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.

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