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Big candidate filing news yesterday out of the Secchia-Weiser Michigan Republican Center in Lansing. State Senator Michelle McManus became the first candidate in any 2010 convention race to file the required paperwork and officially become a candidate.
"I'm very excited about my campaign for Secretary of State, and I look forward to a spirited and vigorous race," McManus said. "Michigan needs bold leaders who are willing to stand up for what they believe in, and that's why I am especially proud to be the first candidate to file my affidavit and signatures to officially become a candidate."
Becoming a convention candidate isn't as easy as signing a slip of paper, lest the Democrats or any other stick-in-the-mud wreak havoc with the process by flooding the nominating convention with trouble makers. Michigan Republican Party convention rules require candidates for Secretary of State, Attorney General, Supreme Court and each of the various higher ed boards to demonstrate a certain modicum of support from local Party leaders from across the state.
With those rules in place, a candidate's official filing takes on additional significance. It demonstrates, especially this early, a well organized campaign and a good bit of popular support among the activist set.
In McManus's case, she filed her affidavit and submitted the official high-signs of five Congressional District Chairs.
A Republican from Lake Leelanau, McManus has run thus far on issues like election reform and promoting fiscal conservatism. She sponsored legislation putting a 'shot clock' on the Secretary of State to require timely resolution of campaign finance violations (like, say, the investigation into massive Mark Schauer-led violations that seemed to drag on forever) and she has taken the lead on consolidating the departments of natural resources and environmental quality.
In the field of potential Secretary of State candidates, Cameron Brown, Judy Emmons and Anne Norlander remain "on the clock."
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What's up, team?
Had a chance a few days ago to play a little catch-up with former longtime Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis.
Saul's been doing some pretty awesome work across the Country these last few months, from sitting on a new RNC committee that's looking at the Presidential Primary process to working with Newt Gingrich to making pretty regular appearances on the cable news talkers.
So what's his take on Terri Lynn Land's decision to drop out of the Primary field? On John Cherry's chances of winning the Governor's office? Of President Obama's first six months in office? You can learn the answers to these and many more questions by clicking the little "play" arrows on the videos below...
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Turns out we don't have to wait until tomorrow to find out whether or not the Michigan Republican State Committee will adopt a radical new "two convention" nominating process to select the GOP candidates for Attorney General and Secretary of State.
Facing pressure from current Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land and current Attorney General Mike Cox (both candidates for Governor in 2010), Chairman Ron Weiser has shelved the idea and will not be supporting it at tomorrow's regular meeting of the Michigan Republican State Committee.
Seems the issue that scuttled the whole thing was existing statute that necessitates nominations be made at the "fall" convention.
While the proposed language in the two-fer convention rules sought to ease those concerns by stating selections in the spring only made candidates "eligible" for nomination in the fall, the ultimate conclusion seems to be that it was walking a little too dangerous a legal line.
I liked the "two-fer" idea myself... but this was probably the right call.
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Update [2009-6-17 7:6:55 by Nick]: I have to admit that on further reflection, one of the “cons” raised about the “two convention” system got me thinking. The worry that the two-fer might lead to lawsuits isn’t completely insane.
That isn’t a Stryker thing. That’s a Mark Brewer thing. The guy is a lawyer by trade (he initially made his name representing the Ku Klux Klan) and rarely misses the opportunity to sue the pants off a political opponent. The fear of a lawsuit itself isn’t enough to dissuade me. That said, it’s best to cross our I’s and dot our T’s, so to speak.
Michigan election law states that a Party’s nominees cannot be nominated until after the August Primary but leaves completely open to the Party the means by which their nominees are selected.
I tracked down a copy of the proposed two-fer rules and this is how the language deals with existing statute…
MRP would not technically be nominating the SoS and AG candidates at the early convention. The early convention would only determine which candidates were eligible for nomination at the August convention where they would actually be nominated. So, the only candidates eligible for nomination in August are those candidates who received the highest number of votes for SoS / AG respectively at the late-March convention.
In other words, the early convention would make someone the “candidate eligible for nomination.”
I’m not a lawyer and won’t pretend to know the ins and outs of how something like this would be perceived and handled by the courts should a challenge arise and should they even bother to hear it (though I have serious doubts that any court would disenfranchise voters across the state by eliminating a major Party candidate from the ballot when that candidate’s nomination was done according to the letter of the law).
Hugely important potential statewide candidate selection schedule change being discussed this week inside the Michigan Republican State Committee.
When the MRSC meets this weekend for their regular, quarterly get-together, they're being asked to approve rules for next year's Republican Nominating Convention. Remember, here in Michigan we hold regular primary elections for gubernatorial candidates but the Republican and Democrat Parties nominate their standard bearers in the Attorney General and Secretary of State races (among others) via closed Party conventions in August.
That means that intra-Party squabbles (and, at times, more than squabbles) often keep Party members tied up in their own internal affairs, launching salvoes at one another until two months before the general election while allowing the Big Labor coronated Dem candidates to take pot shots from a safe distance.
Not anymore. Maybe.
According to a well placed, high ranking Party official, members of the MRSC are being presented with an alternative when they convene this Saturday. They could do things the way they've always done them, or, they could approve what members are calling the "two convention option."
Under this new option the Party would convene a regular convention at the end of March 2010, four full months ahead of the traditional schedule, specifically to nominate the Party's candidates for Attorney General and Secretary of State. The results of the statewide gubernatorial primary would then be ratified, as usual, in a second convention in the middle of August.
The more time the good guys can spend concentrating on general election voters, uniting, moving past the unavoidable primary campaign rivalries and taking aim at the bad guys the better. And that's only scratching the surface of the benefits of a proposal like this.
By freeing up donors months earlier and allowing them to rally behind the Party's standard bearer, Party officials estimate each general election candidate could raise an additional $1 million. Money, boys and girls, is one of those things you need a lot of to win these days. Wish it weren't so, but what can you do?
All of that said, this move isn't a slam dunk come meeting time. There are folks who make a living running convention campaigns and managing floor fights. This cuts down on their ability to make a buck and could seriously diminish their influence inside the Michigan Republican Party.
And while I count more than a few of these folks as personal friends, philosophically I've got to admit... of all of the positive consequences this proposal can claim... that might be the most attractive. We spend way way way way (way) too much time fighting amongst ourselves, harboring grudges and developing new ones.
My take? An opportunity to come together, to unite, to raise extra campaign cash and to focus our attention on the Lefty candidates who want to tax, spend and further grow the size of state government is too good to pass up. Alas. I'm not a member of the MRSC and don't have a vote.
Stay tuned. We'll let you know how it goes this weekend.
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Had the opportunity recently to sit down with Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser and to touch base on everything from the man's background to the Party's goals in 2010 and the special election in the 19th state Senate District.
What does Weiser think about Mike Nofs' chances in the 19th?
What does he need YOU to do to help take back the state in 2010?
How is he changing the culture and the focus at the Michigan Republican Party with an eye towards the future?
Push play and find out for yourself!
Before I say anything else I want to give big ups to the staff at the Michigan Republican Party. Preparation for a convention like this takes, literally, thousands of total man hours and when the event actually starts many of them will work 48 hours straight. No breaks. No sleep.
These guys don't get enough credit, mostly because they make it look so easy. And while we're at it, a big thanks to Saul Anuzis who today wrapped up his tenure as Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.
Today's activities started with a half dozen different breakfast events at the Radisson and the Lansing Center. SoS candidates Anne Norlander and Michelle McManus played the role of host while Gubernatorial candidate and current AG Mike Cox spent time hanging out with Oakland County Republicans at their own giant breakfast.
The biggest theme, though, at breakfasts and the general session... the special election in the 19th Senate District. Mark Schauer's record of voting for job-killing tax hikes and putting partisan, far-left political interests ahead of his constituents would have made him vulnerable if he HADN'T broken his promise and left the District for DC.
Unfortunately for both 19th District moms and dads and the Democratic candidates themselves, Mike Simpson and Marty Griffin have voting records exactly like Schauer's. This is a pick-up opportunity, folks. A GOP pick-up opportunity that is going to draw huge national attention. In Michigan.
Read on for additional coverage and a few hot new rumors...
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Official business? Not much happening this weekend. Sure, technically the delegates to the Michigan Republican State Convention will be electing Ambassador Ron Weiser to be the next Chairman of the Party. Yep, they'll be selecting a variety of Vice Chairs and other Party positions, too, but most of those races sorted themselves out before activists and volunteers converged on the Capitol City.
This Convention has been about something else entirely. Energy. The juice bouncing between the Radisson and the Lansing Center (the event is huge, with thousands of attendees, and spread over the two downtown buildings) has been unbelievable. Folks are ready to brush off last November's setbacks and are pumped about getting to work on the future.
Welcome to the Convention.
The weekend started around 4pm when GOP candidates for various statewide posts hosted receptions to say hello to the out-staters making their way to the Capitol.
The newest gubernatorial candidate, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land had a massive crowd. Attorney General candidate and current Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop had one going too. So did AG candidate Bill Schuette, maybe the biggest of the afternoon.
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By Nick, Section News
Don't know if you've heard, but there's a party tonight. Or, well, a reception. No, scratch that... receptions, plural. Then breakfasts tomorrow. Lots of them.
Both the Michigan Republican Party and the Michigan Democrats are holding their winter conventions this weekend and on the GOP side, the campaigns for Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General unofficially begin.
Not that there isn't one major difference. Over on the RIGHT side of things, convention delegates... thousands of them... will select the Party's candidates for AG and SoS (the gubernatorial nominee s selected by both parties via primary). Over on the LEFT its up to the UAW. No. Hyperbole aside. Seriously.
It appears the Dems have already selected their AG nominee. Despite her connection to a massive Bureau of Elections investigation into serious campaign finance irregularities stemming from the 2006 election, state Senator Gretchen Whitmer all but has that spot sewed up.
John Cherry is the man with all of the Big Labor backing in the race to follow Jennifer Granholm at the state Capitol. Barring a huge electoral shocker, that just leaves holes in two places. MDP still needs a nominee for Secretary of State and he or she simply must be black. Not Hispanic. Not Asian. Not Jewish or Indian or Arab. Black. Because quotas are cool, apparently.
No matter how you cut that cake, though, there isn't much excitement left in the selection process for Democratic activists. Quite simply, they have no input.
QUITE the contrary over at the Michigan Republican Party. This weekend, aside from the technical work of officially selecting Ambassador Ron Weiser to be the next Party Chairman, picking various vice chairs and other Party positions, the activists and volunteers and normal, average working moms and dads from across the state will have a chance to get a good long look at more than a couple of handfuls worth of candidates.
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