Friday, June 29, 2012

Obama Lied, Mexicans Died

Ann Coulter absolutly nails the "Gunwalker"/"Fast and Furious" scandal in her latest column. Read the whole thing.


To reiterate and expand on a few points...

This is a huge scandal. Watergate is traditionally seen as the BIGGEST SCANDAL EVER, but how many people died in Watergate? None. Nobody was injured, no money was stolen. It is known that FDR and JFK both spied on their political opponents, but Nixon will be forever damned for it. Hundreds of people died in Gunwalker.

This was not a "botched" law-enforcement operation. The agents on the ground knew that sending guns to Mexican drug dealers had no legitimate purpose. They repeatedly protested to their superiors, but were overruled.

Ann points out the campaign by administration officials and the left to claim that 90% of guns used in Mexican shootings came from the US. This was easily debunked by many conservative sources at the time, but they kept repeating it. The whole point of this argument was to argue for restricting Americans' gun rights.

The only explanation that makes sense is that the guns were shipped to Mexico to provide evidence to back up the administration's support for gun control. It would seem that gun control continued to poll terribly, so the administration never launched a public campaign for it. The "90%" talking point disappeared from the media.

Even so, democrats in Congress argue that the larger issue here is that too many guns are going to Mexico, so we need gun control. That's like arguing that the larger issue in Watergate was the shockingly high burglary rate in Washington. No, the issue is that the administration was committing the crimes.

The House of Representatives just voted to hold Eric Holder in contempt for his refusal to turn over documents relating to his involvement in the scandal. A handful of pro-gun democrats supported the resolution. (No thanks go to the 19 senate Republicans who voted to confirm Holder, when it was perfectly clear what kind of crook he would be.)

At this point the biggest question remaining is whether President Obama was involved in the execution of this scandal, or only in the coverup. His claim of executive privilege would argue that he was, while the ham-handed way it was carried out would argue that only Holder was to blame.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

George Romney's Record

After the Roberts betrayal, our last chance to repeal Obamacare is to elect Mitt Romney and a Republican senate. Of course, the chances of doing so without someone important selling out aren't great. The following article on George Romney's history in Michigan is not encouraging.

Like Father, Like Son—Betraying The GOP Base Is A Romney Family Tradition

Et Tu, Roberts?

Regarding John Roberts' betrayal of America in the Obamacare and Arizona immigration law cases, remember that Ann Coulter warned us about him seven years ago.


But unfortunately, other than that that, we don't know much about John Roberts. Stealth nominees have never turned out to be a pleasant surprise for conservatives. Never. Not ever.


Bush said "Trust me," and Republicans trust him. It shouldn't be difficult for conservatives to convince themselves that Roberts is our man. They've had practice convincing themselves of the same thing with Warren, Brennan, Blackmun, Stevens, O'Connor, Kennedy and Souter.


It doesn't help to have someone who thinks that, as an original matter, the Constitution says nothing about state abortion laws if he is then going to "balance" the law against "the integrity of the institution," "public confidence in our system of justice," "the need for stability and predictability," "the sweet mystery of life," blah blah blah. The problem with establishment types is precisely that they worry about everything except the law. Just get the law right and shut up.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Office of Sustainability to Replace University Bookstore

Last year, Western bought the privately owned University Bookstore, ending competition with its WMU Bookstore. Now Western will close the store and replace it with the burgeoning bureaucracy of its "Office of Sustainability".

University Bookstore to undergo $300,000 renovations; WMU officials envision 'deep green building'
WMU's University Bookstore closing to make way for Office of Sustainability; 75% discount clearance sale under way

"Sustainability" is the latest Trojan horse of the environmental movement. Whatever it is, it seems to involve spending tons of money.

Back in 2010, the students approved an $8 per semester fee to fund "sustainability" initiatives. This was in addition to the $21 student activities fee.

The article states that the renovated building is only a temporary predecessor to a "Deep Green Building" with a "significant budget".

If anyone wonders why tuition keeps increasing above the rate of inflation, this is part of the reason.

Western's Bookstore Monopoly
Another Green Scam
Wrongest Statement Ever in the Herald?

Michigan Republican Liberty Caucus Endorsements

Michigan's Republican Liberty Caucus has made its endorsements.

3: Justin Amash
11: Kerry Bentivolio

State House:
88: Amanda Van Essen
This is a safe R district where no democrat even filed. It is the majority of Dave Agema's current district.
96: Chad Dewey (safe D district)
109: Jim Hafeman (safe D district)

Kalamazoo County Right to Life Endorsements

I missed this at the time. Right to Life has also made endorsements in Kalamazoo County elections. (search Kalamazoo at the bottom)

All endorsed are Republicans.

Prosecutor: Scott Pierangeli
Sheriff: Bruce LaBrie (not Ward Lawrence)
Treasurer: Mary Balkema
Drain Commissioner: Nasim Ansari

County Commission:
3: Anthony Dugal
5: David Worthams
7: Danielle Gray and Roger Tuinier both meet criteria
10: Phil Stinchcomb (not Charles Bogren)
11: John Zull

No endorsements for Jeff Heppler, Dale Pominville, Dave Maturen, Brandt Iden, or Tim Snow.

Stun Gun Ban Unconstitutional

So the Michigan Court of Appeals rules.

Appeals court strikes down Michigan ban on stun guns

The legislature passed a bill allowing ownership with a concealed carry permit. But you shouldn't need any permit from the government to defend yourself. You don't need a permit to own a real gun; you shouldn't need one for a stun gun either.

Legalize Stun Guns
Legalize Tasers Without Permit
Stun Gun Ban is Unconstitutional
Legalize Stun Guns

Monday, June 25, 2012

Western Graduates Find Jobs

Jobs as bakers and deli managers, that is, according to this article.

Western Michigan University graduates optimisitic about job market

Western is obviously putting the best possible spin on things, but the most relevant question is whether students find a job in their field of study.

The third student interviewed is moving to Detroit to look for a job.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fred Upton's Phantom Cuts

Several times in recent weeks, Congressman Fred Upton has claimed to have voted to cut spending by 6 trillion. But is this true?

Southwest Michigan Politics: Mike O'Brien to speak Thursday in Kalamazoo; Congressman Fred Upton's latest mailer targets Barack Obama more than Jack Hoogendyk

There is no documentation for the claim in the mailer. I could not find any documentation on the internet either. The only mention of the claim is a letter to the editor from an Upton supporter.

Glad Fred Upton is fighting for fiscal responsibility (Letter)

The federal government will spend $3.8 trillion in 2012. So Upton is claiming to support cutting more than the entire federal budget. So he must be claiming to cut spending over multiple years.

This is an easy way to inflate the nominal size of the supposed cuts. If we cut spending by one dollar per year for the next six trillion years, how much have we cut spending?

But it's worse than this. Because future spending cuts never actually happen. Whenever Congress wants to pretend to cut spending, they pass a plan to cut spending by some gigantic amount over ten years. Breaking down the cuts over ten years, you inevitably find that they are all in future years, and little or nothing is cut in the first year.

Of course, Congress knows perfectly well that they cannot bind future Congresses. That is, any laws passed later will supersede the earlier law containing the cuts. Probably nobody will even remember the earlier law. Even if somebody does, members of Congress will argue that we can't make those cuts NOW. Look at all the urgent needs we face! We'll cut spending next year!

Say, I think I'll spend a billion dollars next year. Wait, no I won't. I just cut a billion dollars in spending! Look how fiscally responsible I am!

The only cuts that matter are the cuts this year. While Upton has voted for a few small cuts now that he has a competitive primary, his overall record is poor.

Even if Upton had cut six trillion, that would only be one third of the $17 trillion present-value unfunded liability of the Medicare prescription drug program that Upton voted for back in 2003. It only passed by five votes, so Upton could have rallied enough members to stop it.

It's a lot easier to pretend to cut spending than to actually cut spending.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Terri Mellinger, RIP

Terri Mellinger, the democrat Supervisor of Kalamazoo Township died Thursday morning. She had been suffering from an illness for months. The articles on her death do not specify which illness. She had not attended board meetings in months. Mellinger had not filed for reelection. It is not clear who will run the township government until the November election.

Terri Mellinger 'blossomed' as Kalamazoo Township supervisor, board member says

Democrat Supervisor Doesn't Pay Taxes
Kalamazoo Township Goes Godless

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ann Coulter Takes Down Lisa Brown

Ann Coulter has a great response to the obnoxious feminist state rep. Lisa Brown who threw a fit after Republicans objected to her vulgar pro-abortion rant on the floor of the state house.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Michigan Right to Life Endorsements

Michigan Right to Life came out with its August primary election endorsements today. The most notable endorsement was covered in a separate post.

There are two notable non-endorsements on their list. Congressman Justin Amash and Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger are both conspicuously absent.

Amash is pro-life and supports banning abortion, but has differed with Right to Life on several tactical questions.

As for Bolger, my best guess is that MRTL thinks he hasn't moved pro-life legislation quickly enough in the state house.

In other races, all four Republican senate candidates met MRTL's criteria. All the Republican congressional incumbents were endorsed. In the 11th district, Kerry Bentivolio and write-in Nancy Cassis both met criteria. Democrat Bob Costello was endorsed in the 14th.

In state house races, Republican incumbents and some democrats were endorsed. For the open seats, we have the following.
4. democrat Ernest Little. MRTL hasn't had much success in Detroit. Little is one of 11 candidates for an open seat.
18. democrat Phillip DeMaria. He's one of four democrats seeking this Macomb seat, along with former rep. Sarah Roberts.
25. Republican Sean Clark. He seems decent. He has a lot of establishment support, including conservative Senator Jack Brandenburg.
26. Republican Mark Bliss in this safe D district.
28. democrat Lesia Liss over fellow incumbent Jon Switalski.
39. Republican Nicholas Kennedy. He's one of six Republicans seeking this competitive seat vacated by the infamous democrat Lisa Brown. Brad Hantler looks pretty good here.
40. Republican David Wolkinson, one of four. Seems to be a Rick Snyder loyalist. County commissioner David Potts has a ton of establishment support. Is he not pro-life?
41. Republican Martin Howrylak. I like Deb Debacker here. Howrylak does not mention life issues on his website. Is Matt Pryor not pro-life?
52. No endorsement for Mark Ouimet.
63. No endorsement for Jase Bolger.
67. All Republicans meet criteria.
68. Republican Timothy Moede in this safe D district.
74. Both meet criteria.
78. Republican Dave Pagel. David Mann looks good here. Definitely not Brian Savage.
81. Republican Dan Lauwers, one of five. Check out Gary Eisen's mailbox.
88. Both meet criteria. Amanda Van Essen looks good here.
93. All four meet criteria. I like Tom Leonard here.
94. Republicans Ann Doyle and Tim Kelly both meet criteria.
108. No endorsement for Ed McBroom.

Michigan Right to Life Endorses Fred Upton

For the first of the 14 times that Fred Upton has run for Congress, he has been endorsed by Michigan Right to Life. Just two years ago, in 2010, MRTL endorsed former state rep. Jack Hoogendyk. They also endorsed Dale Shugars over Upton in 2002.

Upton has claimed to be pro-life in the past, but has not filled out their survey. So why didn't MRTL endorse Upton before? Well, there are these votes, whose descriptions come from the American Conservative Union.

1987: Abortion- Vote on a Dornan (R-CA) amendment to prevent the use of any funds in the D.C. appropriations bill to pay for abortions in the District of Columbia. Passed 191-l81, 6/26/87. ACU supported the amendment.

1988: Abortion - Vote on a Dornan (R-CA) amendment to prohibit the use of any funds in the District of Columbia Appropriations Bill to perform abortions. Passed 222-186, 6/28/88. ACU supported the amendment.

1989: Abortion - Vote on a Dornan (R-CA) amendment to the Fiscal Year 1990 District of Columbia Appropriations Act to prohibit the use of any funds - federal or city - to pay for abortions, except in instances when the mothers life is in danger. Amendment rejected 206-219, 8/2/89. ACU supported the amendment.

1991: United Nations Population Fund - Vote on a Kostmayer (D-PA) amendment to preserve the $20 million in funding for the United Nations Population Fund, which promotes abortions including the forced abortion program in communist China. Amendment adopted 234-188, 6/12/91. ACU opposed the amendment.

1993: Parental Notification - Vote on a Bliley amendment to mandate written parental notification and a 48-hour waiting period, with certain restrictions, before abortions could be performed on minors by entities receiving federal funds. Vote failed 179-243, 3/25/93. ACU supported the amendment.

1995: MEXICO CITY ABORTION POLICY. Smith amendment to codify the Mexico City policy, which prohibits U.S. funding of any public or private foreign entity that directly or indirectly performs abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is endangered; to require foreign organizations receiving U.S. aid to certify that they do not violate or lobby to change abortion laws; and to withhold money from the U.N. Population Fund unless the president certifies that the fund has terminated all activities in China or that for the past 12 months there have been no coercive abortions in China. Approved 243 187, June 28, 1995. ACU supported the amendment.

1995: FEDERAL FUNDING OF ABORTION. Greenwood amendment to provide $193 million for "family planning" projects under Title X of the Public Health Service Act, the bulk of which would be distributed to Planned Parenthood. Approved 224 204, August 2, 1995. ACU opposed the amendment.

1995: LATE TERM ABORTIONS. Adoption of the Rule to provide for House floor consideration of the bill to ban partial birth abortions, in which the person performing the abortion partially delivers the fetus before performing the abortion. Approved 288 139, November 1, 1995. ACU supported the bill.

2001: Family Planning Funding HR 1646 (Roll Call Vote No. 115 )
Hyde (R-IL) amendment to the State Department Bill maintaining President George W. Bush's restrictions on funding for international family planning groups that provide abortion services, counseling or advocacy. The bill was passed (218-210). ACU supported this bill.

2005: Embryonic Stem Cell Research – Passage. HR 810 (Roll Call 204)
The House passed a bill that would allow the use of federal funds in research on embryonic stem cell lines derived from surplus embryos at in-vitro fertilization clinics, but only if donors give their consent and are not paid for the embryos. ACU opposed the bill, which passed 238-194 on May 24, 2005.

2006: Embryonic Stem Cell Research
HR 810 (Roll Call 388) The House failed to override President Bush’s veto of legislation providing taxpayer funds for embryonic stem cell research. ACU opposed the effort to override the President’s veto, which failed on a vote of 235-193 on July 19, 2006. Although a majority of the House voted to override, a two-thirds vote is required to override presidential vetoes.

2007: Stem Cell Research
HR 3 (Roll Call 20). The House passed a bill mandating federal funding of embryonic stem cells derived from surplus embryos at fertilization clinics. ACU opposed this bill, which passed 253-174 on January 11, 2007.

2007: Planned Parenthood Support
HR 3043 (Roll Call 684). The House defeated an amendment to the Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill that would have withheld taxpayer funds from Planned Parenthood. ACU supported this amendment, which failed July 19, 2007 by a vote of 189-231.

2009: Planned Parenthood. HR 3293 (Roll Call 643). The House defeated an amendment to the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill that would have eliminated funding for Planned Parenthood family planning services, which includes abortion services. ACU has always opposed Planned Parenthood and federal involvement in this area as unconstitutional, but the amendment was defeated July 24, 2009 by a vote of 183-247.

That's fourteen major pro-abortion votes. And that's just the ones picked by ACU to score. Upton can't even claim the position taken by many libertarians that abortion should be unaffected by the state, since he has repeatedly voted for federal government funding for programs and organizations that perform abortions. This funding is also unconstitutional, in case anyone cares.

Now, an endorsement of Upton could still be justified IF Upton has publicly renounced and apologized for his pro-abortion votes and vowed to vote the opposite way in the future. He has not done so.

So what changed? Certainly not his opponent, Jack Hoogendyk, who is just as pro-life as ever. Jack has been endorsed by MRTL in all his previous races. He ran a crisis pregnancy center and he and his wife have worked for pro-life organizations.

The only thing that changed is that Upton became chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. I can only presume that either Upton promised votes on legislation that MRTL cares about, or that they were concerned that he would spike that legislation if they didn't endorse him.

Michigan Right to Life should be ashamed.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Trouble in Texas

The Gazette has a good article about the conflict in Texas Township. Supervisor Dave Healy has had conflicts with the rest of the township board and the township staff for several years.

Texas Township election focusing on conflict over supervisor position

The conflict seems to be based on personality, not ideology. Earlier this year, the board created a township administrator position to manage the township and reduced the Supervisor to part-time status, along with mostly eliminating his salary. Now there are slates of candidates supporting the board and Healy. The Gazette doesn't make it clear who they are, so this blog will.

Board slate:
Supervisor: Greg Pendowski
Clerk: Linda Kerr
Treasurer: Paul Cutting
Trustees: Steven Bosch, Donald Boven, Erin Hoogendyk, Joyce Neubauer

Healy slate:
Supervisor: Dave Healy
Clerk: Tracy Kinney
Treasurer: none
Trustees: Wendy Mazer, Trish Roberts, Tim Rogowski, Jeffrey VanderRoest

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Garry Brown

Garry Brown was the last Republican Congressman from Kalamazoo County. He served 1966-1978. He represented Michigan's 3rd district, which then contained Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Barry, and Eaton Counties. He defeated democrat Paul Todd, who served one term 1964-66. Brown was defeated by democrat Howard Wolpe, who held office 1978-1992.

Brown was previously part of the Michigan state senate, 1962-66. Brown compiled a fairly moderate record in Washington, as seen in his ACU ratings below.

1978: 73
1977: 72
1976: 71
1975: 74
1974: 32
1973: 70
1972: 70
1971: 63
Life: 66%

Friday, June 15, 2012

Upton Smears Jack (Part 4)

Congressman Fred Upton has continued his campaign to smear Jack Hoogendyk's record. This latest attack is particularly vile. This time, Upton is not accusing Jack of voting like a liberal, he is accusing Jack sympathizing with criminals.

Fred Upton campaign attacks Jack Hoogendyk on sex offender and drunk driving votes in new mailers

You can see the mailers in the article above. They imply that Jack opposes tough penalties for sex offenders and drunk drivers. But as Jack explains in the article, there were problems with both bills.
Hoogendyk said Thursday the statement that he doesn't "share...priorities" is a distortion. He said he voted against the bill because he said there was a flaw in the registration program related to "Romeo and Juliet" cases — when an underage person consensually engages in sex. An example, Hoogendyk said, would be if a 17 year-old and 15 year-old. Hoogendyk said a person could on the registry list for much of their adult life.

"I felt like the program and process needed to be fixed before going through with this," Hoogendyk said.


The other mailer depicts a series of bills that would strengthen penalties for convicted drunk drivers, including installing a ingestion breathalyzer device on their car. The mailer reads: "Jack Hoogendyk crossed the line and voted to go easy on extremely drunk drivers."

"That is an outright falsehood," Hoogendyk said. For one of the bills mentioned, he said he ended up voting for the final bill after it went to the state senate.

"I did not go easy on drunk drivers," Hoogendyk said. "I voted for bills that ended up being stronger than the original ones."

Hoogendyk actually votes against a bill that would establish .15 blood alcohol content level as a drunk driving offense. He did not vote for or against the final bill when the Senate version came back up in the House, which did not include the .15 limit.

Hoogendyk did vote in favor of a Senate bill for increasing penalties for drivers with BAC over .17, which is the current limit for a driver to be considered "super drunk." The two bills were part of a package that led to the "super drunk" driving laws in Michigan.
It is really awful to take Jack's votes out of context like this. Fred Upton certainly knows that there are often competing bills on an issue in a legislature, so you vote for the one you like best and oppose the others. Also, many bills have technical problems that would lead to negative consequences. You ought to be able to vote against flawed, if well-intentioned legislation without being smeared as supporting drunk drivers and sex offenders.

I hope that voters see through these distortions. We'll find out in August.

Upton Smears Jack (Part 3)
Upton Smears Jack (Part 2)
Upton Smears Jack
Jack's Response to Upton Mailer

Spending Cut Scorecard

The Club for Growth has just come out with a very useful tool. Their "Spending Cut Scorecard" scores how members of the House of Representatives voted on a number of spending cut amendments.


Sadly, a significant number of Republicans continue to vote against spending cuts. Congressman Fred Upton scored a not-too-bad 76%. Of course, we have seen before that Upton votes more conservative when he faces a primary challenge.

Fred Upton: 64% Conservative in 2011
Upton Votes Conservative--Thanks, Jack!
National Conservatives Finally Notice Fred Upton

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Michigan House Repeals Handgun Registration

The Michigan House of Representatives has voted to repeal Michigan's handgun permit and registration law. The vote was 74-36, with all Republicans in favor. This is less than other recent pro-gun bills since 2000, which usually get about 100 votes in the state house. The bill must still be passed by the state senate.

Michigan House Votes Overwhelmingly to Repeal Permit-to-Purchase and Registration
State House Votes to End Pistol Permit System

This bill is long past due. Only six states require any form of gun registration. Michigan, California, Hawaii, and New York register handguns, and New Jersey and Connecticut register "assault weapons". The other five are all considerably more liberal than Michigan.

Gun Registration by State Map

NRA Alert
Gun Bills in Michigan
New Gun Law
Ending Registration

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Upton/Hoogendyk Debate

Jack Hoogendyk and Fred Upton met in their first debate (of two campaigns) tonight at Schneider Hall at Western Michigan University. The debate lasted for one hour. The format, in between opening and closing statements, was question/90 second answer/90 second response/60 second response.

Congressman Fred Upton and Jack Hoogendyk debate, with live video
Fred Upton and Jack Hoogendyk spar over voting records during first debate

Both candidates performed well, with no major mistakes on either side. Jack aggressively challenged Fred Upton's voting record. Fred mostly ignored these challenges, and only once (question 6) challenged Jack's record. Upton significantly distorted electoral history in question 11.

A summary follows, along with my commentary in brackets.

Opening Statements:
Jack: Limiting government. Running because of family. "Every one of you has a giant millstone wrapped around your neck, and the word on that millstone is debt." $50,000 per person. Entitlements.
Fred: Jobs. People. Reagan. Congress. Obama bad. Stimulus bad. Obamacare bad. Energy legislation. Jobs. Infrastructure. Taxes. Move the timekeeper!

Question 1: Will you cut the military to balance the budget?
Jack: Generally opposed. Cut waste, economize. Not much to cut. Republican Study Committee budget. [Fred almost always opposes the more conservative budget.]
Fred: Support BBA. Everything on the table. Voted to cut trillions. [Where? I don't believe this!] Bring troops home from Afghanistan. [I agree!]
Jack: Have to make cuts to balance budget. Mike Mullen: Biggest threat to national security is national debt.

Question 2: More jobs under Clinton, even with tax increase. What will you do other than cut taxes? [Biased question!]
Fred: 9/11 cost money, hurt economy. Obama didn't create jobs. Need tax reform.
Jack: Tax cuts have lag effect. Reagan tax cuts helped under Clinton. Upton opposed some Bush tax cuts. Massive spending leads to inflation. Upton has not restrained spending.
Fred: I voted for Bush tax cuts. Republican Congress under Clinton.

Question 3: Bush administration ran up big deficit. Are there any spending votes you regret, would cast differently?
Fred: 9/11 cost money. Spent money on security. Wind down Afghanistan. World has trouble. Get back to surplus, pay down debt.
[Upton didn't answer the question. Didn't list any votes he regrets. While defense spending was increased, domestic spending was also massively increased, and Upton voted for almost all of it.]
Jack: Can't speak for Fred. Disagree with Fred on Wall Street Bailout (twice). Republicans didn't get job done, increased spending, debt. One of four Republicans to vote to override Bush on SCHIP.
Fred: Grateful Jack wasn't in Congress those years. (Snear) Jack supported SCHIP when he debated Carl Levin. [The original program or the expansion?] "I've always been viewed as a fiscal conservative." [By whom? Not by people who've studied your record!] Support tax reform.

Question 4: David Stockman says Congress would not really cut spending. Can spending be cut enough to balance the budget without revenue increase?
Jack: Yes. Cut spending, increase revenue through growth. Happening in the '80s. Republican Study Committee, Tea Party, Rand Paul have budgets that will balance in 5 years. Make sacrifices. Make tough decisions.
Fred: I know Dave Stockman. [You, Sir, are no Dave Stockman!] Voted for Ryan budget. Senate hasn't passed budget. Entitlement spending.
Jack: Upton one of 16 Republicans to vote for Obama omnibus spending. website criticized. He owns that. 9000 earmarks.

Question 5: Keystone XL Pipeline. Why is it necessary, is it safe?
Jack: Support safeguards. State department studied, minimal environmental risk. Many things we can do. Interior department land grab. Upton supported blocking development. More examples.
Fred: Administration out of excuses. Shepherded though committee. Jobs. Obama. passed legislation to rebuild Embridge pipeline.
Jack: Lift offshore and onshore drilling bans. Upton opposed, voted to ban drilling off Florida, under Great Lakes. Done for 100 years in Canada. Insurance cost low.

Question 6: What alternative energy do you support, do you support same subsidies as for oil? [False premise!]
Fred: All of the above. Nuclear plants. Storage for nuclear waste. Renewables need to make it on their own.
Jack: Flatly opposed to subsidies. Find solutions in private sector. Nuclear, clean coal. Upton voted for increased taxes on domestic energy. I voted against mandates in the house.
Fred: Jack voted for [lists five votes, four of which are, in his own words, tax breaks.] "Flatly opposed, I don't think so."

Question 7: You voted against Obamacare, lead charge to repeal. What would you do about law, work to lessen burden on businesses.
Fred: Hope Supreme Court will strike down. Called Obamacare's worst nightmare. Listen to public. Can't keep own healthcare. 2700 pages. Market reforms. Encourage employers to offer health care. [No! Individuals should buy their own.]
Jack: Government has no business in health care. Empower individuals. Health savings accounts. Encourage individuals to buy their own. Buy health care across state lines. Will Upton keep 'preexisting conditions' from Obamacare?
Fred: Tort reform. Market reform. Medical device tax--Stryker. Repeal it.

Question 8: What would conservative health care reform look like?
Jack: Back to question 6. Bill Upton read were tax credits, not subsidies. Big difference. Broad-based tax cuts are better, take what you can get under Granholm. Vouchers, block grants, high risk pools.
Fred: Purchase insurance across state lines. You can do that with your car. Geico ad. Tort reform. Obamacare costs states more. Block grants. Glad timekeeper isn't school bus, we'd be going right though him.
Jack: Encourage individuals. Hayek. Can't allow people to wait to buy health care until they get sick. Personal responsibility. [Upton never answered pre-existing conditions question.]

Question 9: Upton has 73% from NTU, ACU. Opposed most of Obama, supported most of Bush initiatives. Why is that not enough in district carried by Obama?
Jack: We should run on things we should believe in. Need constitutional conservatives. Upton not worst, but far down there. Heritage Action rates Upton at 51%. Voted for more spending, national debt limit increase. Voted against 39 billion in cuts. Has to stop.
Fred: Lots of different groups. Lots of groups. 100% from Farm Bureau. 93% lifetime from Chamber of Commerce. NRA 100% [not in the '80s and '90s!] National Right to Life, realtors, Family Research Council.
Jack: Chamber of Commerce supports subsidies. Farm Bureau supports farm subsidies. Endorses by Gun Owners of America, RNC for life, Eagle Forum, Madison Project. Most conservative organizations.

Question 10: Term limits. Are they good, do they help or hurt.
Fred: Michigan federal term limits ruled term limits unconstitutional. Voted for constitutional amendment, which didn't get close. Term limits should be longer. Lists many local legislators.
Jack: Support term limits. Founders didn't think term limits would be necessary. best legislators are average citizens. Don't need career politicians. A little cynical because you can vote for something knowing it won't pass. Upton said term limits should be 10-12 years, has served 25. I'll serve six years.
Fred: Voted for amendment. Newt got rid of seniority system. Have committee chairmanship.

Question 11: William F. Buckley said voted for most conservative candidate who can win. Is Jack more conservative, and can he win?
Fred: [Ignores first question.] Don't know whether Jack can win. Jack ran for 9 offices in 9 years. Took safe district and made it close. Recount in last election. Ran for Senate, lost his own "district/precinct". I won his district. Larry DeShazor won handily. Steady decline in support in his precinct. District went for Obama, Clinton twice. Diverse district.

[I'm not sure what "district/precinct" means. I'll Assume Upton meant district. It's true that Jack's percentages declined. They were 57%/55%/51% in 02/04/06. (See But Upton doesn't mention that his own percentages declined, winning 69%/65%/61% in those same years. Thus Upton lost more support than Jack did over the same period. Julie Rogers wasted taxpayers' money with a recount, even though she clearly had no chance of success.
Carl Levin was an entrenched incumbent and Jack had no money, so it's no surprise he didn't win. He did easily win his own precinct, Texas 6, though. Upton could have taken on Levin in 1996, but he passed. It's a flat-out whopper to say that Larry DeShazor won handily. Larry got 51.06%]

Jack: Buckley said he'd rather be governed by people in Boston phone directory. Power lies with people, not with Washington. Study shows that when congressional delegation grows in power, businesses in district do worse.
Fred: Under Newt, passed Contact for America, undid seniority system. Speaker Boehner good. Cut Congress' budget. Open process.

Question 12: Political parties are more polarized. How has GOP changed, is government more effective.
Jack: GOP has lost its way. Partisanship. Democrats say 'we call the shots'. What does Constitution say? Let's follow that standard. Honor Constitution.
Fred: Swing district. People want job done. Allow amendments, bipartisan first. 40 amendments, 35 have significant bipartisan support. Work with other side. Upton/Mfume bill on disabled. Streamline medical devices.
Jack: Congressman Upton has done some good things. 51% from Heritage Action. I worked with Rep. Bob Jones.

Closing Statements:
Jack: Thank people for debate. Need more debates. Want six debates for six counties. Don Cooney wanted more debates in 2008.
Fred: Important election. Make a difference. Jobs, Obamacare, energy. Track record. Endorsements. Local supporters.

Write In is the Wrong Way

A strange situation has developed in the 11th congressional district. Congressman Thad McCotter's petition signatures were found to be mostly invalid. They contained copies of the same sheet and copies from previous years. The fraud was so blatant that it is hard to imagine that any experienced campaign aid could have thought that it would work. The most likely explanation seems to be that McCotter was intentionally sabotaged. Hopefully, Attorney General Schuette's investigation will determine the truth.

The only Republican on the ballot is Tea Party candidate Kerry Bentivolio, who probably wasn't expecting to win. He seems decent on the issues, though a little rough around the edges.

The party establishment, led by Brooks Patterson, doesn't like him though. They met to select a write-in candidate, picking former state senator Nancy Cassis. This author was not impressed with Cassis the one time I heard her speak.

This raises the question of how hard it is to win a write-in campaign. There isn't much data to work with, as most write-in candidates aren't really with it and have no hope of winning.

One of the few exceptions was in the 61st state house district democrat primary in 2010. Democrat Grant Taylor filed but was kicked off the ballot since he had moved into the district one day before the filing deadline. He ran a a write-in, and got the endorsements of the local party establishment over Thomas Batten, who they didn't like for some reason. Taylor spent $95,246 of his dad's money to win 737 votes. That's $129.23 per vote.

Money On Fire Update!

Based on past history, there will probably be 50-80,000 votes in the Republican primary. So Nancy Cassis would need 25-40,000 votes to win. If she has to spend $100 per vote, she would need $2.5-4 million.

Of course, the analogy isn't perfect. Cassis has some name recognition, particularly in her former district. Bentivolio has some Tea Party support, and the media will give the race more attention. In the 61st, neither Batten nor Taylor attracted much support or interest.

Still, this example suggests that Nancy Cassis is unlikely to win.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

A Brief History of the WMU College Republicans

A Brief History of the WMU College Republicans

The WMU College Republicans were formed far back in the dark and distant past (maybe sometime in the ‘90s). Few records of these early days have survived to the present.

Chairman: Andy Phelps

Chairman: Amy Powell

A relatively small group of about ten members was quite active on campus. The group heavily canvassed the campus for Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick Posthumus, who narrowly lost to democrat Jennifer Granholm. “Vote for Dick” could frequently be seen scrawled in chalk across campus.

Controversy erupted when business professor Norman Hawker, an official in the local democrat party, was exposed offering extra credit to volunteer for a political campaign and only listing contact information for one campaign. That just happened to be the state senate campaign of Ed LaForge, whose treasurer was Hawker’s wife. Chairman Amy Powell exposed this in a letter to the editor, and Hawker later became a member of the WMU Faculty Hall of Shame.

The group hosted a speech by civil rights activist and former University of California Board of Regents member Ward Connerly. He gave a short speech criticizing the use of racial preferences and then answered many audience questions. One was from a member of BAMN, a front for the Revolutionary Workers League, a communist splinter group.

The group was invited to participate in a debate on affirmative action. The debate turned into a farce, with several leftist groups and a highly biased moderator all pitted against the College Republicans. The CRs eventually walked out.

The group was active in the Western Student Association (WSA), whose president was conservative Johnny Knowles. The group sponsored a resolution to support the troops, which was narrowly passed. The group also sponsored a resolution critical of communist China, which failed to pass the WSA.

Some members of the group participated in a “support the troops” near the start of the Iraq War sponsored by the conservative student group Students for America.

Chairman: Matt Hall

The WMUGOP expanded dramatically under the leadership of new Chairman Matt Hall.

The group planned to hold a vigil to commemorate the second anniversary of 9/11. When the WMUGOP learned that a black fraternity was planning a similar event, the groups agreed to combine the events and hold a joint vigil.

The group hosted a bevy of speakers over the course of the academic year. Reginald Jones spoke about his views as a black conservative.

Dr. Alan Cors, a representative of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), spoke about how campus speech codes violate the First Amendment. About 200 people attended the event.

Political activist Bay Buchanan spoke about the link between abortion and breast cancer. The event, which was co-sponsored by Students for Life, was attended by about 200 people. The speech riled feminists in the audience.

The highlight of the year was a speech by author Dinesh D’Souza. His topic was his recent book, What’s So Great About America. He spoke to a crowd of 350, which packed the lecture hall, filled the aisles, and spilled out into the hallway.

The College Republicans were one of four campus groups to participate in a Black History Quiz Bowl, and the group won by a large margin. The group also revised its constitution, moving from five to six officers.

Chairman: Matt Hall

Matt Hall continued as Chairman for a second year, leading the College Republicans to even greater achievements. Over the summer, members of the group campaigned for Jerry VanderRoest for state representative, who narrowly lost the Republican primary.

The group hosted lively weekly meeting every Wednesday in the Brown and Gold Room of the Bernhard Center. The group watched a presidential debate and the state of the union address. It saw visits from local political figures State Representative Jack Hoogendyk and Kalamazoo City Commissioner Mary Balkema and debated issues including immigration, the Iraq War, and health care.

The group campaigned hard for Republican candidates during election season, focusing its efforts on supporting President George W. Bush and State Representative Jack Hoogendyk. Members put up yard signs, distributed literature, knocked on doors, and more. They were rewarded with many victories and a celebration at The Union downtown.

In the winter semester, the group hosted a speech by former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, commonly known as the “Ten Commandments Judge”. The event was advertised with flyers posted all over campus featuring the Ten Commandments. A university bureaucrat demanded that a display featuring the Ten Commandments be removed, but the group refused, and the university backed down. The event was attended by 600 people in the Bernhard Center ballroom. Moore delivered an incisive lecture on God, government, and the Constitution.

A clash with the campus left loomed when the group made plans to bring author, former presidential candidate, and immigration critic Pat Buchanan to campus. The speech coincidentally fell on Cesar Chavez Day, March 31. Chavez was an American union organizer who (unknown to most leftists) had organized minuteman style-patrols along the Mexican border and called for the government to deport illegal aliens. The group ran with the connection, advertising the event with flyers stating “Viva Buchanan…Come Celebrate Cesar Chavez Day with Pat Buchanan”. The group later declared the day to be “America First Day”.

Campus leftists flipped out over the event. Condemnations came from the Kalamazoo Gazette and a Kalamazoo city commissioner (who was voted out in the next election). Campus leftists vandalized and destroyed thousands of flyers and posters advertising the event.

Women’s studies professor Edith Fisher organized her class to tear down flyers the day of the event. When several members of the College Republicans went to investigate, Fisher impaled one of the group’s posters on a Mexican flag. She then shoved one of the members of the group when he tried to retrieve the poster. Incredibly, not only did she go unpunished, but later the university actually held a sham trial and punished two members of the College Republicans on bogus charges.

Meanwhile, Pat Buchanan spoke before a divided audience of 900 people in the Bernhard Center. While many in the audience were hostile, he managed to find common ground while addressing the Terry Schiavo case and criticizing the Iraq War, free trade, and immigration. Buchanan fielded a number of questions from the audience, but the Q&A came to an abrupt end.

A leftist from off campus who described himself as a “national socialist” attacked Buchanan by throwing salad dressing all over Buchanan. The university refused to press charges for property damage, but the attacker was nonetheless convicted of disturbing the peace. He was sentenced to ten days in jail, given probation, and ordered to pay $6,628 in restitution.

The group was active on a number of other fronts. Members volunteered at the Michigan Republican state convention in Grand Rapids. Matt Hall narrowly lost a bid for chairman of the Michigan Federation of College Republicans (MFCR) at the group’s convention held at Kalamazoo College. The group continued to be active in the WSA, and helped to elect allies of the group as President and Speaker of the Senate. The group passed a resolution in the WSA criticizing Edith Fisher’s actions. The group took pride in its small office in Faunce Hall featuring the “Reagan wall”.

Chairman: Ashley Allen

Chairman Ashley Allen led the group in a flurry of activities. The group kicked off the year with a table at Bronco Bash and moving into a larger office in Faunce. The group continued weekly meetings in the Brown and Gold Room with about 30 active members. There were visits by local political figures, debates over issues including the United Nations, unions, and Harriet Miers’ nomination to the Supreme Court.

Members of the group attended the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference, volunteering for Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. Members also volunteered for Kalamazoo City Commissioner Mary Balkema, helping her to secure reelection in November.

The group hosted Congressman Tom Tancredo for a speech to Michigan College Republicans. Tancredo gave a masterful speech on immigration, government spending, education, and national sovereignty.

Several years earlier, WMU President Judy Bailey had created a scholarship specifically for illegal aliens. When the WMU College Republicans learned about it, the group launched a campaign to eliminate it. This culminated in a resolution before the WSA which took four weeks and two versions before finally passing 32-25. When President Bailey was fired the next summer, her successor ended the scholarship.

On November 16, the WMUGOP hosted a speech by columnist and author Michelle Malkin on campus. Following a weather-related delay, she spoke about her book Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild. She also parried audience questions.

In the “Spring” semester, the group kept busy. There were debates over the minimum wage, free trade, and promoting democracy. The group launched a new website,

The group also started a blog, The Western Right:, which launched on February 12, 2006. The blog featured a dozen contributors over several years. It featured POLITICAL UPDATES, which began as a feature of the groups weekly email in late summer 2005 and continued in that format for several years. It was eventually spun off separate from the group. It has accumulated over 2000 posts on all sorts of political and cultural issues over the succeeding six years.

The group sent 27 delegates to the MFCR convention at Hillsdale College. Sergeant “The Enforcer” Tom Barrett, a member of the group, was elected co-chair of the MFCR by a lopsided margin.

The main event of the semester was a speech by author and political columnist Ann Coulter on February 22, 2006. The group received funding from WSA, GSAC, and private donations for the event. The group promoted the event with flyers headlined “Ann Coulter is Coming to WMU—Are You Offended Yet?” Thousands of flyers were torn down or defaced by campus leftists. The university administration and outside groups attempted to derail the event, but the group overcame these obstacles.

The event attracted 2500 people, filling both halves of the Bernhard Center Ballroom. Coulter gave a rousing speech, denouncing liberals and liberalism, touching on many topics. Following the speech, there was a question-and-answer session where many liberals demonstrated their ignorance. The speech was preceded by a book-signing and succeeded by a dinner with Coulter at Old Burdick’s, where she declared the WMU College Republicans to be the best College Republican group in the country!

The group actively participated in the WSA elections. The group endorsed and campaigned for Amanda Grove and Drew Hooley for WSA President and Vice-President. They won a three-way race with about half the vote. The group also was instrumental in electing Aaron Easlick as speaker of the Senate.

Chairman: Tom Barrett

Over the summer, Western’s President Judy Bailey was fired by the Board of Trustees. Her interim replacement was former President Diether Haenicke. He was a member of the Republican Party and a strong and effective leader.

Also over the summer, members of the group volunteered for state representative Jack Hoogendyk who won his primary, and later the general election. Many members also attended the state Republican convention in Novi, volunteering for Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land.

The group continued lively weekly meetings with about 30 active members. Visitors included senate candidate Mike Bouchard, Jack Hoogendyk, and Senator Tom George. Debate topics included the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI), term limits, dinosaurs, global warming, space exploration, Iran, and gun rights.

The group was active in the 2006 election campaign, working for Dick DeVos, Michael Bouchard, Terri Land, Tom George, and more. The group knocked on doors, made phone calls, made and put up signs, made literature, and more. Republicans had a rough election nationally, but Tom George and Jack Hoogendyk were narrowly reelected. Members assisted with a recount in Jack’s race.

Chairman Tom Barrett also ran for a seat on the Kalamazoo County Commission in southwest Kalamazoo city. Tom ran a strong race, but despite a valiant campaign effort, the district was just too democratic to win.

The group also endorsed and campaigned for the MCRI. Members of the group wrote letters and articles to the Kalamazoo Gazette supporting the measure. The group worked with another group, Students Against Racial Preferences, on this campaign. These efforts were rewarded when the MCRI passed statewide 58-42 and countywide 52-48.

The group remained active in the WSA, with members holding the positions of President, Vice-President, Speaker, Speaker Pro-Tem, Associate Justice, Political Affairs Chairman, Campus Concerns Chairman, and Allocations Committee member. These Republicans worked with President Haenicke to deliver the most effective student government in many years. The Senate passed a resolution to increase the printing limit to 500 pages per semester, which was enacted by the administration. It also passed a resolution to extend Bernhard Center hours, which was also enacted, and worked with the administration to extend library hours. Vice-President Andrew Hooley was a member of the search committee that eventually hired Western President John Dunn.

President Haenicke finally killed Western’s illegal immigrant scholarship.

The group’s efforts were recognized when the College Republican National Committee declared the WMU College Republicans to be the Best College Republican group in America in 2006.

Controversy erupted over the WMU Faculty Hall of Shame. This document had been created some time earlier and was eventually put on the group’s website. Its purpose was to document incidents where faculty members misused their power over students for political purposes. Without even contacting the group, the College Democrats launched an error-riddled attack on this document and the group in the Western Herald. The WMUGOP responded to this attack and refused to back down in spite of threats and pressure to do so. An online poll showed that respondents favored the group’s position.

The main event of the semester was a speech by former Attorney General John Ashcroft on March 13, 2007 in Miller Auditorium. The event was attended by about 900 people and protested by leftists outside. Ashcroft spoke on the relationship between security and freedom in the War on Terrorism. The speech was followed by a question-and-answer session and dinner at Old Burdick’s.

The group supported a successful resolution in the WSA asking that Sindecuse Health Center allow advertising for Alternatives Women’s Care Center. The resolution passed overwhelmingly, but was not implemented by the administration. The group supported Matt Moss for President of the WSA, but his campaign was unsuccessful.

The group unanimously passed a resolution supporting the release of Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean, whose sentences were later commuted by President Bush. The group also unanimously passed a resolution calling for the end of the campus gun ban.

Megan Buwalda won a contested race to be the next Chairman of the group. The group also approved rewriting its Constitution.

The group’s website was named a finalist for best RSO webpage by the university administration.

Chairman: Megan Buwalda

On the sixth anniversary of 9/11, the group held a memorial by placing 2997 flags in shape of World Trade Center in front of Bernhard Center, one for each of those killed in the attack.

The group continued its weekly meetings in the Brown and Gold room. Visitors included State Representative Jack Hoogendyk and Portage City Councilwoman Margaret O’Brien. Debates topics included trade, immigration, civil liberties, the death penalty, and health care. The group had about 20 active members.

The group campaigned for Margaret O’Brien for Portage City Council, who was reelected easily.

The major event of the semester was a speech by television journalist and author John Stossel on November 28, 2007 in Shaw Theater. He spoke to a packed auditorium of 550 people. His topics included economics , government regulations, and his personal story. The group held a Presidential straw poll won by John McCain. There was a book-signing and dinner at Old Burdick’s before the speech and question-and-answer afterwards.

The outside wall of the building containing the group’s office was vandalized with anti-capitalist slogans spray painted on it.

In the WSA, the Speaker of the Senate was convicted and had his pay docked over a constitutional violation of voting rules. The trial was presided over by Chief Justice Megan Buwalda.

In the Spring, the group continued activity with visits from Jack Hoogendyk, Charles Ybema, and Students for Concealed Carry. That group later hosted a speech by local gun rights activist Joel Fulton. The WMUGOP participated in the Michigan Republican Convention, MFCR, Conservative Political Action Conference, and Lincoln Day.

The group participated in a debate over the Iraq War with the College Democrats. Two members of each group answered a variety of questions.

The group hosted a speech by Lean Drolet, head of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. He discussed taxpayers’ issues and potential recall elections.

The main event of the year was a speech by rock musician and author Ted Nugent. The event was held on March 31, 2008, “America First Day”, in Miller Auditorium. The event was preceded by a reception with photos and a book-signing. About 1800 people attended the event, where Nugent spoke on “God, Guns, and Rock and Roll”. The event concluded with questions and a guitar solo.

The group was named a “5-Star RSO” by the university.

Chairman: Megan Buwalda/David Bell

Group members spent the summer volunteering for candidates including Margaret O’Brien, Congressman Tim Walberg, Texas Township Supervisor candidate Dave Healy, and Kalamazoo Township Supervisor candidate Justin VanderArk. The group commemorated the seventh anniversary of 9/11 by again placing 2997 flags in shape of World Trade Center in front of Bernhard Center.

Meetings saw visits by Mary Balkema, State Representative candidates Jase Bolger and Larry DeShazor, county commission candidate Chris Haenicke, and AJ Keech. Debate topics included the bailout and medical marijuana.

The main focus of the group was the 2008 election. Members of the group campaigned for Volunteered for John McCain, Jack Hoogendyk, Mary Balkema, Larry DeShazor, and more by knocking on doors, making phone calls, and making and putting up signs. The group sponsored a showing of the pro-McCain film Faith of our Fathers on September, 30, 2008, attended by about 30 people. Republicans did not fare well in the election, but Mary Balkema, Larry DeShazor nonetheless won narrow victories.

After Megan Buwalda graduated, David Bell became Chairman of the group. The group was not very active in the Spring semester.

Chairman: Troy Hudson

The group began the next year with all-new leadership. The group met in the Bernhard Center Faculty Dining Room and had about 25 members. It saw visits by state senate candidates Tonya Schuitmaker, Larry DeShazor, and Lorence Wenke and state representative candidate Margaret O’Brien.

The group actively volunteered for state senate candidate Mike Nofs in a neighboring district special election. Nofs won a massive victory in the election.

A member of the group held a “liberal dunk tank” event.

Chairman: Troy Hudson

Chairman: Ashley Cole

Chairman: Chadwick Dillon/Scott Morris

The group continued to meet but was not active on campus.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Conservative State House Candidates

Republicans hold the majority in the state house of representatives. Many of the members are conservatives, but few are leaders who actively work to advance conservatism. There are Tom McMillin, Dave Agema, Bob Genetski, and maybe a few others. We need candidates for state house are like them.

There are a few people running who are strong candidates to continue that tradition.

District 41. (Troy, Clawson) I have heard good things about Deb Debacker, a longtime member of the state committee. She is one of three Republicans seeking this seat, replacing the term-limited Marty Knollenberg.

District 93. (Clinton, Gratiot) Staunch conservative Tom Leonard is one of four Republicans vying to replace term-limited rep. Paul Opsommer.

District 104. (Grand Traverse) Tea Party leader and Grand Traverse county commissioner Jason Gillman is running in the primary against Republican rep. Wayne Schmidt. Gillman is the editor of

Are there similar candidates in other parts of the state?

Steve Pestka Flips of Abortion

Moderate democrat Steve Pestka is facing a challenge from leftist Trevor Thomas while seeking the nomination to challenge Justin Amash in the 3rd congressional district.

Pestka had a pro-life voting record in the state house which he is now running away from. He has recently switched his position on abortion, in a move sure to satisfy nobody.

Steve Pestka's Pro-Life Voting Record Sparks Debate In Michigan Democratic Primary
“I consider myself to be personally pro-life to the extent that I would never advocate to anyone that they get an abortion, but at the end of the day that’s not my decision to make," he also said in an interview with The Battle Creek Enquirer.

"I don’t believe in making abortion illegal," he said, adding, "Let me be very clear about this. I am not in support of any legislation before the United States Congress that would defund Planned Parenthood.”

Saturday, June 02, 2012

2012 Michigan State House Races

Cross-posted at The Western Right, Right Michigan, and Red Racing Horses. Updated with new ratings August 10, 2012.

All 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives will be up for election in November. Republicans currently hold a 63-47 majority, following a 67-43 democrat majority before 2010. There are “only” 22 open seats following many members being term-limited, defeated, or seeking other office in 2010.

Republicans will gain several seats due to redistricting, though not as many as they could have. Republican Michigander has written a good profile of the races along with presidential election data, racial breakdowns, and brief commentary. The Secretary of State website has a complete list of candidates, along with links to some, but not all candidate websites.

Michigan State House - all districts
2012 Unofficial Michigan Primary Candidate Listing

Republican Michigander tends to be more pessimistic than I am in ratings (not just for these districts, but in general), so I am providing my own ratings. I am confident about the districts in my area (Kalamazoo) but many of the others are educated guesses.

The following lists district number, current incumbent, political rating, and geographic description.

1. -10. [Detroit] Safe D
11. (Open) [Inkster, Garden City] Safe D for David Knezek
12. (Douglas Geiss) [Taylor, Romulus] Safe D
13. (Andrew Kandrevas) [Southgate, Allen Park, Dearborn Heights] Safe D
14. (Paul Clemente) [Riverview, Wyandotte, Lincoln Park, Melvindale] Safe D
15. (George Darany) [Dearborn] Safe D
16. (Open) [Westland, Wayne] Safe D for Robert Kosowski
17. (Open) [N Monroe, Sumpter, Huron] Lean D: Annie Rossio v. Bill LaVoy
18. (Open) [St. Clair Shores, Eastpointe] Safe D for Sarah Roberts
19. (John Walsh) [Livonia] Safe R
20. (Kurt Heise) [Plymouth, Northville] Safe R
21. (Dian Slavens) [Canton, Van Buren] Safe D
22. (Harold Haugh) [Roseville, E Warren] Safe D
23. (Pat Somerville) [SE Wayne] Tossup versus Tom Boritski (D)
24. (Anthony Forlini) [Harrison, N Clinton, SW Macomb] Safe R
25. (Open) [E Sterling Heights, NC Warren] Tossup: Sean Clark versus Henry Yanez
26. (Jim Townsend) [Royal Oak, Madison Heights] Safe D
27. (Ellen Cogen Lipton) [Oak Park, Ferndale, Hazel Park] Safe D
28. (Jon Switalski beat Lesia Liss) [W Warren, Center Line] Safe D
29. (Tim Greimel) [Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Orchard Lake] Safe D
30. (Jeff Farrington) [W Sterling Heights, Utica, SE Shelby] Safe R
31. (Marilyn Lane) [S Clinton, Fraser, Mt. Clemens] Safe D
32. (Andrea LaFontaine) [Chesterfield, C St. Clair] Safe R
33. (Ken Goike) [NE Macomb, Macomb Twp.] Safe R
34. (Woodrow Stanley) [Flint] Safe D
35. (Rudy Hobbs) [Southfield] Safe D
36. (Pete Lund) [Shelby, Washington, Bruce] Safe R
37. (Vicki Barnett) [Farmington] Safe D
38. (Hugh Crawford) [Novi, Lyon] Safe R
39. (Open) [W West Bloomfield, Commerce, Wixom] Lean R: Klint Kesto v. Pam Jackson
40. (Open) [Bloomfield, Birmingham, E West Bloomfield] Safe R for Michael McCready
41. (Open) [Troy, Clawson] Lean R: Martin Howrylak v. Mary Kerwin
42. (Bill Rogers) [SE Livingston] Safe R
43. (Gail Haines) [Waterford, Independence] Safe R
44. (Eileen Kowall) [Springfield, White Lake, Highland, Milford] Safe R
45. (Tom McMillin) [Rochester, S Oakland Twp] Safe R
46. (Bradford Jacobsen) [NE Oakland] Safe R
47. (Cindy Denby) [N Livingston] Safe R
48. (Open) [NE Genesee] Safe D for Pam Faris or Pat Gleason
49. (Jim Ananich) [Flint Twp., Mt. Morris, SW Flint] Safe D
50. (Charles Smiley) [Burton, Grand Blanc, Mundy] Safe D
51. (Joe Graves) [W Genesee, Fenton, NW Oakland] Safe R
52. (Mark Ouimet) [W Washtenaw] Lean R versus Gretchen Driskell
53. (Jeff Irwin) [Ann Arbor] Safe D
54. (David Rutledge) [Ypsilanti] Safe D
55. (Open) [Pittsfield, NE Ann Arbor, York, Augusta] Safe D for Adam Zemke
56. (Dale Zorn) [S Monroe] Safe R
57. (Nancy Jenkins) [Lenawee] Lean R versus Jim Berryman
58. (Ken Kurtz) [Branch, Hillsdale] Safe R
59. (Matt Lori) [St. Joseph, E Cass] Safe R
60. (Sean McCann) [Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Twp.] Safe D
61. (Margaret O'Brien) [Portage, Oshtemo, Texas, Schoolcraft, Prairie Ronde] Safe R
62. (Kate Segal) [Battle Creek, Albion, N Calhoun] Safe D
63. (Jase Bolger) [E Kalamazoo, S Calhoun] Safe R
64. (Earl Poleski) [Jackson city, W Jackson] Lean R versus Barb Shelton
65. (Mike Shirkey) [N Jackson, SE Eaton] Safe R
66. (Aric Nesbitt) [Van Buren, Cooper, Alamo, Parchment] Safe R
67. (Open) [S Ingham] Tossup: Jeff Oesterle v. Tom Cochran
68. (Open) [Lansing] Safe D for Andy Schor
69. (Open) [East Lansing, Meridian] Safe D for Sam Singh
70. (Rick Outman) [Montcalm, N Gratiot] Lean R versus Mike Huckleberry
71. (Deb Shaughnessy) [Eaton] Lean R versus Theresa Abed or Andrea Cascarilla
72. (Ken Yonker) [Kentwood, Gaines, NE Allegan] Safe R
73. (Peter MacGregor) [Grand Rapids Twp, Plainfield, NE Kent] Safe R
74. (Open) [Grandville, Walker, Alpine, NW Kent] Safe R for Rob Verhuelen
75. (Brandon Dillon) [central Grand Rapids] Safe D
76. (Roy Schmidt) [peripheral Grand Rapids] Lean D for Winnie Brinks
77. (Thomas Hooker) [Wyoming, Byron] Safe R
78. (Open) [S Berrien, SW Cass] Safe R for Dave Pagel
79. (Al Pscholka) [N Berrien] Safe R
80. (Bob Genetski) [Allegan] Safe R
81. (Open) [NW, E St. Clair] Safe R for Dan Lauwers
82. (Kevin Daley) [Lapeer] Safe R
83. (Paul Muxlow) [Sanilac, Port Huron] Safe R
84. (Kurt Damrow) [Tuscola, Huron] Lean D: Dan Grimshaw v. Terry Brown
85. (Ben Glardon) [Shiawassee, W Saginaw] Lean R versus Paul Ray
86. (Lisa Posthumus Lyons) [SE Kent, N Ionia] Safe R
87. (Mike Callton) [Barry, S Ionia] Safe R
88. (Open) [NE Ottawa] Safe R for Roger Victory
89. (Amanda Price) [W Ottawa] Safe R
90. (Joseph Haveman) [Holland] Safe R
91. (Holly Hughes) [S, W Muskegon] Lean R versus Collene Lamonte
92. (Marcia Hovey Wright) [Muskegon city] Safe D
93. (Open) [S Gratiot, Clinton] Safe R for Tom Leonard
94. (Open) [Saginaw Twp, E Saginaw] Safe R for Tim Kelly
95. (Stacy Erwin Oakes) [Saginaw city] Safe D
96. (Charles Brunner) [Bay] Safe D
97. (Joel Johnson) [Arenac, Gladwin, Clare, E Osceola] Lean R versus Chris Breznau
98. (Jim Stamas) [C Midland, N Bay] Safe R
99. (Kevin Cotter) [Isabella, W Midland] Lean R versus Adam Lawrence
100. (Jon Bumstead) [Newaygo, Oceana, Lake] Safe R
101. (Ray Franz) [Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee, Mason] Lean R versus Allen O'Shea
102. (Phil Potvin) [Wexford, W Osceola, Mecosta] Safe R
103. (Bruce Rendon) [Kalkaska, Crawford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw] Safe R
104. (Wayne Schmidt) [Grand Traverse] Safe R
105. (Greg MacMaster) [Antrim, Charlevoix, Otsego, Montmorency, Oscoda] Safe R
106. (Peter Petallia) [E Cheboygan, Presque Isle, Alpena, Alcona, Iosco] Lean R versus Kenneth Hubbard
107. (Frank Foster) [Emmet, Mackinac, Chippewa, N Cheboygan] Safe R
108. (Ed McBroom) [Delta, Menominee, Dickinson] Lean R versus Sharon Gray
109. (Open) [Marquette, Alger, Schoolcraft, Luce] Safe D for John Kivela
110. (Matt Huuki) [W Upper Peninsula] Tossup versus Scott Dianda

Safe D: 42
Lean D: 3
Tossup: 4
Lean R: 14
Safe R: 47

Most races will not be competitive, but a few deserve attention.

23. Pat Somerville won this district for Republicans for the first time in a long time. It's a tossup.
25. This tossup district in Macomb will be hotly contested. Macomb's districts could have been drawn better.
28. Jon Switalski defeated Lesia Liss, who is more moderate, in this battle of democrat incumbents.
39. Democrat Lisa Brown is running for Oakland County Clerk rather than seek reelection in this now more Republican district. A prime pick-up opportunity.
51. Republican Joe Graves is running for reelection after winning the seat of recalled Republican Paul Scott.
52. Mark Ouimet continues to be a star fundraiser is this swingy Washtenaw district.
55. Republican Rick Olsen retired rather than run in this now solidly democrat district.
57. Republican Nancy Jenkins is running for reelection after democrats failed to get a recall on the ballot. Her opponent is former state senator Jim Berryman, who defeated 2010 opponent Harvey Schmidt.
67. Republican Jeff Oesterle came close to winning this district in 2010, and it is slightly more Republican now.
70. Republican Rick Outman will defend against democrat former rep. Mike Huckleberry, who he defeated in 2010.
76. Party-switching rep. Roy Schmidt is running for reelection as a Republican. Democrats nominated Winnie Brinks as a write-in candidate. Schmidt has probably alienated so many people that he is unelectable.
84. Republican Kurt Damrow, who has had ethics issues, lost his primary to Dan Grimshaw. He faces former rep. Terry Brown, whom Damrow narrowly beat in 2010.
106. Pete Pettalia may hold this district, but if he does, it will likely go democrat after he leaves.
110. Matt Huuki won the western UP for the first time in decades. A tough defense.