Saturday, November 18, 2006

Michigan Politics

The election is over, but political maneuvering continues.

There had been a tough fight Michigan Republican Chairman shaping up between current Chairman Saul Anuzius and Third District (Kent, Barry, Ionia Counties) Chairman David Dishaw. However, Dishaw has dropped out of the race. Saul's blog has a letter from Dishaw endorsing Saul for another term. A few other people had been mentioned for the post, but this likely seals Saul's position. I can only presume that Dishaw calculated that he wouldn't have enough support to win the race. I saw some good points and some questions on both sides, so I hadn't been supporting either candidate.

The Michigan legislature has picked its new leadership. The new Michigan Senate majority leader will be Republican Mike Bishop of Oakland County. The Senate Democratic leader will be Mark Schauer of Calhoun County.

The new Michigan Speaker of the House will be Democrat Andy Dillon of Redford Township. Interestingly, Dillon has been endorsed by Right to Life. He beat more liberal candidate Andy Meisner.

Dillon had been opposed by liberal billionaire activist Jon Stryker.

As reported in MIRS yesterday, Kalamazoo billionaire and gay-rights activist Jon STRYKER, who kicked in about $5 million for the Democrats in legislative races was a major force behind an 'anyone but Dillon' move (See "Stryker Quid Pro Quo?'" 11/13/06).

Insiders told MIRS today that the anti-Dillon effort was hard-hitting and nasty. The phrase "Andy Dillon the Corporate Villain" has been used and others who had latched their wagons onto Dillon's were framed as "being evil."
Stryker's actions prove that the one-man "Coalition for Progress" has no interest in outsourcing, the minimum wage, or Tom George's medical practices. The real issue for Stryker has always been gay rights.

Jon STRYKER, the left-wing Kalamazoo billionaire who helped give the House Democrats their newly won majority, apparently wants a few things in return. The story is that Stryker, who spent about $5 million on legislative Democratic candidates, wants the House to forward an agenda that includes same sex-benefits and other gay-rights issues.

At the current moment, the House Speaker's race has been boiled down to Rep. Andy DILLON (D-Redford) and Andy MEISNER (D-Ferndale). MIRS has learned that both believe they have the numbers to win the Speaker's race, but added together their collective numbers equal 63, more than the 58 members that actually will be in their caucus.

According to well-placed sources, Dillon is the only Speaker candidate who has refused to sign-on to Stryker's agenda. This has resulted in Stryker starting an anyone-but-Dillon push within the House Democratic leadership elections. However, writing the gay rights issues atop their House agenda could be more than a little problematic for the newly won Democratic House majority caucus.

"He (Stryker) is saying Dillon isn't progressive enough," a Democratic source told MIRS. "But in two years, the key battles for the House will be in districts with Republican majority bases. If we go ahead with his agenda, our people in those districts will be out on their ears two years from now."
Republicans chose current Speaker Craig DeRoche to continue as their leader.

Young Republicans are also getting in on the political action. There may be a contested race for Chairman of the Michigan Federation of College Republicans. Current MFCR Chairman Dan Carlson could be challenged by MSU student Steve Japinga. Carlson may be interested in becoming College Republican National Committee Chairman.

Meanwhile, many prominent young conservatives in Michigan have signed a letter demanding tougher border security.

Jack Hoogendyk's victory has been certified, but his opponent is still refusing to concede.

Western Michigan University President Diether Haenicke shares his thoughts on the passage of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.

I predict that the number of minorities in higher education will not decrease. They will be distributed differently among state institutions according to motivation and their academic preparation. Minority numbers at U-M will probably decline. Minorities will now enroll in greater numbers at other state institutions where their preparation will allow them to succeed and where they will actually graduate. I consider that a positive.

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