens devoted to electing candidates truly committed to constitutional loyalty and fiscal responsibility, regardless of party.  The goal is the election of such candidates to not less than 40% of the available seats in the several state legislatures and both chambers of Congress . . . in each election year.  It is a not-for-profit organization of concerned citizens from all walks who recognize the responsibility to act now to protect future generations of this nation from the disastrous consequences of our systematic abrogation of constitutional principles, exists to teach us how to govern our country as citizens, and provides the practical tools and resources to actually make it happen.

    A refresher on the basics

    The Independence Caucus is a unique organization in grassroots politics.  They employ a four-phase process that has been likened by one Michigan candidate to a modern-day Spanish Inquisition.  (It should be noted that participation is entirely voluntary; no candidate is actually compelled to complete the process.)  The vetting process goes as follows:

    • Each duly-filed and properly-referred candidate is invited to complete the necessary candidate registration process and respond to a 50-item Candidate Qualifying Questionnaire based on constitutional principles. This is done through an on-line survey that is recorded.  Each question is treated as a commitment that the candidate is expected to honor once elected.  All responding candidates who commit to at least 70% of the vetting questions (35 of the 50) are then submitted to a confidential background check.

    • All candidates who successfully complete the CQQ are prepared for a panel interview.  The preparation consists of the delegate team scouring a candidate's entire public record, flagging anything that doesn't square with constitutional principles (especially if it conflicts with the questionnaire responses), and preparing open-ended questions based on their research.  The interview itself is done by a panel of five delegates, and should be confined to no more than one hour).  Like the questionnaire, the panel interview is recorded for later review.

    • Once completed, the interviews for all candidates for the seat in question are securely posted online for I-Caucus members to review.  This is followed by an online conference period of two weeks where members can ask additional questions and caucus internally regarding the candidates.  Additional research may be done and posted to the discussion thread for comment and consideration.

    • Once the conference period ends, a vote survey is sent to all members of the district or state with a request to endorse or not to endorse.  All members in the district or state of the candidate are invited to vote on endorsements.  A candidate who is unopposed in the vetting process must receive a 70% "in favor" vote for endorsement.  With multiple candidate votes, one must receive a 60% super-majority of the competitive vote for endorsement; if no candidate receives at least 60%, then the top two are selected for a runoff vote.

    And I can promise you that no other organization in American politics does this.  The concept behind the vetting process is fairly simple:  Any candidate can lie to someone in a handshake conversation, stump speech, television or radio ad, or in campaign literature.  But no candidate is going to be able to lie his way through this process without being smoked out by someone.

    The Independence Caucus, as a nationwide organization, has a policy against endorsing third party candidates.  The policy is based on the principle of Duverger's Law, which asserts that a single-member, district-plurality (SMDP) voting system - which is how it's done in America - will eventually coalesce into a two-party political system, even when we'd rather that it didn't.  In forming their policy, the I-Caucus leadership cites the precedent of the four Founding Fathers (John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison) who developed the American two-party system before George Washington had even completed his first term of office as POTUS.  Every major party that has formed since that time has always done so out of the ashes of a collapsed one.

    If the Founding Fathers couldn't figure out how to overcome Duverger's Law, then no one in this day and age is likely to be able to do so.  However, in 2008 the I-Caucus did prove that, by acting as an independent caucus within the two existing major parties, it is possible to root out compromised incumbents and take back control from the out of touch elitists currently holding office.  Likewise, in 2010 the Independence Caucus of Michigan leveraged this methodology, in partnership with the Michigan Tea Party Patriot Network, to accomplish the election-day wins of 2 congressional representatives, 7 state legislators (3 state senators and 4 state representatives), and the Secretary of State.

    10 general election successes out of an initial primary pool of 36 endorsed candidates is not bad at all for a first time out.  Running the math, this would mean that the success of the Michigan I-Caucus was just over 26% of the entire nationwide success of the national organization.  I'm told that the Michigan crew has developed several operational innovations that have been successfully field-tested and then adopted-and-adapted by I-Caucus organizations in other states.  (It's nice to be out at the forefront for something positive politically, even if it doesn't receive a whole lot of media hoopla.)

    Applying this to the Michigan Republican Senate Primary

    It's often been said (to the point of becoming a political maxim) that the real choice in any election is in the primaries; once the primaries are over, you're essentially stuck with whoever survives.  As I've said before, there will be no excuse for sitting on the sidelines and then carping because you don't like who wound up on the general ticket.  The nationwide campaign for the Class 1 seats in the U. S. Senate currently includes no fewer than 11 vulnerable democrat seats and about 3 vulnerable republicans.  That this is probably a golden opportunity to take back the Senate from the establishment elites may be an understatement, and unseating "Debbie the Dangerously Incompetent" is considered to be crucial to that goal.

    While at the 29th biennial Michigan Republican Leadership Conference on Mackinac Island, I learned that the Wikipedia article regarding the Michigan Republican Senate Primary is quite inaccurate (as of this morning).  After doing a little bit of double-checking, I learned that the official candidate field for the 2012 Michigan republican senate nomination is as follows (all are formally declared):

    • Scotty Boman (Detroit): libertarian activist and perpetual Libertarian Party candidate
    • Roi Le Chinn (Bloomfield Hills): public administrator and mediator for the City of Detroit (Evidently, his domain bill isn't up-to-date, but he does have a People Movers page.)
    • Clark Durant (Detroit): co-founder of the Cornerstone Schools and U. S. Army veteran
    • Gary Glenn (Midland): President of the Michigan Chapter of the American Family Association, known conservative activist, and U. S. Army veteran
    • Randy Hekman (Grand Rapids): former Kent County Probate Court judge and U. S. Navy veteran
    • Pete Hoekstra (Holland): former U. S. representative (MI-02) and 2010 Michigan Gubernatorial candidate
    • Peter Konetchy (Roscommon): businessman
    • Chuck Marino (Howell): businessman, Six Sigma advocate, and U. S. Marine Corps veteran
    • Rick Wilson (Grand Blanc): retired autoworker and unsuccessful candidate for the 5th district in 2010

    Now, so far as I know, six of the candidates that are currently running (Durant, Glenn, Hekman, Hoekstra, Konetchy, and Wilson) have already reached out to the Independence Caucus of Michigan with the intention of going through the vetting process.  Given that, as I've already said, the Michigan I-Caucus is the organization that does the vetting and endorsing on behalf of the various members of the Michigan Tea Party Patriot Network, and given the success rate of the Michigan I-Caucus in the 2010 elections, that the candidates would already be seeking to initiate the vetting process is no small matter.

    I've had the opportunity to sit in on several of the I-Caucus of Michigan strategy sessions that have taken place since the November 2010 elections, and I can say with some certainty that they've learned their lessons from last year (there were a few), and have adjusted their operations accordingly.  Almost all of the changes affect the first phase of the process:

    • Participation deadline:  Once the invitation has been sent out to a candidate to participate in the vetting process, that candidate has no more than 5 business days to respond indicating a desire to participate.  Once that window lapses (and it will be scrupulously enforced), the candidate has defaulted himself out of any further consideration.

    • Background check:  The purpose of this is to provide some insurance against backing candidates who turn out to be utter frauds . . . or worse.  The background check is entirely confidential, and does not get released to the public.

    • Viability verification:  The purpose of this is to ensure that a candidate in the vetting pipeline has the necessary campaign infrastructure (finances & fundraising, staff & ground crew, marketing, and so forth) to actually run a credible campaign in the district or state in question.

    • Restructured questionnaire:  The 80-question CQQ from last year has been shortened; 40 questions were eliminated and 10 new ones were added in.  This will place a heavier emphasis on the panel interview.  (And the Michigan crew has a deep bench of experienced interviewers.)

    • Conflict-of-interest protocols:  Not that this was an actual problem, but there are now provisions in place to ensure that someone with a vested interest in the outcome of the vetting process (or even the perception of a vested interest in the outcome) doesn't participate in the panel interview.

    • Opt-in instead of opt-out:  Last year, the panel interviews were posted publicly after the vetting process was complete, unless the candidates requested otherwise.  That created some problems for a few candidates, because their opponents' propaganda machines cherry-picked the interviews for lines that could be taken out-of-context and then spun to be made to appear as something that the candidate definitely did not say.  So now, the interviews are pulled down after the vetting process is complete, unless the candidates specifically request otherwise.  (Candidates will always have the option of obtaining a copy of the interview for their own records.)

    Now there was a Michigan Tea Party Patriot Network "beach conference" in Mackinac City on the day before the Mackinac Republican Conference (so, Thursday, September 22nd).  A major development at that conference was that it was discussed and generally agreed to that the network is going to coalesce behind whomever of the senate candidates receives the I-Caucus endorsement.  Granted, none of the individual organizations is actually bound by this agreement, unless they choose to be, but that so many of those organizations would arrive at this consensus says good things about the credibility of I-Caucus.

    Last week, I spoke with Don Jakel, the Statewide Director for the I-Caucus of Michigan.  He informed me that the invitations to each of the senate candidates to participate in the vetting process were sent out either concurrent with the Mackinac Conference or during the week immediately following.  So, following the math, that means two things:  First, that we should know by this time next week who is and who isn't in the vetting pipeline.  Second, that the I-Caucus endorsement should come out just in time for Thanksgiving (and might even be in time for this tea party forum).

    Stay tuned; I'll keep you posted.

    < Jenny, Your Swamp Is Big Like Pelosi's | Predictable: Number 21, "Elbowing" foul on Republican Legislature >

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    Signatures (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Conservative First on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 10:35:51 PM EST
    Keep in mind that Senate candidates need 10000 signatures to actually make the ballot, so not all those listed will actually do so.

    Roi Chinn is out . . . (none / 0) (#3)
    by Kevin Rex Heine on Sat Oct 08, 2011 at 11:34:45 AM EST
    . . . according to an e-mail that I received from Mr. Chinn two days ago (punctuation and spelling corrected):

    I just wanted to inform you that I have stayed my bid to run for U.S. senate as I am needed here in Michigan.  Washington is for talkers; I have decided to run for Detroit mayor where I can act with Detroiters and where my new leadership can help build new dreams and new ways together with Detroiters for a new future.  Detroit deserves a mayor with no strings attached!

    So now we're down to eight.

    Pipeline Update: (none / 0) (#7)
    by Kevin Rex Heine on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 10:10:07 PM EST
    I spoke with Don Jakel earlier tonight, and of the eight candidates who are still in this primary contest, all but Wilson have RSVPed to the invitation to participate in the vetting process.  Four candidates (Glenn, Hekman, Konetchy, and Marino) have already completed the Candidate Qualifying Questionnaire . . . the remainder have until close-of-business on this Friday to do so.

    Phase One Update: (none / 0) (#8)
    by Kevin Rex Heine on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 08:07:35 PM EST
    I spoke with Don Jakel earlier tonight, and he told me that six of the eight candidates currently in the race have completed the Candidate Qualifying Questionnaire.  (He didn't say which two hadn't yet, or if their window of opportunity is considered expired.)  For those that have completed the CQQ, the I-Caucus is doing the background checks and viability verifications.

    Phase Two Update: (none / 0) (#9)
    by Kevin Rex Heine on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 05:55:14 PM EST
    I was at a meeting of the I-Caucus of Central-West Michigan earlier this week.  A few items of note were discussed.

    Rick Wilson failed to make the deadline for participation, so he's out of consideration.

    While Pete Hoekstra did score the lowest of the qualifying candidates on the CQQ (84%), all of the seven candidates who aren't Rick Wilson have completed their interview . . . and none are outright "throwaways."

    Endorsement Vote Finally Being Called (none / 0) (#16)
    by Kevin Rex Heine on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:37:20 PM EST
    An e-mail sent out this morning by Jeff Roys (iCaucus Michigan Affiliate Group & Volunteer Coordinator) and Paul Hales (iCaucus Michigan Vetting Coordinator):

    Your participation in the political process has yielded some very positive and even profound effects on the political landscape here in Michigan. This year iCaucus members played a key role in the election of a true constitutional conservative; Dave Agema (IC endorsed candidate 2010) to the position of committeeman of the Republican Party.

    Our members were also responsible for the defeat of the National Popular Vote (NPV). This movement was seeking to eliminate the constitutionally authorized Electoral College and replace it with an inferior system. Thanks to you and your support we are on the move and making a difference.

    The selection of the next Senator from Michigan might end up being one of the most important votes of the 2012 election. Our Senator might very well be the 51st vote necessary to repeal Obama care once and for all, or sadly we may see its continuation.

    Electing anyone but our current Senator, Debbie Stabenow might be the difference between victory and defeat. To that end we invite you to partake in choosing the candidate you feel is most qualified to accomplish this goal and who will best represent our constitutionally conservative ideas in Washington DC.

    About the iCaucus Vetting Process:

    Due to some last minute plans and decisions, the caucus period for the Senatorial Race in Michigan starts right away and the endorsement vote will be from July 12th through the 14th.  This will allow the campaign team to have more time to help our endorsed candidate.

    Some of you Michigan Patriots receiving this notice are only subscribed to this newsletter.  To take part in the caucus period, and to cast your endorsment vote you must register with the iCaucus website at www.icaucus.org.  This will allow iCaucus to track votes and protect our candidates and the integrity of the iCaucus Endorsement.

    After you complete and submit the iCaucus.org registration form, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with a link to validate the registration.  If you do not see that confirmation email, please check your spam or bulk mail folders.  If for some reason, you do not receive the confirmation e-mail soon after you submit your registration, please send a request for confirmation to: vettinginfo@icaucus.org.

    For the integrity of the voting process we ask that you please take the time to read the Candidate Bio, listen to the Citizen Led Candidate Job Interview audios, and take part in the caucus by commenting on the Michigan Race Page which is found under the Vetting menu, top of all pages at iCaucus.org, when logged into the website, then select Michigan on the U.S. map or from the list.

    The voting is going to take place July 12th through 14, and I expect that the results will be made public sometime next week.

    This isn't the only race that the iCaucus will be getting involved in.  Stay tuned.

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    Whom do you support for the Michigan Republican nomination for U. S. Senator in 2012?
    Scott Boman (Detroit)
    Roi Le Chinn (Bloomfield Hills)
    Clark Durant (Detroit)
    Gary Glenn (Midland)
    Randy Hekman (Grand Rapids)
    Pete Hoekstra (Holland)
    Peter Konetchy (Roscommon)
    Chuck Marino (Howell)
    Rick Wilson (Grand Blanc)

    Votes: 202
    Results | Other Polls
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