Wednesday, August 29, 2012

RNC Power Grab

The GOP establishment rammed through a rule change at the Republican convention taking power away from the delegates to the convention. It's as if the establishment is trying to drive away grassroots conservatives. How do they think Republicans win elections?

Floor fight: Grass-roots activists battle attempt to rig RNC delegate rules Updated: Palin: “direct attack on the grass-roots;” RNC power grab showdown 2pm; Rush weighs in; purge underway?; Rules Cmte votes 78-14 for deal; dissidents gather sigs for floor fight; Boehner/Sununu declare”no objections” over massive boos on floor
RNC power grab: the aftermath

Fair Ball

I have watched the video 20 times, and every time the ball goes behind the foul pole. Watch 0.18-0.24. The ball disappears behind the pole at 0.22. It should have been a home run for the Tigers.

2012 ACU Michigan Legislature Ratings

The American Conservative Union has long been the premier organization rating members of Congress on how conservative their voting records are. Last year, ACU began rating state legislators on their voting records, and it recently released its first ratings of the Michigan state legislature.

ACU rated 17 house votes and 18 senate votes from 2012. Fourteen of the bills are the same for both halves of the legislature. Many of the bills are closely related to unions and education.

Here are some notes on the results.

In the state house, Dave Agema was the only member to score 100%.

The members who scored 94% (one bad vote) are Franz, Goike, Haveman, Hooker, Huuki, Knollenberg, LaFontaine, Lund, MacGregor, McMillin, Moss, Opsommer, Price, Shirkey, and Walsh.

The lowest-scoring Republicans (not counting Roy Schmidt) were Glardon, Horn, and Muxlow (each 76%).

Party switchin' Roy Schmidt scored 53% overall. He scored 25% while he was a democrat and 78% while he was a Republican.

The top-scoring democrats are Richard LeBlanc (47%) and Lesia Liss (41%). Three democrats (Vicki Barnett, Ellen Lipton, and John Olumba) scored 0%.

In the state senate, Joe Hune was the only member to score 100%. Overall, the scores are

100%: Hune
94%: Brandenberg, Jansen, Pavlov, Robertson, Walker
89%: Colbeck, Emmons, Hildenbrand, Kowall, Meekhof, Richardville
83%: Booher, Jones, Marleau, Moolenaar, Pappageorge, Rocca, Schuitmaker
76-78%: Caswell, Green, Hansen, Kahn, Proos
72%: Casperson, Nofs
28%: Gleason
22%: Hunter
17%: Bieda
11-13%: Andersen, Johnson, Smith, Young
6%: Gregory, Hood, Hopgood, Warren, Whitmer

It's interesting that Randy Richardville scored higher than his competitor for Senate Republican leader, John Proos. Nofs, Proos, and Caswell are the most disappointing Republicans, given that they have safe districts.

The votes that tripped up the most Republicans in both houses were Brian Calley's autism mandate (SB 414) and "a new tax on produce sales from farmers to 'grain dealers'" (SB 888).

Of course, the usual caveats apply to any legislative ratings system. Legislators' scores will vary from year to year, so it will be interesting to compare these scores to future years' scores. Also, ratings only cover issues that were actually voted upon, so controversial issues like Right to Work and never made it to a vote can't be scored.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

2012 Comstock Township Elections

Comstock Township will see hotly contested elections for control of its board in November. The board consists of the Supervisor, Treasurer, Clerk, and four trustees. Democrats hold a 4-3 majority on the board.

Supervisor: Incumbent democrat Supervisor Tim Hudson will not seek reelection. Moderate Republican County Commissioner Ann Nieuwenhuis will face trustee Randy Thompson. Hudson is a 4-term incumbent who most recently beat Republican Sue Fritz in 2008 65%-35%. Nieuwenhuis is a 2-term county commissioner who beat a democrat incumbent in 2008, one of very few Republicans to do so.

Treasurer: Incumbent Republican Chad Meints did not seek reelection. Republican Katheryn DeBruyn defeated Patricia Hoffman in the primary. She will face democrat Bret Padgett, who defeated Katy Hopkins in the primary.

Clerk: Incumbent Republican Anna Goodsell defeated Travis Law in the Republican primary. She will face democrat Sherri Dunfield in the general.

Trustees: The incumbent trustees are democrats Randy Thompson, David Burgess, and Sandra Bloomfield, and Republican Jeffrey Bogema. This year, the Republican nominees are Bogema, solid conservatives Jerry Amos and James Jenkins, and Reginald Kissinger, who finished above last-place Marla Schwartz in the primary. The democrat nominees are Bloomfield, Burgess, Jeffrey Ampey, and Randy Beister, who finished above Randy Beister, Theresa Develes, and Tracy King in the primary.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Melanie Kurdys for State Board of Education

Delegates to the Michigan Republican State Convention in Grand Rapids this September will nominate two candidates for the state Board of Education. One of those candidates should be Melanie Kurdys.

Kurdys and Hollenbeck for Portage School Board

Kurdys got involved in education issues as a concerned parent in the Portage Public Schools in Kalamazoo County. She ran for school board in 2007 and won. She started asking questions about the conduct of Superintendent Marcia Wells. Kurdys was initially alone in criticizing Wells, and the other members of the board were critical of her persistence. But as the composition of the board changed, Kurdys won over those who had initially been hostile or skeptical.

So why did Wells deserve to be fired? It has become clear that she is an autocrat who opposed any transparency or accountability for her actions. In particular, the board directed her to provide information on administrator contracts, and she outright refused to comply with that policy. She should have been fired right there. No further argument about Wells' conduct is necessary.

There was more, though. Wells made false allegations against the then-president of the board, Dale Posthumus, that led him to resign in disgust. She chose to hold a performance review in public, hoping to intimidate the board into not airing criticism in public. (This backfired.) The board finally forced Wells to resign in 2011.

In the 2011 election Kurdys and another critic of Wells lost to supporters of Wells. Though this result was disappointing, it shows that Kurdys is willing to stand for principle even when it costs her politically.

In her race for the state Board of Education, Kurdys has emphasized opposition to the Common Core standards that would nationalize school curricula.

Kurdys is a strong conservative Republican active in the Tea Party movement. She is not afraid to endorse conservative challengers over moderate incumbents. She deserves the support of Republican delegates.

Kurdys' blog:
Kurdys' website:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Welcoming Our New Immigrant Overlords

The Gazette reports on "Welcoming Michigan", yet another outlet propagandizing us to welcome our new immigrant overlords.

Welcoming Michigan looks to refocus the conversation on immigration; create an immigrant-friendly environment

The group pushes a bunch of misleading statistics on immigration's effect on the economy. It is certainly true that more immigration will grow the economy, simply because there are more people. But that does not mean that individuals are better off. In particular, there is essentially no benefit to American citizens.

While some immigrants do create businesses, those who do are quite atypical, as I have pointed out before.
It is true that some immigrants come to America, start businesses, and create jobs. You know what those immigrants have in common? They aren't from the Third World. The three examples Snyder cites were Dutch, Armenian, and Canadian. Michiganders who oppose more immigration aren't upset about Canadian immigration (well, other than Granholm).

Meanwhile, most of America's immigrants continue to come from the Third World, particularly Latin American, particularly Mexico. Why didn't Snyder cite all the big Mexican-founded corporations in Michigan? Wait, there aren't any?
The early commenters were not very sympathetic. Recently, eight commenters have repeated the same sentence. It's as if the pro-immigration commenters are part of a cult.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Campus Improvements Obstructing Traffic

There has been a lot of construction on campus for the past year.

Opening ceremony for WMU's new Sangren Hall, Lee Honors College, pedestrian mall set for Sept. 28
  • The new Sangren Hall is almost ready for classes in the Fall.
  • The expansion of the Lee Honors College is complete.
  • A pedestrian plaza in front of new Sangren is nearing completion.
  • A new bus stop area has been constructed on the road to Wesley foundation.
  • A new Wesley foundation is being constructed in the parking lot next to Howard.
The construction certainly looks nice. We'll see how the insides of the buildings look soon.

Western is continuing its long term plan of eliminating vehicle traffic from the center of campus, restricting it to the periphery instead. To an extent, this is a reasonable goal. Twenty years ago, West Michigan went straight through campus. But the campus planners have gone so far that it is getting hard to access the buildings in the center of campus by car. Access to the Computer Center and Kanley Chapel now depends on a sidewalk "road".

With the elimination of the lot in front of Sangren, parking for the library will be more difficult than ever. There are two small faculty lots near Moore Hall that will be full during the day. The nearest student parking is probably Miller ramp, a good hike away.

Another annoyance is the new traffic circle on West Michigan in front of the Bernhard Center. The circle itself is not the problem. But it has cut off access to the road that goes between McCracken and Siebert, which was a convenient short-cut. The traffic circle has also eliminated one of the small lots in front of Henry Hall and the few spaces in front of Siebert. Where are people using this part of campus supposed to park? Wherever it is, they'll be in for a long walk.

What will make up for all the lost parking? Some space in the Rood Hall lot will be reclaimed thanks to the relocation of the bus area. The old bus area was something of an eyesore; the new one is much nicer. It did take a chunk out of the Sindecuse lot for a bus turnaround, though.

In addition, a lot near the business college has been slightly expanded. Supposedly, once old Sangren is torn down, its location will be used for more parking. However, this will take a while.

While many of the changes on campus are positive, I wish Western's master planners would link some of the spurs off the ring road to make it easier to get around.

Friday, August 17, 2012

2012 Oshtemo Township Elections

Oshtemo Township will see hotly contested elections for control of its board in November. The board consists of the Supervisor, Treasurer, Clerk, and four trustees. Republicans hold a 4-3 majority on the board.

Supervisor: The incumbent democrat Supervisor is Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell, who defeated Republican former county commissioner Bob Brink in 2008, replacing retiring Republican John VanDyke. She will be challenged by former democrat county commissioner John Nieuwenhuis, running as a Republican. Nieuwenhuis defeated Brink in 2006 and lost the democrat primary to Trustee Scott McCormick in 2010.

Treasurer: The incumbent treasurer is moderate Republican Nancy Culp. She is being challenged by 28-year-old democrat Grant Taylor. He is the brother of county commissioner John Patrick Taylor. In 2010, he filed to run for state representative in the 61st district, but was disqualified since he had moved into the district one day before the filing deadline, failing the 30-day residency requirement. He ran in the democrat primary as a write-in candidate, spending $95,246, but lost by a wide margin. He has been vague about his background, including where he went to college, whether he obtained a degree, and whether he is employed.

Clerk: Incumbent Republican clerk Deb Everett defeated Terri Porte in the primary. She is being challenged by democrat Jeff Parsons in the general election. Parsons was Grant Taylor's campaign manager in 2010.

Trustees: There are four current trustees. They are
  • Republican David Bushouse, a 16-year incumbent who is running for reelection
  • Democrat Grace Borgfjord, who is running for county treasurer
  • Republican Scott Ernstes, who was appointed to replace Republican Jim Grace, who resigned. He was defeated in the Republican primary.
  • Democrat Lee Larson, who was appointed to replace democrat Scott McCormick, who resigned.
In the Republican primary, David Bushouse, Themi Corakis, Neil Sikora, and Nancy Carr who nominations over Jerry Stirton, Martin Dodge, and Scott Ernstes. Themi Corakis is the son of the late conservative Republican trustee Ted Corakis. Sikora was a member of the board 2004-8, and was defeated for reelection in the general election. Democrats have nominated Lee Larson, Colman Lutz, and Dusty Farmer.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fred Upton's Smear Campaign

This article reviews the 2012 Republican primary in the 6th Congressional district between Fred Upton and Jack Hoogendyk.


Fred Upton is an heir of the Whirlpool fortune, with a net worth somewhere around $16 million. He attended University of Michigan and received a degree in journalism. He then became a staffer for Republican Congressman David Stockman, who represented the heavily Republican "Hillsdale to Holland" 4th district. In 1981, President Reagan appointed Stockman director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Upton followed him to Washington. Following a falling-out with Reagan, Stockman left OMB in 1985 on bad terms, while Upton stayed as a staffer. Upton describes himself as a "Reagan Republican" based on this time in Washington.

Stockman was succeeded in Congress by staunch conservative Mark Siljander. In 1986, Upton ran in the primary against Siljander. Upton received campaign assistance from ultra-liberal democrat Congressman Howard Wolpe of the neighboring 3rd district. President Reagan endorsed Siljander, but Upton nonetheless won the primary 55-45 by distorting a mailing from Siljander to Christians in the district.

In 1992, redistricting carved up Wolpe's district, leaving Upton to represent the now-6th district, which has largely held its present form of Kalamazoo, St. Jospeh, Cass, Berrien, Van Buren, and part of Allegan Counties since then. Following the 1994 election, Upton co-founded the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group of Republicans in Congress dedicated to moving the party to the left.

Upton has won his general elections by large margins. He has faced several conservative primary challengers over the years.
  • 1990: defeated Ed Fredericks 63-37
  • 2002: defeated state senator Dale Shugars 66-32
  • 2010: defeated Jack Hoogendyk 57-43
  • 2012: defeated Jack Hoogendyk 67-33
According to a credible source, Upton blacklisted Shugars for several years after the 2002 election.

Jack Hoogendyk worked in business for many years, and then became the director of Alternatives crisis pregnancy center. In 1999, he ran for Mayor of Portage, narrowly losing to a moderate incumbent. In 2000, he defeated a liberal Republican incumbent for a seat on the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners. In 2002, he won a seat in the state house of representatives. He was reelected in 2004 and 2006; he also faced moderate primary challengers every year. He ran as a sacrificial lamb against Senator Carl Levin in 2008.


In 2010, Jack ran in the primary against Upton. Upton outspent Jack by $2 million to $62,000, but Jack nonetheless won a surprising 43% of the vote, thanks to grassroots support from Tea Party activists and a strong anti-incumbent sentiment. Upton did not mention Jack at all in his campaign and refused to debate him.

Following the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 2010, Upton was in line to become chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. His moderate record on energy issues, including sponsoring a bill to ban incandescent light bulbs, disturbed many national conservatives, who launched a campaign against Upton. These same national conservatives had not been involved in the 2010 campaign. Upton nonetheless won his chairmanship.


In early 2012, the Club for Growth, a group that supports fiscally conservative congressional candidates, launched several ads attacking Upton. It interviewed Jack and publicly encouraged him to challenge Upton again. Jack launched his second campaign sooner than the first. The Club for Growth ultimately never got involved in the race, citing a lack of resources.

Upton has always been a strong fundraiser, but his committee chairmanship supercharged his fundraising. While the final numbers are not yet in, Upton raised around $3 million and spent around $2 million. Jack raised and spent around $120,000, mostly from small donations.

Upton put his money to use, flooding the district with TV ads, radio ads, and mailers. He did not wait until campaigns usually begin, but began his barrage not long after Jack announced on January 17, 2012.

While Upton's mailers were primarily negative, many of his radio ads were positive. They hammered the following points.
In addition, Upton's supporters lauded his committee chairmanship. However, nobody ever explained how this would benefit either Michigan's 6th district or conservatives nationwide.


Most of Upton's mailers were negative attacks against Jack (see them here, here, and here). These attacks distorted Jack's voting record to accuse him of being a tax-and-spend big government politician. Quite a charge, considering Jack was twice named the most conservative legislator in Lansing. Here are the specific charges.
  • Jack "voted for Granholm's billion dollar stimulus", the model for Obama's stimulus plan. This refers to the "21st century jobs fund", which was funded by Michigan's tobacco settlement money. Jack voted AGAINST this bill on final passage. He had voted for the Republican alternative bill in the state house, introduced by then state rep, now Congressman Bill Huizinga, which passed the state house 103-1.
  • "voted to give special tax breaks to Hollywood fat cats". This bill was introduced by Republican Fulton Sheen and passed the state house UNANIMOUSLY. While broad-based tax cuts are preferable, the legislature had to compromise with Governor Granholm to get any tax cuts.
  • "Voted six times for Governor Granholm's revenue enhancements". Jack voted to institute withholding for an existing tax on casino winnings for out-of-state visitors. Michigan residents already had withholding on their casino winnings. These all passed nearly unanimously.
  • "and for higher taxes on gasoline" This bill extended an existing tax at a lower level to pay for cleaning up underground fuel tanks. Jack voted AGAINST this bill on final passage; he did vote for an earlier version.
  • "Voted twice for higher property taxes and for higher motel taxes" While on the county commission, Jack voted to extend an existing tax to pay for a new juvenile home, a project which both the Republican and democrat parties endorsed.
Notably, Upton never actually says that he disagrees with any of Jack's votes. It is doubtful that Upton would have voted the other way on any of them, as they all passed by overwhelming margins.

Upton later added two more bills to his smear campaign.
Beyond smearing Jack's voting record, Upton also tried to create a number of ethical controversies.

Upton supporters flooded local newspapers with letters supporting Upton and attacking Jack, using the talking points outlined above. One fellow sent the same letter to three different papers. Many of the letter-senders are or were part of the College Republicans at University of Michigan and Western Michigan University (how the mighty have fallen).

The largest circulation paper in the 6th district is the Kalamazoo Gazette, which is part of a group of papers whose hosted at a single website, Any time it ran a story about the race, a number of commenters would post comments praising Upton and attacking Jack using the points listed above. A little investigation identified 12 accounts that posted such comments almost exclusively; I dubbed them the "Upton trolls". In fact, nine of the accounts were created on January 17, the day that Jack announced he was running. Several of the accounts were subsequently deleted for violating Mlive's terms of use, while still others were created later.

One of the Upton trolls ventured over to, Michigan's leading conservative website, and posted a piece repeating many of the same smears. The regular contributors quickly tore it apart in the comments. A few days later, Upton sent out an email reproducing the piece and using RightMichigan's logo, but (unlike previous emails) with no link to the original piece.

In the 2010 campaign, Upton had avoided debating Jack at all. This time, he agreed to two debates. The first was on June 10, 2012 at Western Michigan University. The second was on July 3, 2012 on "the trifecta" on WKZO radio. Both candidates performed reasonably well. The moderators wasted a lot of time by asking questions for which it was known that the candidates agreed. Nonetheless, two things were notable by their absence.

First, Upton never mentioned any of the smears in his mailers. In a debate, Jack would have had a chance to respond.

Second, Upton never responded to any of Jack's criticisms of his record. Jack mentioned many of Upton's votes that he disagreed with, but Upton never defended or even acknowledged any of them. To my knowledge, Upton never defended these voted at any point in the campaign. The media never held him accountable.

One question on electoral history yielded a particularly error-filled response from Upton. Upton was asked if Jack was more conservative, and could he win. Upton dodged the fist question, and in response to the second, claimed the following.
There is no question that Upton's campaign was well-run. He made only two mistakes.

The Gazette endorsed Upton (as always). In the endorsement, they implied that Upton is a liar for claiming to be a conservative.

Upton and Jack both received a number of interest group endorsements. Upton tended to receive them from the establishment-oriented, Washington based groups, including the Chamber of Commerce and NRA. Jack's endorsements came mainly from anti-establishment grassroots groups such as Eagle Forum, Gun Owners of America, Madison Project,, Citizens for Traditional Values, iCaucus, Term Limits America, and RNC for life.

One particularly surprising endorsement for Upton was that of Michigan Right to Life. This is the first time in 14 runs for Congress that Upton received the endorsement. Upton has a long record of pro-abortion votes. How exactly Upton obtained this endorsement is unclear, but it may have something to do with his house committee chairmanship.

Not surprisingly, most local Republican politicians endorsed Upton. Jack did receive the endorsements of a few state legislators from elsewhere in Michigan. He also received endorsements from a few county commissioners within the 6th district.

One of them was Phil Stinchcomb, a Tea Party Republican elected in 2010. Right before the filing deadline (after making the endorsement) he received a primary challenge from 21-year-old Charles Bogren, recently the chairman of the Michigan Federation of College Republicans. According to my sources, Bogren was recruited to run by an employee of the Upton campaign. Bogren's campaign literature promoted the fact that he supported Upton, Stinchcomb supported Jack, and repeated many of the same smears about Jack detailed above. It isn't immediately clear whether it is legal to promote another candidate's campaign on your literature. In addition to trying to defeat a supporter of Jack, this may have been an attempt to discourage other local Republicans from opposing Upton in the future. Stinchcomb won the primary 61%-39%.

As in 2010, national conservatives were almost entirely absent from the campaign. When Upton was in line for his chairmanship, national conservatives including Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Human Events, Freedomworks and more lambasted Upton's long non-conservative record. Yet in 2012 almost all these groups were missing in action when Upton faced a serious primary challenge.


Consider this election from the perspective of an uninformed voter. You would hear many ads and see many mailers from Upton saying that he opposed Obamacare, supported the Keystone pipeline, opposed tax increases, supported spending cuts and less regulation, was pro-life and pro-gun. You'd also see lots of ads and mailers saying that Jack Hoogendyk supported stimulus, tax increases, and subsidies for Hollywood, didn't want to punish drunk drivers and sex offenders, and was a lobbyist who was constantly running for office. You saw these claims echoed without criticism in the media. Letters to the editor repeated the same claims. You heard a number of prominent local Republicans and some national conservative organizations endorse Upton. You got at most one piece of literature from Jack, and perhaps heard a radio ad or two.

Is it any wonder that Upton won? Or is it more amazing that despite all this, Jack Hoogendyk still got a third of the vote?

This election was not a defeat for conservative philosophy. Upton took conservative positions on everything! He certainly never mentioned his long, non-conservative record.

Of course, it was a defeat for truth. You can tell a lot of lies with two million dollars.

Over the summer of 2012, we have seen that conservatives can win major victories when national conservative organizations, pundits, and elected officials focus their efforts on a race. This was true for Richard Mourdock over Dick Lugar in Indiana and Ted Cruz in Texas. Grassroots efforts weren't enough. A strong incumbent can overcome them with a lot of money and establishment support.

National conservatives who wonder how the 6th district keeps reelecting Fred Upton will find the answer staring back at them in the mirror.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Paul Ryan

Word on the street is that Congressman Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney's choice for Vice-President. Ryan is the House Budget Committee Chairman. He is young, bright, and articulate. He specializes in fiscal issues, particularly long-term issues, via his "Ryan Budget". He has represented Wisconsin's 1st district since 1998.

Ryan's ACU score is 92%. His Heritage Action score is 75%. His Club for Growth score is 88%. All of these place him to the right of center among house Republicans, though certainly not in the same league as such fiscal conservatives as Jim DeMint or Rand Paul.

Ryan is Catholic, pro-life, and pro-gun (GOA A). He is weak on immigration, with a career grade of C (54%), a recent grade of C+, and a "this congress" grade of B (perhaps he's getting better). This includes good scores for illegal jobs, borders, visa lottery, refugee fraud, and reducing rewards, but bad scores for chain migration, unnecessary worker visas, and amnesty enticements.

Michelle Malkin had a less flattering take on Ryan. Erick Erickson writes that "His departure from Congress would improve both Congress and the Romney campaign". Overall he seems to be a decent pick, though I would have preferred Bobby Jindal.

Friday, August 10, 2012

2012 Michigan General Election Preview

This article was last updated on October 27, 2012.

This is an overview of the November 6 general election races in Kalamazoo County, Michigan in 2012. More detailed profiles of some of the races are linked within the article.
[List of Primary Election Candidates]
[List of Kalamazoo County Candidates]

The primary election preview is here:
2012 Kalamazoo Primary Election Preview

President (Michigan)

Michigan leans slightly to the left in Presidential elections. This means that democrats need to win Michigan to win the White House, but Republicans don't. Michigan still has a bad economy thanks to eight years of democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm. Will this help Republicans in the presidential race? Perhaps. Several polls have shown the race tied, while others have shown Obama leading.

US Senate
Democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow is seeking a third term. The Republican nominee will be Pete Hoekstra, former congressman who represented the 2nd district in West Michigan 1992-2010. He lost the Republican primary for governor in 2010. He defeated Clark Durant, Gary Glenn, and Randy Hekman in the primary. Stabenow is the favorite due to incumbency and strong fundraising, but her mediocre approval ratings show the race could become competitive.

US House of Representatives
Only one or two of Michigan's 14 congressional districts are likely to have a competitive general elections. There were interesting primaries districts 6, 13, and 14. The following article examines the races in greater detail.
2012 Michigan Congressional Races

Michigan Supreme Court
Conservative Republican Steven Markman will seek reelection. Appointed Republican Brian Zhara will seek to fill the remainder of the term to which he was appointed. Democrat Marilyn Kelly has reached the age limit, so her seat will be open. Republican Colleen O'Brien was nominated over Jane Markey at the state convention. Republicans currently have a 4-3 majority on the court, so this election could result in anything from 5-2 D to 5-2 R. Democrats have endorsed Connie Kelley, Shelia Johnson and Bridget McCormack for the court.

Education Boards
Two seats on each of four boards will be up. Democrats endorsed candidates in March. Republican candidates were selected at the state convention in September.

Michigan Board of Education
Republicans: Melanie Kurdys, Todd Courser
Democrats: Lupe Ramos-Montigny, Michelle Fecteau

University of Michigan Board of Regents
Republicans: Rob Steele, Dan Horning
Democrats: Mark Bernstein, Shauna Ryder Diggs

Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Republicans: Jeff Sakwa, Melanie Foster
Democrats: Joel Ferguson, Brian Mosallam

Wayne State University Board of Governors
Republicans: Michael Busuito, Satish Jasti
Democrats: Sandra Hughes O'Brien, Kim Trent

Ballot Proposals
Six proposition will appear on the ballot. See the following.
2012 Michigan Ballot Propositions

Michigan House of Representatives
All 110 seats in the Michigan state house will be up for election. There are 22 open seats. Republicans currently have a 63-37 majority. The new redistricting plan helps Republicans some, but not as much as it could have. The following article summarizes all the races.
2012 Michigan State House Races

In the greater Kalamazoo area...

60th District (Kalamazoo city) Safe democrat
Democrat Sean McCann has an even safer district than before, and should have no trouble getting reelected. The Republican candidate is Michael Perrin.

61st District (Portage, Oshtemo) Safe Republican
Conservative Republican Margaret O'Brien will likely be reelected easily against democrat Michael Martin. The district became safer by losing western Kalamazoo Township to the 60th and adding Schoolcraft Township.

62nd District (Battle Creek, Albion) Safe democrat
Incumbent democrat Kate Segal will face Republican former Battle Creek mayor Mark Behnke. This district became more democrat with the addition of Bedford and Pennfield.

63rd District (E Kalamazoo, S Calhoun) Leans Republican
Republican Speaker Jase Bolger shouldn't have trouble with reelection against democrat Bill Farmer in a district that drops Bedford and Pennfield and adds rural conservative townships in Calhoun, but dems are spending heavily here.

66th District (Van Buren, Cooper) Safe Republican
Conservative Republican Aric Nesbitt should be safe against democrat Richard Rajkovich in a district that drops a small piece of Allegan and adds NW Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo Countywide Offices
All six countywide offices are up for election. Republicans hold four of six offices.

Sheriff: Leans Democrat
Democrat Richard Fuller defeated Republican Michael Anderson in 2008. Republican sheriff's deputy Ward Lawrence is challenging Fuller.

Prosecutor: Leans Republican
Incumbent Republican Jeff Fink will not seek reelection. Assistant prosecutor Scott Pierangeli, a member of the Portage Library Board, will run. The democrat candidate will be former assistant prosecutor Jeffrey Getting.

Clerk: Leans Republican
Incumbent moderate Republican Tim Snow will seek reelection. He will face leftist democrat County Commissioner Brian Johnson.

Treasurer: Leans Republican
Republican Mary Balkema, who was appointed to replace Sharon Cubitt in 2007, will seek reelection. Balkema barely defeated a token challenger in 2008. Her democrat opponent is Oshtemo Township Trustee and Mattawan School Board member Grace Borgfjord. It is possible that liberal billionaire Jon Stryker will fund Borgfjord this time due to Balkema's opposition to a 'gay rights' ordinance in Kalamazoo city in 2009.
Borgfjord Challenges Balkema

Drain Commissioner: Tossup
The incumbent is democrat Patricia Crowley. In 2008, she defeated Republican Pat Crouse who was appointed to replace Bill French, who was convicted of a crime. She will face Republican County Commissioner Nasim Ansari, who had applied for the position in 2008.

Surveyor: Safe Republican
Incumbent Republican Bill Hahn is unopposed. The position is unpaid, and its holder must be a licenced surveyor.

Kalamazoo County Commission
Republicans have a 10-7 majority on the commission. Redistricting will shrink the commission to 11 seats, changing the district boundaries. The new map is likely to yield a 7-4 Republican majority, but district 5 will be competitive. The following articles have detailed descriptions of the districts and analysis of the county commission races.
Kalamazoo County Commission Districts
2012 Kalamazoo County Commission Election Preview

Township Elections
Many township elections were decided in the primary, but several will be contested in November.
Here's who is running in Kalamazoo County in August and November county and township elections

Comstock Township: Incumbent democrat Supervisor Tim Hudson will not seek reelection. Moderate Republican County Commissioner Ann Nieuwenhuis will face trustee Randy Thompson. See the following article for a rundown of the other board elections.
2012 Comstock Township Elections

Kalamazoo Township: Democrat incumbent Supervisor is Terri Mellinger, who has had trouble paying her taxes and has had health problems, is not seeking reelection. Democrat trustee Ron Reid is unopposed in the general. Four democrats and one Republican, Kathleen Doornbas, are seeking the four trustee positions currently held by democrats.

Oshtemo Township: The incumbent democrat Supervisor is Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell. She will be challenged by former democrat county commissioner John Nieuwenhuis, running as a Republican. See the following article for a rundown of the other board elections.
2012 Oshtemo Township Elections

Incumbent judges J. Richardson Johnson, Pamela Lightvoet, Paul Bridenstine, and Curtis Bell are all unopposed.

School Boards
School board elections were moved to November by a recent bill.
Election 2012: Kalamazoo County candidates on November ballot for area school and library boards

Kalamazoo (2 positions): Carol McGlinn, Craig Herschleb
Portage (2 positions): Rusty Rathburn, Bo Snyder, Chelsea Herriman
Gull Lake (1 position): Lin Marklin, Lorence Wenke
Mattawan (2 positions): David Rhoa, Scott Sylvester, Arlen Winther, Scott Roethlesberger
KVCC (3 positions): Susan Miller, Kenneth Young, Greg Kolich, Marne Apolo, Anna Whitten

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Statistic of the Year

Dollars spent per vote (approximate):

Upton: $2,000,000/45,717 = $43.75

Hoogendyk: $120,000/22,973 = $5.22

So Upton spent 8.4 times as much per vote.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Election Results

Election results...

Hoekstra 54%, Durant 34%. No surprise--Hoekstra had the name recogniton.

6. Upton 66, Jack 34. No surprise, given Upton's money and incumbency. More analysis later.
3. Pestka 59%, Thomas 41%. GR dems choose the saner candidate.
7. Kurt Haskell wins for the dems in 7. Haha.
11. Kerry Bentivolio 66%, total write-in (mostly Nancy Cassis) 34%. Conservatives win here. Tea Party beats Brooks and the establishment. Taj wins for the dems.
13. Conyers 55%, Anderson 18%, Jackson 12%, Johnson 10%. Thought this would be a little closer.
14. Peters 45%, Clarke 38%, Lawrence 12%. Peters ran a top-notch campaign and upended the conventional wisdom. How much wailing will there be that a white suburbanite beat one of Michigan's black congressmen?

State House:
incumbent versus incumbent:
2. Talabi 51 (black), Bledsoe 45 (white)
3. John Olumba 52, Jimmy Womack 38 (both black)
6. Rashida Tlaib 52 (Muslim), Maureen Stapleton 45 (black)
28. Jon Switalski 65, Lesia Liss 35.

Republican primary challenges:
76. Party-switchin' Roy Schmidt 58, write-in Bing Goei 42.
83. Muxlow 51%, Eick 49%. Not sure what the issue was here.
84. Kurt Damrow 36 loses to Dan Grimshaw 44. Dem Terry Brown is the favorite in November.
104. Wayne Schmidt 65 Jason Gillman 35

Open Republican seats:
39. Kesto 28, Hantler 22, Zrinyi 17, Michigan Right to Life (MRTL) endorsee Nick Kennedy fourth with 17.
40. McCready 32, David Wolkinson (MRTL endorsed) 30, David Potts 30
41. Martin Howrylak (MRTL endorsed) 38, Deb DeBacker 34, Matt Pryor 28
74. Rob VerHeulen 58, Steve Mass 42
78. Dave Pagel (MRTL endorsed) 68, Savage 18, Mann 15
81. Dan Lauwers (MRTL endorsed) 34, Eisen 26
88. Victory 50, Amanda VanEssen 50
93. Tom Leonard 35 (yay!), Kirk 34, Trebesh 26
94. Tim Kelly 51, Ann Doyle 44

Kalamazoo County:
Sheriff: Lawrence 64%, LaBrie 36%
County Commission:
1. Alford 80%, Barnard 14%, Worden 6%
6. Heppler 55%, Pominville 24%, Turluck 22%
7. Tuinier 62%, Gray 38%
10. Stinchcomb 61%, Bogren 39%

Supervisor: Conti 59%, Vlietstra 41%.
Four of the "We Care 5" win.

Charleston: incumbents win
Climax: Don Schultz beats incumbent Phyllis Smith

Clerk: Goodsell
Treasurer: DeBruyn (R) versus Padgett (D)
Trustee: Jenkins, Bogema, Amos, Kissinger (R)
to face Bloomfield, Burgess, Ampey, Donovan (D)

Cooper Trustee: Vlietstra, Buiskool, Janssen, Scheidel
Kalamazoo Township: Ron Reid (D) will be supervisor

Clerk: Everett 65%, Porte 35%
Trustee: Bushouse, Sikora, Carr, Corakis advance

Ross: Bither, incumbent trustees win

Supervisor: Pendowski 54%, Healy 46%
Clerk: Kerr 60%, Kinney 40%
Trustees: incumbent Neubauer and challengers Roberts, VanderRoest, Mazer win. Erin Hoogendyk fifth.

Van Buren County:
Prosecutor: Bedford 71%, Kaps 29%
Register of Deeds: DeYoung 59%, Harme 41%

Kansas: conservatives beat moderates in the state senate!
Missouri: Todd Akin wins the senate nomination!

Monday, August 06, 2012

2012 Michigan August Primary Preview

Cross-posted at The Western Right, Right Michigan, and Red Racing Horses.

This is a guide to the key races in Michigan's August primary.

US Senate The biggest race is the battle for the Republican nomination for US Senate to take on democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow, who is seeking a third term. The favorite is Pete Hoekstra, former congressman who represented the 2nd district in West Michigan 1992-2010. He lost the Republican primary for governor in 2010. His main competitor is Clark Durant, businessman and former member of the state board of education (1994-98), who has significant Tea Party support. Social conservative Randy Hekman, former Kent county judge, is also running. Gary Glenn, a conservative activist who had some Tea Party support, dropped out several weeks before the primary and endorsed Durant. Hoekstra is the favorite, leading in the polls and in fundraising, but Durant has been gaining momentum.

2012 Michigan Congressional Races

District 3 (Kent, Calhoun) Moderate democrat former state rep. Steve Pestka and leftist Trevor Thomas will compete for the democrat nomination to challenge Congressman Justin Amash. Amash is probably safe regardless, but Pestka is definitely the stronger candidate.

District 6 (SW Michigan) Moderate Republican Fred Upton has won by wide margins since defeating conservative Mark Siljander in 1986. In 2010, former state rep. Jack Hoogendyk, running with Tea Party support got 43% in the Republican primary. The race received almost no outside attention and Jack raised only $60,000 in that race. Since then, Upton became Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and his record received more scrutiny from national conservatives. Hoogendyk is challenging Upton again in 2012. Upton has raised far more money, but Jack has significant grassroots support.

District 11 (NW Wayne, SW Oakland, Troy) Republican Thad McCotter saw the most improvement in his district, trading increasingly democrat suburbs of Detroit in Wayne County for Republican areas of Oakland County. But McCotter's staff committed fraud, leading to his being disqualified and dropping out. Tea Party Republican Kerry Bentivolio is the only Republican on the ballot. A coalition of establishment Republicans has endorsed a write-in campaign by former state senator Nancy Cassis. Democrats Canton Township Trustee Taj Syed and William Roberts, a "LaRouche democrat", are competing for their party's nomination.

District 13 (W Detroit, Westland) This district contains the bulk of John Conyers' base, although Republicans drew him out of the district. Conyers, in Congress since 1964, hasn't had a tough primary or general election in decades. Conyers' image has been tarnished since his wife Monica, formerly Detroit city council president, pled guilty to bribery and is now serving time in federal prison. He is being challenged by state senator Glenn Anderson, whose base in the mostly white suburbs of Westland and Redford was moved from McCotter's district into the 13th. Senator Bert Johnson, who is a convicted felon since he robbed a country club at age 19, is also running. State Rep. Shanelle Jackson and John Goci are also running in the democrat primary, as Godfrey Dillard was disqualified. There may be polarized voting between white suburban supporters of Andersen and black Detroit supporters of Conyers, Johnson, and Jackson. Polls have shown Conyers leading and Andersen second.

District 14 (E Detroit, Southfield, Farmington, Pontiac) This district promises a very interesting primary. The majority of the district is the old 13th of democrat Hansen Clarke, who beat the scandal-plagued Carolyn Kilpatrick in 2010, though he was drawn out of the district. Congressman Gary Peters, whose old 9th district was split into four pieces, is running here. This is his best shot, although none of his options were good. Also running are Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence, former state rep. Mary Waters, who has pled guilty to filing a false tax return, and Bob Costello. Peters has done very well in endorsements and fundraising, and has led in the polls.

2012 Michigan State House Races

There are four incumbent-versus-incumbent primaries, all on the democrat side.
2. Tim Bledsoe (white) versus Alberta Tinsley Talabi (black)
3. John olumba versus Jimmy Womack (both black)
6. Rashida Tlaib (Muslim) versus Maureen Stapleton (black)
28. Jon Switalski versus Lesia Liss. Liss is pro-life and pro-gun; Switalski is the opposite. Liss faced criticism in her own party after criticizing Lisa Brown's "war on women" hissy fit. Liss has a geographic advantage, but Switalski has raised more.

There are "only" 22 open house seats. There are eleven open democrat seats, which I will not try to handicap. District 4 has eleven candidates. There are two tossup districts, 25 and 67, which will see primaries.

On the Republican side, there are many primary challengers, but only a few are serious.
76. Party-switchin' Roy Schmidt, whose scheme to recruit a fake democrat blew up in his face, faces a (probably) long-shot write-in challenge from Bing Goei.
84. Kurt Damrow has faced a number of ethics controversies. His fundraising is weak. He is easily the most endangered Republican.
104. Wayne Schmidt, a generic Republican, faces Tea Party leader and county commissioner Jason Gillman, who also edits Right

There are nine open Republican seats.
39. Six Republicans face off. Michigan Right to Life (MRTL) endorsed Nick Kennedy.
40. In this very expensive primary, David Wolkinson (MRTL endorsed) faces county commissioner David Potts and two others.
41. I'm rooting for Deb DeBacker in her primary against Matt Pryor and Martin Howrylak (MRTL endorsed).
74. Steve Mass (endorsed by Dave Agema) versus Rob VerHeulen.
78. County commissioner Dave Pagel (MRTL endorsed) is probably the favorite.
81. Five Republicans are competing here, including Dan Lauwers (MRTL endorsed).
88. I'm rooting for Amanda VanEssen (endorsed by Dave Agema) over Roger Victory in the most Republican district in the state.
93. I'm rooting for Tom Leonard over Michael Trebesh and Kevin Kirk.
94. County commissioners Tim Kelly and Ann Doyle face off.

There are also a variety of local issues, most notably the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) tax increase.

Jack Hoogendyk for Congress

This blog has long supported Jack Hoogendyk. Why? Because Jack supports freedom. Conservatives couldn't ask for more than Jack.

Jack is a true movement conservative. He was twice rated most conservative in Lansing and was close the other years. He has worked for Alternatives Crisis Pregnancy Center, Baptists for Life, Americans for Prosperity, and more.

Beyond this, though, Jack is an activist who has fought for almost every conservative cause you can think of on his own time. Whether it's pro-life, pro-gun, lower taxes, less spending, less regulation, tax reform, opposing amnesty, official English, term limits, Fair Tax, audit the Fed, part-time legislature, traditional marriage, right to work, transparency, MCRI and more. He fought for these causes because he believes in them, not for any personal gain.

He has done the right thing even when it cost him politically. He has challenged several non-conservative Republicans in primaries. He has endorsed other primary challengers, angering some rich and powerful Republicans in the process. He fought against Granholm's tax increases when some Republicans were going soft. He fought for the MCRI when many prominent Republicans opposed it.

His opponent, Fred Upton, has fought for his own power . He has fought against conservatives in Congress and at the local level. He has fought for more spending and bigger government. It's time for him to retire.

The choice is clear. Conservatives have a champion in Jack Hoogendyk.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Unemployment rises to 8.3%

I wanted to share this with everyone. I just posted this on my blog and wanted to share.
Friday's announcement by the Labor Department of unemployment rising to 8.3% from 8.2% in the prior month made me do some research on what this means for the country and President Obama's chances come November. For starters, July was the 42nd straight month of unemployment over 8% and October is sure to be the 43rd straight month, both of these would be a record. It is true that 163,000 jobs were added but that is nearly not enough to keep pace of the growing workforce. The country on average is adding 50,000 jobs to the workforce. For unemployment to be reduced at that rate it would take 10 years, 3 years if it was doubled. In fact, no President has ever one reelection with an unemployment rate that high since the Great Depression when Franklin D. Roosevelt was President. The Labor Department will release 3 additional jobs reports released between now and the Presidental election on November 6, 2012. The final report will be released November 2, 2012, only 4 days before election day. That could be the most anticipated jobs report for a President in history. Lastly, it is apparent to me that President Obama cannot run on his record in office. The tactic used by President Obama, Democratic strategists, and just this week, Senator Harry Reid, is to make personal attacks on Republican Presidental candiate Mitt Romney and his financial success. Attacks will now only intensify for Mitt Romney to release additional tax return records.

Upton Smears Jack (Part 5)

Congressman Fred Upton is not only accusing Jack Hoogendyk of voting against conservatives, but he is also accusing him being a bad person, too. That's the gist of several controversies manufactured by the Upton campaign.

1. Running for Office

Upton's radio ads state that Jack has run for office "nine times in nine years". This claim is not true. I dealt with it in this post. It seems that Upton is trying to imply that there is something wrong with running for a number of different offices, but I'm not sure what. In any case, Jack has won more races than he has lost. In contrast to to Jack running for office "nine times in nine years", Fred Upton has run for one office fourteen times, which is totally different.

2. Lobbyist

Upton is sending out mailers attacking Jack for (briefly) being a lobbyist. But a lobbyist is just someone whose job is to talk to legislators. Lobbyists have a bad reputation since many lobby for special government spending, tax policies, and regulations for their clients. But Jack worked for a free-market group lobbying for less government. That's something to be proud of.

3. Campaign finance reports

Jack's accounting software left out some of his expenditures from his campaign finance report. He corrected the report. Nobody was harmed.

4. Petition signatures

Jack accidentally signed one of the petition forms circulated by his campaign manager. The signatures were all valid. Nobody was harmed.

5. IRS disclosure

Apparently the IRS requires that if you raise over $100,000 dollars, you have to include a statement on your literature that your contributions are not tax-deductible. Why would anyone think they were? Why only over $100,000? This is a ridiculous regulation. In any case, Jack subsequently included the statement. As with the previous two items, nobody was actually harmed here. These three items were purely technicalities.

6. Mattawan robocalls

As far as I know, the Upton campaign has not made an issue of this, but some of the Upton trolls on Mlive have. Back in 2011, the Mattawan school district tried for the second time to impose a massive tax increase. Jack (who lives in the district) made a robocall in his own voice, using his own phone number, to alert voters about the tax increase. He accidentally omitted a federally-required "paid for by" statement, so he made a second robocall after voters defeated the tax increase thanking them and informing them and who paid for the calls. The Gazette tried to make a big deal out of this, but nothing came of it.


As troubling as the specific smears Upton has pushed is the philosophy that underlies them. He seems to hold to legal positivism, which means that actions are wrong because they are illegal, rather than natural law, which holds that there is a preexisting moral order that the law is designed to uphold. Conservatives believe that massive federal regulations need to be rolled back. Upton apparently believes that anyone who violates them is some kind of fiend who needs to be punished.

But there are so many laws and regulations that it simply isn't possible to follow all of them. One prominent lawyer claims that we all commit "three felonies per day" without knowing it. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" when it comes to moral law, which is "written upon the heart of man", but it is a great excuse regarding arbitrary and capricious regulations of an overbearing government.

In this context, we must not forget that Fred Upton voted for and championed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill, which banned advertisements critical of members of Congress near an election (and would have banned them all the time until this provision was weakened). Major portions of the law were eventually thrown out by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. Doubtless Upton would condemn anyone violating this law, rather than applaud citizens for standing up for freedom of speech against government encroachment.

The effect, and often the intent, of all these campaign finance regulations is to discourage average citizens from running for office, and to ensnare those who do. Not everyone can afford to hire the professional lawyers and accountants that incumbent members of Congress have. And the time it takes to learn all the ins and outs of the system is time not spent campaigning.

Fred Upton's philosophy would move us away from a society of limited government and the rule of law, where there are a few simple moral laws that apply equally to everyone. Instead, we are moving toward a society where everyone is guilty of something, and those with political power use the law to punish those without.

Upton Smears Jack (Part 4)
Upton Smears Jack (Part 3)
Upton Smears Jack (Part 2)
Upton Smears Jack
Jack's Response to Upton Mailer

Saturday, August 04, 2012

"Nine offices in nine years"???

I'm shocked that yet another false statement by Fred Upton slipped by me. I have already wrote about Upton's error-riddled statement on electoral history.

Upton Botches Election Data Again

Here is the beginning of Upton's statement.

Upton/Hoogendyk Debate

Upton: Well, I don't know if he could win or not. Voters will make that decision. I do know as I watched his career in the House and watched him run for nine offices in nine years, a career candidate on a host of fronts, governor, U.S. Senate, I watched him as a state Rep take what I considered a safe Republican district in Portage and make it awfully close, in fact, it had a recount to make sure he crossed the finish line as a Republican. When he ran for U.S. Senate, in that same district, Carl Levin beat him. What we saw with Jack in the state house was a steady decline in terms of support from the people that knew him best. Those that live in the same precinct.

Wait a minute! Did Jack run for nine offices in nine years? He certainly did not run for nine distinct offices. But we'll assume Upton means Jack ran for office nine times. This is true, though a bit misleading. It includes the time in 2006 when Jack briefly ran for Governor when no top-tier Republican was running, before dropping out when Dick DeVos entered the race. Jack then ran for reelection the same year.

But did Jack do this over nine years? No! He first ran for office in 1999. This is 2012. Jack's political career has spanned 13 years. Even if Upton wants to weasel and say he meant nine distinct, non-consecutive years, this is still wrong due to the 2006 issue described above.

In contrast to to Jack running for office "nine times in nine years", Fred Upton has run for one office fourteen times, which is totally different.

2012 Primary Election News

Campaign news before the primary.

Ready for Tuesday's election? Here's help in figuring how what's on the ballot and deciding how to vote
Southwest Michigan Politics: Campaign literature photo gallery
In Oshtemo Township 7 Republicans vying for 4 trustee seats
Charleston Township has contested races for supervisor and trustee in Aug. 7 primary
Southwest Michigan Politics: Late money coming in to 6th District Congressional race, Jack Hoogendyk endorsed by Tea Party group
Poll: Congressman Fred Upton leads Jack Hoogendyk by 30 points
Texas Township board votes to investigate Superintendent Dave Healy's actions toward employees
Proposed recall petitions for Galesburg-Augusta school trustees rejected by Election Commission
Southwest Michigan Politics: Jack Hoogendyk receives PAC endorsement, UAW gets behind Mike O'Brien in bids for Congress
Billboards for upcoming property auction feature Kalamazoo County Treasurer Mary Balkema
Aug. 7 primary election guide for Southwest Michigan

Kalamazoo County

Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners
Alamo Township
Charleston Township
  • Charleston Township Supervisor
  • Charleston Township Trustee
Climax Township
Comstock Township
Cooper Township
  • Cooper Township Trustee
Kalamazoo Township
Oshtemo Township
Pavilion Township
  • Pavilion Township Clerk
  • Pavilion Township Treasurer
Prairie Ronde
Ross Township
  • Ross Township Supervisor
  • Ross Township Trustee
Texas Township

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Upton Blacklisted Shugars?

A letter to the editor by Peter Taylor makes some interesting allegations against Fred Upton.

Upton undermined troop surge, unfairly attacks opponents (Letter)
I cannot vote for Upton again because of the way he treats other Republican candidates who challenge him in a primary. Mr. Upton does not hesitate to sink to the lowest levels when someone challenges the mediocre job that he has done over the last two decades.

State Sen. Dale L. Shugars challenged Upton in the [correction: 2002] primary. After Upton won, he sought to punish Mr. Shugars for challenging him and used his considerable political contacts and private resources (as a Whirlpool heir) to blackball Mr. Shugars so that he was not able to find employment in Michigan. Upton is currently treating Jack Hoogendyk in a similar manner with his repeated attack ads that are filled with falsehoods and outright lies. I have known Hoogendyk for many years and worked for him when he served as a state representative. The one quality I know Hoogendyk lives his life by is integrity; a quality that Upton wholly lacks.

The fact that Upton has finally been named a committee chair after two decades in office is little reason to continue to support him. Instead, the better question is why it has taken him so long to gain the trust of his leadership? Newt Gingrich obviously did not think Upton was qualified to chair a committee.

After Shugars lost in 2002, he moved to Texas and worked there for several years. After a while, he came back to become executive director of the Homebuilders Association of Greater Kalamazoo, which is very much a political position. In the 2010 and 2012 primaries, Shugars endorsed Upton. This is despite the fact that Upton's record has not changed appreciably since 2002, that Jack Hoogendyk has essentially the same beliefs as Shugars, and that Jack endorsed Shugars when he was running then.

The blog doesn't know the specifics of what happened between Shugars and Upton. But voters would be wise to remember that endorsements often are driven by other agendas than pure unbiased evaluation of of the candidates' merit. Politicians will make endorsements to gain favor or because they fear political retaliation if they do not. Organizations may endorse a key committee chairman hoping to have their legislation moved, or because they fear it will be killed if they do not. Voters should keep this in mind when evaluating endorsements.

Cruz Control!

Conservative Tea Party star Ted Cruz just won the runoff for the Republican senate nomination in Texas. He won 57-43%. Moderate David Dewhurst had the advantages of a long tenure ans Lieutenant Governor, establishment endorsements, and vast personal wealth. But Ted Cruz beat him with grassroots effort and national conservatives almost unanimously endorsing him.

If the national conservative movement focuses on a Republican primary, we can win it.

Ultra-conservative former congressman Steve Stockman won a new congressional seat outside Houston as well.