12 Days to Victory!!!
Broken Promises Calendar: No Results from Governor Granholm
PROMISE: “A Granholm-Cherry Admin will clean up the toxins left by past industrial activities…toxic hotspots, or ‘areas of concern’…devote greater attention to cleaning up these hot spots.” (Blueprint for Michigan, pg. 53, September 2003).
NO RESULTS: Which is most toxic to Michigan:
a) Thirteen of the nation’s worst toxic hot spots that still exist in Michigan’s Great Lakes under the Governor’s watch.
b) A DEQ bent on the destruction of jobs.
c) A governor who does not follow through on promises.
d) All of the above.
The press keeps trying to pound a defeatist message to Republicans nationwide. But I’ve been talking to activists, campaigns and consultants….and just like our Governor, the rhetoric (reporting) doesn’t match the facts.
Analysis are showing Republican will lose some seats nationally, but as we pull into the last two weeks and Republicans get “juiced up” to go to the polls, knock on the doors and make those neighbor to neighbor calls…things are starting to look up.
Dick DeVos’s bus tour is on the road statewide. He is getting a tremendous response everywhere he goes. The excitement and interest that is generated at every stop is unbelievable. There is definitely something in the air…folks desperately are looking for new leadership…for a change.
Mike Bouchard continues to build momentum. Mike spent yesterday in West Michigan. While in Kalamazoo he visited with the Western Michigan University College Republicans and then headed over to Grand Rapids. National attention, the President coming in later today on behalf of his campaign, and great reviews from his debates, forums and appearances are changing the dynamics of this race. The trend is moving our way and Mike is in position to take advantage of the opportunities.
Polls: we are closer today, in both races, than any challenger has been who has beat incumbents in recent history. Remember, John Engler was 17% down three weeks out, then 14% down two weeks out. Then with his momentum...and your hard work…he won!
Ottawa County Republicans came up with a novel idea to pass out lawn signs at the Farmer’s Market. They weren’t allowed to rent a booth for political purposes, but they were able to park a pick-up truck in the public parking lot and hand out signs. They handed hour lawn signs and bumper stickers to eager participants…although many checked first if they were “free” or for sale. No Dutch jokes…but just good ‘ol fashion creative hard work. There’s more than one way to skin a cat.
The infamous Jon Stryker and his sister have now put in over $5 million dollars into state legislative races to try and take back legislative majorities to push their radical agenda here in Michigan. These folks are dangerous and I encourage volunteers and activists to pay attention, help your local state Senate and House candidates in the days ahead.
Mike Bouchard was interviewed on FOX news nationally. He made a great case for his campaign and once again hightlighted the fact that Debbie Stabenow refused to show up side by side with the Sheriff? Stabenow is getting worried…and for good reason!
If you a conservative and need a reason to vote…read this. Here are eight reason, well thought out and right to the point. Please share this with your friends:
Let’s talk about GOTV and our 72 Hour Program…something we need everyone to pitch in and help us. It’s our “competitive advantage”…but only if we all pitch in and help. Please…join us in our final push to election day!
ONLY 300 hours left until the polls close…we need all the help we can get.
72 Hour GOTV program…we still need folks to sign up for specific shifts to cover areas around the state. Our strength is that we man this 72 Hour program with local volunteers, neighbors who are calling into their own neighborhoods. The personal touch, volunteer based effort statistically has far outperformed the Democrats paid effort. Our people believe, they care…now we need you to sign up and be part of it.
As volunteers are coming out of the wood work, signs are going up all over the state, phone calls are being made, literature dropped and neighbors being talked to about the need for a change. Teams of volunteers are starting to hit the road and help in other areas around the state. With your help, we will be ready for whatever the Democrats throw at us next.
Join us as we do our part to help turn Michigan around!
Dems, GOP guard polls
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
THE SAGINAW NEWS
The state Democratic Party says it will put election observers in key polling places in Saginaw on Election Day to avoid a repeat of what officials called Republican attempts to "intimidate and harass" minority voters two years ago.
Granholm vs. DeVos
Gubernatorial candidates square off in part one of interview series
PUBLISHED: October 26, 2006
Survey USA - Granholm increases lead over DeVos
Created: 10/25/2006 6:35:53 PM
Updated: 10/25/2006 10:27:20 PM
GOP brochure pins Selepak's killing spree on Granholm
Dems say release of several hundred thousand campaign mailers shows party growing desperate.
Gary Heinlein / Detroit News Lansing Bureau
The Michigan Republican Party has mailed brochures blaming Patrick Selepak's three-victim murder spree on the Granholm administration.
The full-color campaign mailer features a photo of Selepak -- who admitted to killing Melissa and Scott Berels of New Baltimore and Winfield "Fred" Johnson of Vienna Township -- and a headline declaring: "This violent criminal was mistakenly released into your community."
Bush to visit Warren for Bouchard's sake
Appearance by unpopular president also carries risks for Senate contender
PUBLISHED: October 25, 2006
Jackson students to perform for President Bush
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
By Tarryl Jackson
In the past five years, Rayisha Dye has sung for many audiences with Jackson High School's Black History Tour Group.
This time around, the Jackson resident gets to perform for the president of the United States.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Bouchard: State needs senator who gets results
GOP challenger says Stabenow has a record that lacks accomplishment
The Detroit News editorial board interviewed Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, the GOP nominee who is challenging U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow. The following are excerpts:
Q . You are running against a well-established incumbent. Why should Michigan voters change their representative to the Senate?
GOP sees hope in Michigan race
By Charles Hurt
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
October 26, 2006
Stabenow, Bouchard compete for Senate cash
10/25/2006, 6:27 p.m. ET
By TIM MARTIN
The Associated Press
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow has received thousands of dollars from women's groups, abortion rights advocates and education groups while mounting a large financial advantage in her re-election campaign.
Senator hits back on judges
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
By Ed Golder
The Grand Rapids Press
GRAND RAPIDS -- All or nothing.
That's U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow's position on three federal judge nominations made in a compromise with President George W. Bush.
ELECTION 2006: Stabenow's in a fight for her job
Bouchard says she's ineffective
October 26, 2006
Sen. Debbie Stabenow says she just shakes her head when she watches the television ad that has become her opponent's signature charge as she fights to keep her seat.
IN OUR OPINION U.S. HOUSE: Disappointing Delegation
As a group, Michigan's U.S. House members have turned from muscle to political mush
October 26, 2006
While national political observers widely predict significant changes in the U.S. House, the 14 Michigan incumbents up for re-election this year are all expected to cruise into new terms. And that is too bad.
Re-elect Mike Cox in the AG's contest
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Incumbent Attorney General Mike Cox faces a challenge in his re-election bid from a little-known civil rights attorney, Democrat Amos Williams.
Secretary of State's race: Re-elect Land
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
It's a rare year in which the Secretary of State's race gets any more political than two candidates discussing how services can be improved. And that's been the tenor of this year's campaign, which has incumbent Secretary Terri Lynn Land, a Republican, being challenged by Democrat Carmella Sabaugh.
Terri Lynn Land for Secretary of State
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Without a doubt, Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is one of the most energetic, innovative holders of that office the state has seen.
When she was first elected four years ago, among her first tasks was implementing federally mandated election reform in the wake of the vote-counting fiasco in Florida in 2000.
Corrigan, Cavanagh for Michigan Supreme Court
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Two seasoned Michigan Supreme Court justices are facing a pair of attorneys, one of whom was a state representative for six years, on the Nov. 7 ballot.
We recommend voters stick with the incumbents -- Justice Maura Corrigan and Justice Michael Cavanagh.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
College race winners will face challenges
Issues such as tuition rates, stadium fixes await new members of WSU, MSU, U-M boards.
Marisa Schultz / The Detroit News
The stakes are high this year for the 29 candidates vying for board seats at the state's three largest research universities.
Help block candidate over crime, Dems asked
GOP aims to keep him out of House seat
October 26, 2006
Republicans are trying to put Democratic candidates for the Michigan House of Representatives on the hot seat over whether they will support allowing a fellow Democrat to take office in January even though he was involved in a 1993 armed robbery.
Thumb voters will consider businessman, principal in state district race
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
By TOM GILCHRIST
You might call it the Scripture-quoting Democrat against the Republican looking out for the little guy.
Stereotypes may not apply when Terry L. Brown duels John M. Hunt to try to become the new state representative in the 84th District serving Huron and Tuscola counties.
GOP's Hansen a narrow choice for 100th District
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
The Chronicle's editorial board endorses incumbent STATE REP. GEOFF HANSEN of Hart for another term in the Michigan House. Agri-businessman Hansen is a staunch conservative who often toes the party line, yet has shown he can lean to the political center when the occasion demands it.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Midland Republican Rep. John Moolenaar is vying for a third and final term in the state House with a solid record to run on. In his first term, Moolenaar was a key player behind to solving a groundwater dispute in western Saginaw County.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
DECISION 2006: Endorsements
Our Macomb County commission choices
Commissioners must make hard economic decisions
The Detroit News
Macomb County is growing, but the growth is uneven. Some older industrial cities in the southern tier of the county are fraying while other cities and townships are prospering. But tough economic times are stressing the county's budget. Hard economic decisions will have to be made by the county's commissioners. These are our choices for county commissioner in contested races:
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Proposal 2 approval would diminish girls' opportunities
I f you listen to the Proposal 2 opponents -- and as it happens, I am one -- it's all about the women, stupid.
The proposal, a deftly written constitutional amendment that sounds as if Thomas Jefferson himself might have conceived it, will wipe out many outreach programs for women and minorities. It could also wipe out programs to recruit men for women-dominated fields like nursing.
LOCAL COMMENT | STATE PROPOSAL 06-3: Should Michigan allow dove hunting? YES
Opponents' claims miss mark on hunters
October 26, 2006
In 2004, what was commonly known as the "dove bill" passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, adding the mourning dove to the state's list of game birds. That September, we had our first season, in six southern Michigan counties.
LOCAL COMMENT | STATE PROPOSAL 06-3: Should Michigan allow dove hunting? NO
Gun crowd should aim for honesty in crusade to shoot songbirds
October 26, 2006
What continued nonsense! As widely predicted, the gun nuts and their pals are going bonkers these days over the prospect that, once again, Michigan may turn its back on slaughtering mourning doves for fun and entertainment ... or, if you're gullible enough to believe the handful who insist it's true, also for food.
Proposal 06-4 unneeded, would hurt renewal efforts
THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Flint-area voters should keep a couple of things in mind when considering a right-sounding, wrong-headed proposal on the Nov. 7 ballot:
LOCAL COMMENT STATE PROPOSAL 06-5: School funding proposal would be a mandatory mistake
October 26, 2006
When it comes to politics, the two of us don't agree all the time.
One of us represents the city of Detroit, the other its suburbs. One of us is a Democrat, the other a Republican. But when it comes to kids -- both our own and yours -- we agree that Michigan schools must be the best because Michigan students deserve the best.
And that's why we also agree that Proposal 06-5 is bad for Michigan.
Degree percentages for each state
Eighty-five percent of Americans age 25 and older have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent, and 28 percent have at least a bachelor's degree. Percentages for each state for 2005:
State college costs rise 7% Michigan's public universities outpace 6.3% increase nationwide
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
BY SARAH KELLOGG
Ann Arbor News Bureau
WASHINGTON - At a time when Michigan residents are looking to hone and retool their skills at the state's colleges and universities, tuition rates are growing faster here than nationally, a new report finds.
Michigan college costs exceed national average
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
By Sarah Kellogg
Grand Rapids Press Bureau
WASHINGTON -- At a time when Michigan residents are looking to hone and retool their skills at the state's colleges and universities, tuition rates are growing faster here than nationally, a new report finds.
Schools feeling impact of cuts
Classes are bigger, teaching styles shift in Ann Arbor
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
BY DAVID JESSE
News Staff Reporter
Brit Satchwell can see the impact of more than $6 million in budget cuts every time he enters his classroom at Ann Arbor's Forsythe Middle School.
Published October 26, 2006
[ From Lansing State Journal ]
Parts supplier adds jobs in Delta Twp.
Alliance Interiors makes components for GM plant
By Barbara Wieland
Lansing State Journal
DELTA TOWNSHIP - Eighty people have new jobs at Alliance Interiors Inc., an automotive parts supplier that sends carpets and other components to the new General Motors Corp. assembly plant.
Rumored suitor is mum on Delphi
Buyout firm's Stallkamp addresses auto seminar
October 26, 2006
Thomas Stallkamp, industrial partner with the private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC, declined Wednesday to address reports that his company is in discussions with auto-parts maker Delphi Corp. and its unions that may result in a bid for the Troy-based company.
GOP's last, best hope? GOTV
By Donald Lambro
Thursday, October 26, 2006
After millions of dollars in ads, polls and six-figure consultants, the 2006 elections could turn on one final, frantic, door-to-door battle: Who wins the get-out-the-vote game.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Conservatives hope N.J. gay-marriage ruling will motivate voters
David Crary / Associated Press
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that ordered equal rights for same-sex couples was instantly hailed by gay-rights leaders, but it also energized their conservative adversaries, who predicted a backlash in their favor in the Nov. 7 election.
N.J. Ruling Mandates Rights for Gay Unions
State Court Does Not Specify 'Marriage'
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, October 26, 2006; Page A01
NEWARK, Oct. 25 -- The New Jersey Supreme Court left the door ajar for the approval of same-sex marriage Wednesday, ruling that gay couples are entitled to rights no different from those of heterosexual couples.
New Jersey's Step Forward
A court's order on same-sex partnerships leaves plenty of room for democratic decisions.
Thursday, October 26, 2006; Page A24
War Now Works Against GOP
Iraq Often Seen as Hindrance in Campaigns
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, October 26, 2006; Page A01
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. -- A visitor to Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick's campaign Web site will immediately hear a 20-second audio clip of a contentious television interview about Iraq with his Democratic challenger, Patrick Murphy. The clip ends: "Tough times demand honest answers, not Pat Murphy."
Foley investigators near end of witnesses
WASHINGTON (AP) -- After nearly three weeks of hearing testimony about Mark Foley's inappropriate behavior toward former pages, House investigators appear to be reaching the end of their witness list.
Second Man Accuses Former Priest Who Abused Foley
Thursday, October 26, 2006; Page A02
MIAMI, Oct. 25 -- Another former altar boy says he was sexually abused in the 1970s by the same retired Catholic priest who acknowledged fondling former congressman Mark Foley when Foley was a teenager, the man's attorney said Wednesday.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Professors: Democratic wave may hit Congress
Jeffrey H. Birnbaum / Washington Post
WASHINGTON -- The wave is coming.
At least that is what political scientists are predicting about the midterm elections Nov. 7. The academics could be wrong, of course; they often are.
Bush to sign bill for Mexico border fence
WASHINGTON (AP) -- When President Bush signs a bill authorizing 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, he'll give GOP candidates a pre-election platform for asserting they're tough on illegal immigration. Yet the centerpiece of his immigration policy, a guest worker program, remains stalled in Congress.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
3 states seek voter input on withdrawal
Jay Lindsay / Associated Press
BOSTON -- For a week and a half, 81-year-old Hamer Lacey hauled his broken back and clipboard to a Gloucester grocery store parking lot, looking for signatures of residents who shared his fervent opposition to the war in Iraq.
Voters in several cities in Wisconsin and Illinois will consider a similar question.
Bush unsatisfied with Iraq war progress
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Acknowledging painful losses in Iraq, President Bush said Wednesday he is not satisfied with the progress of the long and unpopular war, but he still insisted the United States was winning and should not think about withdrawing.
Bush Is Reassuring on Iraq But Says He's 'Not Satisfied'
By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 26, 2006; Page A01
President Bush declared yesterday that the United States is winning the war in Iraq despite the deadliest month for U.S. troops in a year, but he added that he is not satisfied with the situation and vowed to press Iraqi leaders to do more to stabilize their country on their own.
Bush's Proposal of 'Benchmarks' for Iraq Sounds Familiar
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 26, 2006; Page A17
The text of President Bush's news conference yesterday ran to nearly 10,000 words, but what may have been more significant were the things he did not say.
An Insufficient Explanation
By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Wednesday, October 25, 2006; 12:28 PM
At a surprise press conference this morning, President Bush acknowledged the nation's grave concerns about the war in Iraq.
Rice presses South Korea on sanctions
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gently prodded South Korea on Wednesday to show a strong commitment to international sanctions imposed against North Korea for its nuclear test this month.
A Capital Connection
Washington deserves to win this one.
Thursday, October 26, 2006; Page A24
MIRS Capitol Capsule, Wednesday, October 25, 2006
John Reurink (517) 482-2125
$1.1M Spent On Jackson House Seats
Tired of hearing about Mike SIMPSON, Martin GRIFFIN, Rep. Leslie MORTIMER (R-Horton) and Rep. Rick BAXTER (R-Hanover)? There's a reason.
The spending by the two House caucuses on these two races has been a hair shy of $1.1 million over the past three months — a level approaching statewide office-holder proportions.
According to campaign finance reports filed by the House Democrats and Republicans today, the race between Simpson and Mortimer for the 65th House District appears to be the most expensive House race in the state. Since the last filing statements that were submitted in July, the caucuses have spent a combined $575,947.29 in that race.
The Democrats appear to be truly gunning for a pick-up in the 65th. During the reporting period, the House Democratic Fund spent some $383,558 toward Simpson's effort compared to Republican expenditures for defending Mortimer in the 65th, which total $192,389.29.
That doesn't include what the candidates themselves have raised and spent, information that is scheduled to be revealed Friday as a part of the individual candidate disclosure filings.
The Baxter/Griffin race is a close second according to the two House caucus financial reports. Combined, the two caucuses spent $522,506.62. The GOP came out as the heavy spender in this hot little race. The caucus has put up some $340,971.62. For Griffin, the Democratic caucus has poured out $181,535.
The Democratic caucus also reported spending handsomely on the 91st House District where incumbent Rep. David FARHAT (R-Muskegon) appears to be in trouble against Democrat Mary VALENTINE. The Democrats have spent some $163,726 on the race.
As far as the money edge, the Republicans came roaring back this cycle reporting some $1.2 million in contributions this period compared to the Democrats' $424,442. That includes a $900,000 debt that the caucus took out from a Comerica Bank loan they took last week. Without that loan, the GOP would have been out-raised by the Democrats — a fact that the Dems didn't let slide.
"We're very upbeat," said House Democratic Spokesman Dan FAROUGH. "We've always refused [to concede] that the Democratic caucus can't be competitive with the Republicans."
Farough noted that even with the Republicans' $900,000 loan, going into the final push they're "still dead even with the Republicans" in terms of cash on hand.
In the year to date, the GOP has out-raised the Democratic caucus by a $2.6 million-to-$1.2 million edge. The Democrats report no debts outstanding on their financing report.
House Republican Spokesman Matt RESCH noted that Democrats' miraculously "don't have a single person on staff. They've raised money and run campaigns without paper-clips, without rent and without a single staff person."
Farough responded that the building the House Democrats use is owned by the state party and the staffers that work on the campaigns are paid by the state party as well, something that can be verified when the party files its finance records.
Resch did say that the GOP feels comfortable.
"The Speaker and the GOP caucus have had a record year of gaining support from people around Michigan and feel very confident and comfortable two weeks out," he added.
With the election just days away, the Democrats have $812,079.99 on hand while the House Republicans have $884,003.74 on hand.
Senate Democrats Out-Raise GOP
The Senate Democratic caucus out-raised their GOP colleagues this past reporting period.
The Democrats reported raising $952,872 to the Republicans' $566,965. On a year-to-date basis, the GOP has raised $1.32 million compared to $1.7 million for the Democratic campaign committee. Some of the reason behind this gap can be attributed to the competitive Republican leadership race in the Senate, where three challengers are soaking up around $400,000 into their individual PACs (see related story).
The top target for the Senate Democrats appears to be taking out incumbent Republican Sen. Tom GEORGE (R-Texas Twp.). The caucus has spent some $375,782 on the campaign of George challenger Rep. Alexander LIPSEY (D-Kalamazoo).
The Democrats are also spending heavily on the race to replace term-limited Sen. Mike GOSCHKA (R-Brant) where Rep. Carl WILLIAMS (D-Saginaw) is facing off against Rep. Roger KAHN (D-Saginaw). During this reporting period, the Democratic caucus reports funneling $339,522.50 into this race.
The Senate Democrats also gave Rep. Andy LEVIN some $150,000 in his race to replace term-limited GOP Sen. Shirley JOHNSON (R-Troy) in the 13th Senate District.
The manner by which the Senate Republicans spend their funds (through the Sterling Corporation and the Marketing Resource Group) and a comparison of spending race-by-race wasn't available.
Strykers Dump $5.1M In Coalition For Progress
Kalamazoo-area philanthropist Jon STRYKER and his sister, Pat STRYKER, have dumped a combined $5.1 million into the new anti-Republican political action committee (PAC) known as "Coalition for Progress (CFP)." It's money that has almost exclusively gone into cable and radio commercials that bang on Republican candidates across the state.
Campaign finance documents filed today show CFP has spent $4 million this campaign cycle on advertising, robo-calls and other out-reach efforts to dissuade voters from picking Republican gubernatorial nominee Dick DeVOS and other GOP legislative candidates.
An exasperated Matt RESCH, spokesman for House Speaker Craig DeROCHE (R-Novi), questioned what agenda Stryker wants to move forward and questioned whether this type of spending, which is nearly twice what the House Republican Campaign Committee itself has raised this year, is putting the Legislature for sale.
"So, what's a Legislature go for these days? $5.15 million," Resch said. "What do you get for $5.1 million? What kind of policies do you want passed in the Legislature for $5.1 million? What kind of voter approved laws do you want reversed for $5.1 million?"
Resch suggested Stryker, a gay activist, wants to overturn the voter-approved Proposal 2 of 2004 that constitutionally defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. He also said Stryker may want to "bust" open state spending.
CFP Executive Director Kerry EBERSOLE said the Republicans' complaints are the "ultimate hypocrisy" considering they've been taking special interest money for years that has driven Michigan in the wrong direction. The Coalition, she said, is "leveling the playing field." She also thought it was interesting that the Republicans' answer to CFP is a 501c4 not a state-registered PAC. As a result, it doesn't report to the state regularly and isn't required to follow the same disclosure laws.
"We're talking about one thing. That's moving Michigan forward and the Legislature is standing in the way of that," Ebersole said.
Asked if the Coalition supports gay marriage and increased state spending, Ebersole said the CFP's agenda is posted on its Web site, which is to end policies that give tax breaks to companies that outsource jobs and allow out-of-state trash to come into the state.
"We're talking about their record and they keep talking about us," she said. "I wish they would start talking about some issues."
Throughout the state today, Republican legislative candidates have challenged the Stryker-paid ads and asked their Democratic opponents to denounce them (See related stories).
Asked to comment on the situation, Sen. Mark SCHAUER (D-Battle Creek), chair of the Senate Democratic Fund, said, "It's about time the Democrats had somebody on their side," and noted that this election cycle Dems everywhere are getting an unprecedented number of new donors.
"We're going to win a majority this year because individuals have identified the failed Republican leadership and want to do something about it," he said. "What Republicans are trying to do is avoid talking about issues. It's a diversionary tactic and we don't expect the electorate to be fooled."
In total, CFP reported having 74 contributions with 70 coming from someone other than Stryker. However, non-Stryker contributions accounted for less than a half of a percent of all the money CFP raised.
Bishop, Schauer, Meisner Sport Beefiest PACs
Sen. Mike BISHOP (R-Rochester), viewed as the front runner to take over as the Republican Senate leader in 2007, reported today raising a combined $221,000 from his two leadership political action committees (PAC), roughly $70,000 more than fellow leadership candidate Sen. Wayne KUIPERS (R-Holland) and $100,000 more than Sen. Jason ALLEN (R-Traverse City), according to campaign finance reports released today.
The reports also indicate that Rep. Andy MEISNER (D-Meisner) is the leading fundraiser among '07-'08 House Democrat leadership candidates, but Rep. Andy DILLON (D-Redford) isn't too far behind. Rep. Barb FARRAH's (D-Southgate) report wasn't available this evening.
Dillon actually outraised Meisner over the last three months, but Dillon's leadership PAC didn't exist until recently.
Among the Senate Democrats, Sen. Mark SCHAUER (D-Battle Creek), the caucus' campaign committee chair has a whopping $193,000 in his own PAC with much of his money being given directly to him by billionaire and Democratic supporter Jon STRYKER.
Today's independent PAC filing deadline also gives a peek into which legislative races the caucus view as most competitive and most in need of money.
In the Senate, those include the Sen. Tom GEORGE (R-Kalamazoo)-Rep. Alexander LIPSEY (D-Kalamazoo) race in the 20th District, the Rep. Roger KAHN (R-Saginaw)-Rep. Carl WILLIAMS (R-Saginaw) race in the 32nd District, the Andy LEVIN-John PAPPAGEORGE in the 13th District and the Sen. Laura TOY (R-Livonia)-Rep. Glenn ANDERSON (D-Westland) in the 6th District.
In the House, they include the Rep. David FARHAT (R-Muskegon)-Mary VALENTINE in the 91st District, Rep. Rick BAXTER (R-Hanover)-Marty GRIFFIN in the 64th District, Rep. Leslie MORTIMER (R-Horton)-Mike SIMPSON in the 65th District and John MANOR-Kate EBLI in the 56th District. Surprisingly, Meisner and Dillon both cut substantial checks to Mike LAHTI in the 110th District, a candidate Democrats had been fairly comfortable with this fall, but who is facing an aggressive challenger in Dave SCHMIDT.
The following are updates on the political action committees of the leading leadership candidates:
Senate Republican Leadership Candidate PACs
- Kuipers Impact Fund, (Sen. Wayne KUIPERS (R-Holland))
Raised (total): $69,900
Raised (this period): $6,200
Spent (total): $141,117
Spent (this period): $73,704
Cash on Hand: $2,374
Received Money From: Friends of Housing ($2,000), AEP PAC ($1,000), Michael LOVE, president of Nurture-Steelcase ($1,000)
Spent Money On: Senate Republican Campaign Committee ($16,500), Michigan Republican Party ($8,500), Sen. Bill HARDIMAN (R-Kentwood) ($6,500), Mark JANSEN ($5,000), Sen. Gerry VAN WOERKOM (R-Norton Shores) ($4,800), Sen. Jud GILBERT (R-Algonac) ($4,000)
- Kuipers Majority Fund (Kuipers)
Raised (total): $82,375
Raised (this period): $82,375
Spent (total): $35,805
Spent (this period): $35,805
Cash on Hand: $46,569
Received Money From: Robert LYNAS, president of R.A. Miller Industries ($10,000); Michael JANDERNOA, chairman of Perrigo Company
Spent Money On: Rep. Roger KAHN (R-Saginaw) ($10,000), John PAPPAGEORGE ($10,000), Sen. Tom GEORGE (R-Kalamazoo) ($10,000), Gilbert ($2,000)
- The Allen Majority Fund (Sen. Jason ALLEN (R-Traverse City))
Raised (total): $110,543
Raised (this period): $41,715
Spent (total): $52,738
Spent (this period): $51,874
Cash on Hand: $57,805
Received Money From: Ronald WEISER ($5,000), Health PAC ($4,500), Agents PAC ($3,000)
Spent Money On: Senate Republican Campaign Committee ($20,000), Pappageorge ($7,000), Kahn ($2,500), Randy RICHARDVILLE ($2,500)
- The Republican Victory Committee (Allen)
Raised (total): $12,565
Raised (this period): $6,815
Spent (total): $92,813
Spent (this period): $73,709
Cash on Hand: $33,248
Received Money From: Meijer PAC ($2,500)
Spent Money On: Michigan Republicans ($25,000), Senate Republican Campaign Committee ($20,000), Jansen ($10,000), Sen. Laura TOY (R-Livonia) ($2,000)
- Knights of the Round Table Leadership PAC (Sen. Michael BISHOP (R-Rochester))
Raised (total): $42,080
Raised (this period): $34,500
Spent (total): $98,273
Spent (this period): $37,177
Cash on Hand: $21,274
Received Money From: Bishop Majority Fund ($30,000), MACPA PAC ($2,000), McLaren Health Care PAC ($1,000), Michigan Professional Firefighters PAC ($1,000)
Spent Money On: Senate Republican Campaign Committee ($20,000), Pappageorge ($6,500), George ($2,000)
- Bishop Majority Fund (Bishop)
Raised (total): $179,050
Raised (this period): $99,325
Spent (total): $155,981
Spent (this period): $135,345
Cash on Hand: $23,068
Received Money From: MITA PAC ($5,000); Blue Cross & Blue Shield PAC ($5,000); Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers PAC ($5,000); Robert TAUBMAN, the Taubman companies ($5,000); Ronald WEISER, McKinley Associates; Fifth Third Bancorp PAC ($5,000), W. Sidney SMITH ($5,000), Ronnie BOJI ($5,000)
Spent Money On: Knights of the Round Table PAC ($30,000), Senate Republican Campaign Committee ($20,000), George ($10,000), Pappageorge ($10,000), Richardville ($8,000), Sen. Bruce PATTERSON (R-Canton) ($7,500), Sen. Michelle McMANUS (R-Lake Leelanau) ($7,500), Gilbert ($5,000), Toy ($2,500), Hardiman ($2,500), Van Woerkom ($2,500)
Senate Democratic Leadership Candidates PACs
Jacob Millennium PAC, (Sen. Gilda JACOBS (D-Huntington Woods))
Raised (total): $51,185
Raised (this period): $16,638
Spent (total): $94,770
Spent (this period): $52,600
Cash on Hand: $6,424
Received Money From: Morban PAC ($2,000), AT&T Michigan PAC ($1,500), MACPA PAC ($1,000), Burton FARBMAN, real estate developer ($1,000), Peter REMINGTON, consultant ($1,000)
Spent Money On: Citizens for Better Government ($15,000), Michigan Democratic Party ($10,000), Rep. Carl WILLIAMS ($10,000), Rep. Alexander LIPSEY (R-Kalamazoo) ($5,000), Julie DENNIS ($5,000), Rep. Glenn ANDERSON (D-Westland) ($4,250)
Schauer 21st Century Fund (Sen. Mark SCHAUER (D-Battle Creek))
Raised (total): $192,815
Raised (this period): $96,015
Spent (total): $189,363
Spent (this period): $139,816
Cash on Hand: $18,714
Received Money From: Jon STRYKER, Kalamazoo architect ($50,000); Michigan Health and Hospital Association PAC ($5,000); Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers ($3,000); Michigan Trial Lawyers Association Justice PAC ($2,600), Michigan Osteopathic PAC Fund $2,500)
Spent Money On: Michigan Democratic Party ($75,000), Sen. Buzz THOMAS (D-Detroit) ($10,000), Sen. Burton LELAND ($10,000), Williams ($10,000), Andy LEVIN (10,000), Lipsey ($10,000), Anderson ($9,000)
Citizens For A New Majority (Sen. Ray BASHAM (D-Taylor))
Raised (total): $41,355
Raised (this period): $28,605
Spent (total): $47,226
Spent (this period): $33,826
Cash on Hand: $2,763
Received Money From: Committee to Elect Irma CLARK-COLEMAN ($5,000), Basham for Senate ($5,000), Teamsters 1038 PAC ($2,500), David RAVID ($2,500)
Spent Money On: Williams ($10,000), Lipsey ($5,000), Anderson ($5,900), Bob SCHOCKMAN ($4,000)
House Democratic Leadership Candidates PACs
Meisner Majority Fund (Rep. Andrew MEISNER (D-Ferndale))
Raised (total): $66,548
Raised (this period): $43,545
Spent (total): $90,314
Spent (this period): $68,824
Cash on Hand: $9,835
Received Money From: Samuel BERNSTEIN, attorney ($10,000); Friends of Andy Meisner ($12,000); Mark BERNSTEIN, attorney ($5,000); Paul BUKOWSKI ($2,000); Michigan Education Association PAC ($2,000)
Spent Money On: Mike SIMPSON ($5,000), Robert DEAN ($4,500), Mike LAHTI ($4,500), Marty GRIFFIN ($4,500), Lisa BROWN ($4,500), Mary VALENTINE ($4,500), Kate EBLI ($4,000), Dan SCRIPPS ($3,500), Rep. Pam BYRNES (D-Chelsea) ($2,500), Brian DUGGAN ($2,500), Barb BYRUM ($2,250), Rep. Marie DONIGAN (D-Royal Oak) ($2,000), Dave SCHWAB ($1,500), Rep. Gary McDOWELL (D-Rudyard) ($1,400)
The Alma Wheeler SMITH Take Back PAC (Smith)
Raised (total): $35,412
Raised (this period): $6,727
Spent (total): $35,484
Spent (this period): $21,906
Cash on Hand: $2,737
Received Money From: Stanley STEWART, retired ($2,000); Deborah OAKLEY, professor at University of Michigan ($750); Lana POLLACK ($500); Judith MICH, teacher at Ann Arbor Public Schools ($500)
Spent Money On: Rebekah WARREN ($4,000); Valentine ($4,000), McDowell ($3,000)
Dillon Leadership Fund, (Rep. Andy DILLON (D-Redford Twp.))
Raised (total): $55,725
Raised (this period): $55,725
Spent (total): $40,385
Spent (this period): $40,385
Cash on Hand: $16,339
Received Money From: Andy Dillon for State Representative ($5,000), Health PAC ($5,000), Meijer PAC ($4,500), Auto Dealers of Michigan PAC ($4,000), Realtors PAC ($2,500)
Spent Money On: McDowell ($5,000), Valentine ($5,000), Simpson ($5,000), Griffin ($5,000), Ebli ($4,000), Lahti ($3,000), Rep. John ESPINOZA ($2,000), Angerer ($2,000), Dean ($1,000)
The Robo Who Done It
The head of the Michigan AFL-CIO blames the Republican Party (MRP). The party chair said he had nothing to do with it. The dispute is over anonymous robo-calls that are anti-Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM has turned the matter into Lansing's latest "who done it" mystery.
Union President Mark GAFFNEY played for the media two of four known robo-calls being sent to answering machines across the state that blast the Governor for everything from opposing the union jobs bank to making empty promises to autoworkers. That's one thing, he said, but what really bugs him is that the calls end with the line, "Brought to you by Michigan Working Families."
"That's us," an incredulous Gaffney told reporters. He said when you Google that phrase, you get the AFL-CIO. His charge is that Republicans are engaged in a "conscious, purposeful attempt" to lie to the recipients of the calls, and he concluded most common folk thinks, "That stinks!"
Not guilty, countered MRP Chair Saul ANUZIS.
"We had absolutely nothing to with it," Anuzis said.
But what about the e-mails Gaffney waved in front of reporters showing GOP staffers told frustrated robo-call recipients to contact the AFL-CIO to find out more information on Michigan Working Families?
Anuzis explained that when he started to field inquiries from the public on the origin of the robo calls, he Googled the phrase and … ta da … got the AFL-CIO.
Gaffney said he's on a hunt to uncover who is responsible and if he finds those parties, he has union lawyers standing by ready to sue. He is contemplating filing a complaint with the Federal Communication Commission, as well.
The union head told Anuzis in a letter that when the GOP refers callers to the AFL-CIO, "The Republican party is aggravating and exacerbating the fraudulent effect of these calls."
Anuzis said hold the phone. He wondered if the union is the source of the calls in an attempt to "scare" union members as part of a "clever move" to make sure they vote for the Governor. He confessed he has no knowledge of that, but would not rule out anything from the other side.
Gaffney addressed that issue in his correspondence.
"You and your staff are well aware that the AFL-CIO is not the source of those deceptive anti-Granholm robocalls," he wrote.
Anuzis said he is not sure who is making the calls, but told MIRS the party has not done any robo-calling this election season.
Michigan Chamber of Commerce Vice President, Robert LaBRANT said he doesn't have any idea who is behind the ads either, adding that he personally doesn't like robo-calls. "Michigan Working Families" is not registered with the Secretary of State as an independent PAC.
The problem is the state does not require the senders of robo-calls to identify themselves. In fact, the state scarcely regulates them at all. They are cheap (only pennies per call). They are nearly impossible to trace and several companies throughout the country offer the service.
A MIRS-sponsored poll released today shows that nearly two out of three voters would like to see an end to robo-calls (See "Voters Want Lawmakers To Halt Robo-Calls," 10/24/06). A measure passed the House in September that would require those placing robo-calls to identify themselves.
Just Smile And Bush It?
Here's a contrast. Over in the 32nd District Senate race, Democrats are advertising that President George W. BUSH allegedly endorsed GOP candidate Rep. Roger KAHN (R-Saginaw), while at the same time U.S. Senate candidate Michael BOUCHARD has Bush in town to stump for him.
Bush's job performance numbers have been abysmal even considering his second-term status and most Republicans are keeping him at arm's length. So why would Bouchard want Bush to come into the state for him during the last two weeks of a campaign — especially when Bouchard, who is perceived as trailing, seems to be making up ground?
"Well, he's better liked than Dick DeVOS," Ed SARPOLUS, vice president of Lansing-based polling firm EPIC/MRA quipped, in regard to Bush. "No, actually the issue is that Bouchard's money sources are drying up. That's why he's having Bush come in. It's to help him raise money. They've spent about a quarter of the amount on him this time that they spent of Spence ABRAHAM six years ago. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Debbie STABENOW (D-Lansing) is going to spend about as much as Abraham spent."
Inside Michigan Politics Editor Bill BALLENGER agreed. It's mostly about the bucks.
"I think there are two things involved here," Ballenger said. "First, the one thing President Bush, or Vice President Dick CHENEY for that matter, can do is raise money. Bouchard needs to raise money big time, and raise it quickly. But there's a downside to that, which is that Bush isn't doing very well in the polls. So, if you're Bouchard you need to decide whether it's worth it, and obviously feels that it is."
"The second point is that, even though Bush is unpopular with voters overall, he still has about 31 to 37 percent who do support him," Ballenger said. "There is such a thing as a ground game, where you to try to excite the base."
GOP Wants Background Checks For Candidates
House Republicans say they are introducing legislation that would require candidates who are running for the House and Senate to undergo criminal background checks.
Rep. David HILDENBRAND (R-Lowell) will introduce the legislation, which the GOP claims would ensure that convicted felons do not get to represent citizens. Hildenbrand and Reps. Gary NEWELL (R-Saranac) and Judy EMMONS (R-Sheridan) announced the legislation at a press conference in the Capitol today.
The Southeast Michigan lawmakers made sure to reference Democratic candidate Bert JOHNSON, who is running for the 5th House District seat. Johnson pleaded no contest to a felony armed robbery charges in 1993.
When he appeared in court, Johnson entered a plea of no contest to the charges that were filed against him for his role in an Oakland Hills Country Club hold-up involving a firearm. The House members holding the press conference then cited the state Constitution to "remind" voters of a provision they claim prohibits felons from running for office.
"No person who has been convicted of subversion or who has within the preceding 20 years been convicted of a felony involving a breach of public trust shall be eligible for either house of the Legislature," was the piece of the state Constitution that was cited.
"According to the Michigan Constitution, voters have a right to know if a candidate running for office has committed a felony," Emmons said. "Background checks are one way to ensure full disclosure."
Hildenbrand said House leaders are trying to figure out what to do about Johnson since, according to the way Hildenbrand and others interpret the state constitution, Johnson shouldn't be allowed to serve in the House or the Senate.
House Speaker Craig DeROCHE (R-Novi) has threatened to block the candidate from taking his seat when he shows up in January. Johnson won an 11-person primary in August and is running unopposed in the General Election. Note, however, that Republicans didn't bring up the felony matter until after the Democratic primary.
Johnson was given clearance by the House Democratic Caucus lawyers to run, according to the Detroit Free Press. The question here involve the words in the Constitution "breach of public trust." Were the framers of the Constitution trying to single out bribery or other corruption-like felonies when they wrote this passage or all felonies?
House Democratic Caucus Spokesman Dan FAROUGH said Johnson did not consult the caucus before deciding to run and that Republicans should look at their own caucus if they want to deal with corruption.
"The same party that brought us the U.S. Rep. Mark FOLEY (R-Fla.) scandal is now bringing us this. It's a despicable double standard," Farough said. "The Speaker needs to address the culture of corruption festering in his own caucus."
Farough went on to list several Republicans who have been involved in questionable practices. He mentioned: Rep. David FARHAT (R-Fruitport) getting sued by a widow in Muskegon and allegedly not paying his taxes; Rep. Rick BAXTER (R-Concord) and Rep. Leslie MORTIMER (R-Horton) allegedly accepting illegal campaign contributions; Rep. David LAW (R-Commerce Twp.) getting a drunk driving ticket; and Rep. Brian PALMER (R-Romeo) involved in lawsuits for allegedly not paying more than $700,000 in outstanding credit card debt.
Hildenbrand anticipated some opposition to his proposal from the ACLU, but he said that this is a reasonable solution to maintaining the integrity in the Legislature.
Asking the State Police to do background checks on any candidate running in a primary would pre-empt this problem, he said. Hildenbrand doesn't know how much candidate background checks would cost the state, but suggested that candidates participate in some sort of cost sharing.
MIRS asked Hildenbrand if this legislation is just a ploy to keep Johnson out of office or if he would actually see the legislation through after the election.
"I plan to see it through regardless of what happens," Hildenbrand said. "I hope we can work it out and get something moving when we're back in session at the end of November. If I can't get it done, then it will be one of top items on my to do list — as long as I get re-elected Nov. 7.
(Senior Capitol Correspondent Tim SKUBICK contributed to this report.)
George Race Getting Curious
The Coalition for Progress (CFP), an anti-Republican Party group supported with money from Kalamazoo philanthropist Jon STRYKER, is hitting Sen. Tom GEORGE (R-Texas Twp.) with television ads that the first-term senator is taking serious exception to.
CFP claim that George voted against a minimum wage increase and for tax breaks to companies that outsource jobs. It even brings up the question of whether George's medical practice accepts Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance, an issue brought up in the last election cycle four years ago.
CFP's goal is to elect Rep. Alexander LIPSEY (D-Kalamazoo) in the 20th Senate District, in what has become a highly contested race.
The George campaign sent out several press releases refuting the accusations. On the minimum wage issue, the Michigan Republican Party (MRP) pointed out that George voted to increase the minimum wage when the issue was brought up in March.
In the ad, the group cites a 2004 bill that would have allowed government entities to increase the minimum wage, which George voted against, as did the rest of his Republican caucus. However, he did vote in favor of the bill that raised the minimum wage in March.
"That was in 2006 in an election year," said CFP Executive Director Kerry EBERSOLE. "Unfortunately, Sen. George has the record of voting for things in an election year when his name is on the ballot. Unfortunately, when his true colors are shown is when the public eye is not as focused."
The MRP said the TV commercial falsely states that George voted for tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs. The ad cites SR 0130 of 2006. This resolution would have asked the U.S. government to support a bill that would close a loophole rewarding companies that outsource jobs overseas.
This resolution was referred to the Senate Economic Development and Regulatory Reform Committee in May. The committee has not taken up the bill so the full Senate has not yet voted on the bill, which means George didn't vote no.
Republicans say the Lipsey television ads repeat lies about George that were spread in radio ads that were sponsored by the same coalition. Kalamazoo radio stations pulled the first ad, according to the MRP.
"I don't think it's a coincidence that the CFP runs deceptive ads lying about Sen. George. Then, after the ads are pulled, the Lipsey campaign runs a TV commercial repeating the same lie and adding a new one," said MRP Chairman Saul ANUZIS. "If the Lipsey campaign is working with the CFP on this, they are breaking state law. Mr. Lipsey needs to first of all denounce these lies, but he also needs to explain the actions of his campaign."
Ebersole said that the Republicans must be confused because none of the Coalition's ads have been yanked.
"All of our ads are running on radio and on television," she said.
The ad also brings up the Blue Cross Blue Shield issue, claiming that as a doctor, George refused to accept Blue Cross Blue Shield from his patients.
"Tom George is an employee of Kalamazoo Anesthesiology PC, which accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield. He has never refused to see a patient based on insurance status," according to the MRP.
Ebersole said this is yet another example of how George has changed his mind during an election year just so he can get voters on his side.
"All of a sudden after this became an issue, the following month his practice began taking Blue Cross Blue Shield. I don't know where his true values are," she said.
Brewer Taps Voter Intimidation Rhetoric
Today, Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Mark BREWER did his traditional pre-election news conference about stopping Republican shenanigans aimed at suppressing Democratic voters.
Democrats dusted off the seemingly perennial election-year claim that Republicans, particularly in urban areas and on college campuses, use voter intimidation at the polls by falsely telling voters that they'll need this or that documentation in order to vote. Meanwhile, Republicans claim Democrats cheat the system by getting votes recorded by those who shouldn't be voting— such as deceased persons, etc.
"We know the Republicans are gearing up," Brewer said. "We're going to have a direct response to their efforts to intimidate voters. We want to make sure every voter gets to vote."
At the news conference, which was taped by a local TV station, Brewer was flanked by Rep. Mike MURPHY (D-Lansing) and Sen. Gretchen WHITMER (D-East Lansing).
"We send people over to foreign lands to try to guarantee the integrity of their elections," Whitmer said. "But here voters are misled — it disenfranchises them."
Whitmer also brought up the situation from 2000 when U.S. Rep. Mike ROGERS (R-Brighton) edged out Rep. Dianne BYRUM (D-Onondaga) for the Congressional seat and several college-aged voters were turned away from the polls on the MSU campus. However, that situation seemed to involve issues pertaining to where college students vote — on campus or back in their hometowns — not voter intimidation.
Murphy added that it is "unfortunate that race baiting and disenfranchisement is still occurring."
MIRS asked Brewer if he had any documented examples. The answer was "no."
"On Election Day we work to get these situations solved, not documented," Brewer said. "We have eyewitnesses, that's better than documentation. If you want to talk to eyewitnesses, we can arrange that."
MIRS also asked if provisions that allow each party a presence at the polls to challenge voters should be done away with.
"I'd agree to that," Brewer said. "The only reason we're doing this is because of what the Republicans do."
MIRS asked Brewer if he was just following the guidelines of a Democratic blueprint for electioneering in Colorado, which leaked out a few years ago that recommended Democratic campaigns should make accusations of voter intimidation, regardless of whether any evidence of such intimidation exists or not.
"I don't know what's gone on in Colorado," Brewer said. "I know I've been here since 1984 and it was something we were concerned about then."
MIRS asked Brewer why, if he'd been dealing with this since 1984, he hasn't found some way to get some accusations documented.
"We're busy helping people on Election Day," Brewer said. "The goal is not to get them to fill out a paper, it's to make sure they get to vote."
In the late winter and early spring following the 2000 election snafu in Florida, the office of then-Attorney General Jennifer GRANHOLM claimed there had been more voter complaints in Michigan in the November 2000 election than in any in memory.
But when a legislative committee looking into election reform pressed for details, the office seemed to stall before coming up with 21 names of people who had supposedly complained. Upon review of the names, it turned out that most of the 21 had been collected at town hall meetings run by U.S. Rep. John CONYERS (D-Detroit) in early 2001. The remaining names of those who had allegedly complained proved worthless because their emails, phone numbers and addresses didn't check out.
Finally, Margaret FLANAGAN, who represented the AG's office on the topic, told the committee that in regard to the complaints she "may have misstated facts" (See "AG Misstatements On Election Complaints?" 03/22/01).
Michigan Republican Party Chair Saul ANUZIS responded today by defending the volunteers who go to the polls each Election Day and claimed it's the Democrats who try to use intimidation.
"The spin machine of the Michigan Democratic Party has fired up once again without regard for truth or reality," Anuzis said. " For years, Michigan citizens opting to volunteer as poll challengers on Election Day have been systematically, and falsely accused of intimidating voters and suppressing voters' rights. Despite the fact that poll challengers can be and are credentialed by both political parties, the MDP has targeted Republican volunteers with fabricated charges of intimidation."
Anuzis mentioned that the MRP has invited the press to participate in its Election Day training sessions (which virtually no reporters have chosen to attend). In addition, Anuzis mentioned the Colorado instructions to claim voter intimidation regardless of the validity of the claims and also said that Democrat-affiliated groups engage in "illegal activity to intimidate and obstruct poll challengers from fulfilling their legal rights and duties."
According to Anuzis, there have been "instances of intimidation" by Democratic affiliated groups, including: slashing the tires of 20 vehicles rented by local Republican Party officials on Election Day 2004 in Milwaukee and a Republican Challenger in Detroit, Ward 21, Precinct 005 being told by a Democrat Poll Challenger that his "white ass was in the right neighborhood for an explosion and that he (GOP Challenger) would be on the wrong end of it."
Biodiesel Stars In Granholm Ad
Biodiesel and the state's effort to get more ethanol-based pumps in gas stations take center stage in the latest TV advertisement released by the Granholm for Governor campaign.
The ad talks about Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM's effort to get gas stations to convert 1,000 pumps to ethanol in an attempt to decrease the state's dependence on foreign fuel.
The move toward alternative fuel is given as one example of how the Governor's diversifying the state's economy.
The text of the ad is as follows:
Michigan put America on wheels, and today Jennifer Granholm is leading the way for Michigan to be the state that makes those wheels run on alternative fuels, helping to break our dependence on foreign oil.
Due to Jennifer Granholm's efforts, nine new ethanol and bio-diesel plants are coming on line and will create over a thousand new jobs.
Jennifer Granholm is diversifying our economy, and leading Michigan toward a bold new future.
"Governor Granholm is diversifying our economy by bringing alternative energy companies to Michigan," Granholm Spokesman Chris DeWITT said. "Her efforts will create new jobs, help our automakers be more competitive, provide new markets for our farmers, reduce pollution in our environment, and help America end its dependence on foreign oil."
The Michigan Republican Party (MRP) was quick to respond to the ad with "proof" that virtually all of Granholm's claims are false. Michigan, not Granholm, put America on wheels and the state is far from being a leader in alternative fuels, according to a press release sent out by the MRP.
That being said, Granholm is also behind other Midwestern states in making ethanol pumps prevalent, according to the MRP. This claim, as well as the previous one, included a long list of other states that are ahead of Michigan on the alternative fuels front.
And as far as Granholm's record in diversifying the economy, "Unfortunately, Granholm's record on the economy is the same as the Governor's record on alternative energy," according to the press release. "Saying we're leading the nation makes everyone feel good, until they realize Michigan is leading the nation in unemployment, job loss, foreclosures and overall misery."
GONGWER- Volume #45, Report #206 --Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Larry Lee (517) 482-3500
SENATE DEMS P.A.C. WHIPS G.O.P. IN FUNDRAISING
That both Democrats and Republicans are fighting fiercely for control of the Senate can be seen in the sums both have raised in caucus and leadership political action committees during the last three months, but the Democratic Senate committee raised almost twice what the Republican committee did during the time.
Republicans outspent the Democrats during the three months, but by less than 30 percent, and with November 7 less than two weeks away, Senate Democrats have twice as much cash on hand as do the Republicans.
Democrats held their own in terms of leadership PACs as well, though the top Republican leadership candidates raised somewhat more than some of the Democrats.
Campaign filings for the caucus and leadership PACs were due with the state on Wednesday. Individual campaigns are due to report on Friday.
Senate Minority Floor Leader Sen. Mark Schauer (D-Battle Creek) was ecstatic about the filing, saying it showed Democrats were poised to take back the majority. "We've been turning over every stone. We've got an unprecedented number of new donors. We've got the candidates, we've got the strategy and now we've got the funding to win back the majority," he said.
A spokesperson for the Senate Republican Committee could not be reached for comment.
One top Democratic operative said earlier this week that he was walking around with "sweaty palms" over the possibility that chamber might switch control for the first time in nearly a quarter-century.
Should Republicans keep the Senate, the Democrats can at least assuage themselves that it was not for lack of funding power that they fell short.
The Senate Democratic Fund reported raising $952,872 for the three-month period.
In contrast the Senate Republican Campaign Committee raised $590,428 for the same time frame.
For the year, the Democratic committee has raised $1.691 million, while the Republicans have raised $1.32 million.
In spending during three months and the year, the Republicans hold the title: $1.41 million during the last three months, and $1.71 million for the year. But the Democrats have not been swamped; for the three months they spent $1.11 million and for the year $1.35 million.
But in the critical cash on hand category, especially critical in the last weeks of the election, Republicans are reaching for the Democratic purple: the Democratic committee reports $1.078 million while the GOP fund reports $450,079.
Neither caucus committee reported any debts.
Among the three Republicans running for the Senate leadership post, Sen. Jason Allen (R-Traverse City), with two leadership funds, raised more during the period and during the year than did the funds maintained by Sen. Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) and Sen. Wayne Kuipers (R-Holland). But Mr. Kuiper's fund outspent Mr. Bishop's fund.
It should come as no surprise that none of the funds showed donations to any of the others running for leadership.
Mr. Allen's Allen Majority Fund raised $41,715 during the three month period. For the year, the fund has raised $110,543. In terms of spending, the fund spent $51,873 and for the year it has spend $52,737. The fund had $57,805 in cash on hand.
The Allen fund concentrated its expenditures on candidates challenging for the open seats in the Senate, including Rep. Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw Township) in the 32nd District and former Rep. Randy Richardville in the 17th District.
Mr. Allen's second leadership PAC, the Republican Victory Committee, raised just $6,815 for the three-month period, and $12,565 for the year. But it spent $73,708 during the period and $92,813 for the year. It was left with $33,248 in cash on hand.
The largest direct contributions went to the Republican Senate Campaign Committee, but the fund also donated to many Republicans, both incumbents and challengers, running in the race.
According to the filings, Mr. Bishop's Knights of the Round Table Leadership Political Action Committee raised $34,500 during the three-month period from July and for the year has raised $42,080.79. During the period the fund expended $37,177.35, and for the year it spent $98,272.96. The fund had $21,274 in cash on hand.
Mr. Bishop's fund focused its direct candidate contributions during the period on two candidates: former Rep. John Pappageorge in the 13th District and Sen. Tom George (R-Portage), who is facing a tougher than expected campaign against Rep. Alexander Lipsey (D-Kalamazoo).
Mr. Kuipers' Kuipers Impact Fund raised just $6,200 for the period, and $69,900 for the year. But he spent $73,704 during the period and for the year has spent $141,116, leaving him with just $2,374 in cash on hand. The fund's largest contribution went to the Republican Senate Campaign Committee
Mr. Schauer's 21st Century Fund reported raising $96,015 during the three months, and for the year has raised $192,815. He spent $139,816 during the three months and for the year has spent $189,363, leaving him with $18,714 in cash on hand.
Among other Democrats looking at a leadership bid, the Citizens for a New Majority, run by Sen. Ray Basham (D-Taylor), raised $28,605 for the quarter and $41,355 for the year. During the quarter, the fund spent $33,826 and for the year has spent $47,226, leaving it with $2,763 in cash on hand.
Not all leadership funds had their filings on line at deadline.
HOUSE CAUCUSES CLOSE IN CASH ON HAND; G.O.P. TAKES OUT $900K LOAN
House Democrats and Republicans have nearly equal amounts of money in their respective campaign war chests, with the GOP caucus taking out a $900,000 loan less than two weeks before the election according to tri-annual reports filed with the state on Wednesday.
Here is a breakdown of where the money stands at this time.
House Campaign Committees
Cash on hand
Cash on hand
Republicans took out the Comerica loan on October 19, which has been typical for them in the last few election cycles and are spending big money on about 10 campaigns. The caucus raised $1,234,410 for the reporting period, of which $967,264 was spent on those competitive races.
Benefiting the most from caucus spending is Rep. Rick Baxter (R-Concord), who has received $337,480 toward his campaign. Democrats have plugged $181,536 into their candidate, Marty Griffin.
Democrats have raised $424,442 for the reporting period, of which $582,000 has been spent directly on candidates.
Interestingly, Democrats have chosen not to spend money on any of the races featuring one of their vulnerable members, save Rep. Kathy Angerer (D-Dundee), who received just $2,165 from the caucus. Republicans have given her opponent, former Rep. Matt Milosch, $8,649.
Mike Simpson, who is challenging Rep. Leslie Mortimer (R-Horton), has received $203,268 from the Democrats while Ms. Mortimer has received $198,966 from Republicans for her campaign.
Mary Valentine, who is running against Rep. David Farhat (R-Fruitport), has been given $163,727 in donations from the Democratic caucus, while Mr. Farhat's caucus has plugged $27,838 into his campaign for re-election.
Republicans have spent much of their financial efforts in capturing a seat in Monroe County where candidate John Manor has received $107,237 in contributions. In contrast, Democrats have only spent $27,323 on the candidate Kate Ebli there.
The GOP caucus is also spending money in races where it appears Democrats have chosen not to finance their candidate: Jay Duggan facing Rep. Gary McDowell (D-Rudyard) has received $167,605 in caucus monies; Ken Horn facing Democrat Bob Blaine has received $27,305; Rep. David Law (R-Commerce Township) has received $58,869; Tim Doyle facing Democrat Robert Dean has received $18,962 and Rep. Tim Moore (R-Farwell) has banked $14,094 in his race against Democrat Dave Schwab.
Republicans who were on the hunt in 26th, 57th, 67th, 52nd, 83rd, 84th and 110th, seats that Democrats control now, have not funded their candidates there.
Also, Republicans don't seem to be concerned with Rep. Tom Casperson's (R-Escanaba) re-election efforts, only donating a small amount to his campaign.
Democrats who were looking for a race in the 19th, 39th, 75th, 94th, 97th and 108th also do not appear to be putting anything into candidates there. They have given $3,000 to Democrat Mike Lahti in the House 110th District.
Dan Farough, spokesperson for House Democrats said their incumbents are incredibly strong and are a testament to the caucus's incumbent protection plan, unlike Republicans.
But Matt Resch, spokesperson for House Republicans, said the speaker and members have worked hard and raised the most money for the election cycle and are primed for wins come November.
Mr. Resch also questioned how Democrats could raise that amount of money and not spend anything on staffing, adding that Republicans have paid close to $240,000 for campaign staff this cycle.
The filings also showed Democrats with 4,032 donors compared to Republicans' 292.
In leadership committees, which were also due Wednesday, the top fundraiser for was House Speaker Craig DeRoche (R-Novi) with $197,966 for the cycle and $70,416 for the reporting period.
Other top Republican fundraisers were House Majority Floor Leader Chris Ward (R-Brighton) with $38,625 cycle/$15,450 period; Rep. Ed Gaffney (R-Grosse Pointe Farms) with $52,508 cycle/$37,968 period; Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer (R-Bellaire) with $47,114 cycle/$18,675 period; Rep. Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell) with $37,380 cycle/$14,050 period; Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland) with $48,952 cycle/$38,710 period; Rep. John Proos (R-St. Joseph) with $35,600 cycle/$18,850 period; Rep. Jerry Kooiman (R-Grand Rapids) $24,733 cycle/$13,110; Rep. Bill Caul (R-Mt. Pleasant) with $13,350 cycle/$9,350 period; Rep. Scott Hummel (R-DeWitt) with $35,625 cycle/$9,800 period and Rep. Kevin Green (R-Wyoming) with $51,840 cycle/$28,440 period.
Some of the filings for Democrats were not available by press time, but here were the standouts from what was filed with the state: Ms. Byrum with $52,854 cycle/$4,054 period; Rep. Andy Meisner (D-Ferndale) with $66,548 cycle/$43,545 period; Rep. Michael Sak (D-Grand Rapids) with $24,825 cycle/$5,350 period; House Minority Leader Mary Waters (D-Detroit) with $20,368 cycle/$16,618 period; Rep. Andy Dillon (D-Redford) with $55,725 cycle/$55,475 period; Rep. Alma Wheeler-Smith (D-Ypsilanti) with $35,412 cycle/$6,727 period; Rep. Steve Tobocman (D-Detroit) with $44,937 cycle/$30,207 period and Ms. Angerer with $14,675 cycle/$14,575 period.
CANDIDATES BACK AT IT AGAIN IN HOUSE 64TH DISTRICT SEAT
JACKSON - It's a rematch of candidates here in the House 64th District, but Rep. Rick Baxter (R-Concord) and Mayor Marty Griffin have found a slew of new problems with each other.
Mr. Baxter beat out Mr. Griffin in 2004 by 358 votes when the seat was open. At that time, Republican Bob Ross also ran as a write-in candidate after losing a bitter fight against Mr. Baxter in the primary. Mr. Ross lost again in the primary this year but chose not wage a write-in campaign that Republicans think helps their cause.
The 64th encompasses the city of Jackson, as well as the communities of Parma to the west, Hanover to the south and Napoleon to the southeast.
Jackson, birthplace of the Republican Party, has favored the party in the last two top of the ticket matchups. Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick Posthumus got 52 percent of the vote here in 2002, while President George W. Bush received 55.8 percent of votes in 2004.
But Democrats, spurred by Mr. Griffin's close win two years ago, have decided to pay more attention to this race and think the popularity of their candidate (son of former Rep. Martin Griffin) and comments made by the 27-year-old Mr. Baxter regarding passage of the increased minimum wage show he is out of touch with working families in the district and could help Mr. Griffin's chances. Mr. Griffin first ran for the seat against former Republican Rep. Clark Bisbee.
While he was campaigning recently in the city, Gongwer News Service asked Mr. Griffin what he thought the difference was between this campaign and his last with Mr. Baxter. The 44-year-old realtor said the amount of money invested in his campaign by Lansing has been the only real difference.
Mr. Griffin said residents are unhappy with Mr. Baxter's first term in office, saying the nature of the competitive district has forced the freshman lawmaker to make mistakes and rush through legislation.
While it is good public policy to require background checks for people working in schools, legislation Mr. Baxter introduced this session, Mr. Griffin said the hurry to get it passed meant the Legislature had to follow-up with a cleanup bill dealing with issues like how the background checks would be subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
"Look at the nightmare that created," he said. "It's an unfunded mandate. They had to cleanup the mess."
Mr. Griffin said his experience in Lansing (he worked as a Democratic staffer in the House for 12 years) and at the local government level would mean those kind of mistakes wouldn't happen.
"There's something to be said about experience," he said.
But Mr. Baxter, who was also out doing door-to-door in the district, told Gongwer that his two years in Lansing (he also served two years on the Jackson County Commission) have helped him cement what he wants to get done in the Legislature and that in terms of the school background check bill, it was the administration that improperly executed implementation of the law.
Mr. Baxter said lawmakers did not expect the checks to be done by doing a simple name search in which any John Smith with a record, for example, could be pulled up to match a school employee. He said the legislation he put forth was done with the best intentions.
This election cycle, Mr. Baxter has also been called for ads put out by House Democrats that say he received contributions from big oil companies and did not support expansion of alternative fuels in the state to be pulled from local stations.
Mr. Baxter says he supports increasing the production and use of alternative fuels but he did not support a move to mandate how much ethanol content should go in fuel. He's also pointing people to Mr. Griffin's campaign finance records and support he's gotten from brother John Griffin, president of the Association of Petroleum Industries for Michigan, as well as other organizations in that field.
For his part, Mr. Griffin said he's trying to stay above the fray of negative hit pieces put out by other groups.
In terms of money, Mr. Baxter has outpaced his opponent, netting $113,000 over the cycle with $22,000 left in the bank. Mr. Griffin has raised $37,000 for cycle but had more money in the bank with $28,000, according to the latest post-primary campaign finance reports.
House Democrats have spent over $181,000 on Mr. Griffin's behalf, according to recent filings. House Republicans in turn have contributed $337,480 to Mr. Baxter's campaign efforts.
While the economy is playing a role in statewide elections, a possible announcement by the Eaton Corporation here could impact the race in the 64th district. The company has informed local leaders and the state that it is assessing its operations, which has spurred action by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and local leaders to put together an incentive deal that would keep the business operating.
The community has already been stung by the loss of nearly 2,000 jobs due to the close of TRW and Eaton is expected to finish their study just before Election Day.
"I think everyone is stepping up to the plate," Mr. Griffin said of the study. "We weren't going to wait."
Mr. Baxter said that when the state sat down at the table with TRW, the company leaders' minds were already made up and officials don't want that to happen with Eaton.
Mr. Baxter is supporting a measure that would allow the fifth and sixth month workers receiving unemployment benefits to be income-tax free - a proposal he caught some flack for during a recent press conference where at least one former TRW employee said the lawmaker didn't do enough to persuade the company into staying and has not supported proposals aimed at helping people who have been laid-off.
When asked whether that type of confrontation is usual at press gatherings, Mr. Baxter said it was "par for the course."
But he said that he's been proud of several issues he's worked on over the two years, including voting for the $600 million tax cut to manufacturers that will roll out over the next five years.
So far, Mr. Baxter has had 14 bills enacted into law, one of which dealt with helping the tool and die industry. While the legislation did not garner as much as attention as some of his other bills, he said that the time invested in making things more efficient and reformed for that industry was important.
Mr. Baxter also said he liked legislation that requires sex offenders to give the state their address before being released from prison.
When asked what the hardest part about the job has been, Mr. Baxter said getting used to all the layers required to get policy changes accomplished. Government is a lot different than business (he worked as chief financial officer for the family business Baxter Machine & Tool before coming to the Legislature), he said.
Besides more name recognition this time around, Mr. Baxter said he's also proud to tell people that he's considered to be the most conservative freshman in the Legislature and that he understands the details of policy issues more than the theories on reform put out by his opponent.
Mr. Griffin has been championing the initiatives that have helped position Jackson for the future, including brownfield redevelopments and renaissance zones. He points to developments like the Armory Arts Project that will help the community move forward after losing companies like Goodyear and Clark Equipment.
While the city has grappled with a tight budget situation, there is actually a surplus in the fund and pensions are in good shape, he said.
Republicans have attacked Mr. Griffin for voting to give himself a pay raise while water bills, crime rates and unemployment have increased in the community.
Mr. Griffin claims that the attacks are unfounded and that the Jackson police chief who normally stays out of these type of election contests, has actually stood up to support him because crime in the city is not on the upswing.
Lawmakers should be focusing on how to offer incentives for businesses that have stuck through the tough times, Mr. Griffin said, adding that a "good part" of the Single Business Tax should be replaced. Asked what he thinks about elimination of the personal property tax, an idea pushed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos, Mr. Griffin said the tax system should be reviewed in a comprehensive way, but a cut in personal property taxes "could bankrupt some communities."
Mr. Baxter has said he doesn't support replacing any of the revenue lost by the SBT elimination, a stance Democrats have said would hurt crucial services like police and healthcare, as well as schools.
Neither candidate said they are waiting on any endorsements while Mr. Baxter beat out his opponent in winning support from the Jackson Citizen Patriot, which had supported Mr. Griffin in 2004.
The two have scheduled a debate on WKHM for a date to be announced.
TEMPERS FLARE IN REMATCH OF HOUSE 65TH
BLACKMAN TOWNSHIP - It seems like almost every day a new attack is launched on Rep. Leslie Mortimer (R-Horton) or her two-time Democratic opponent Mike Simpson, and Wednesday was no exception.
Gongwer News Service caught up with both candidates here last week as they went door knocking, but the community also proved to be a battleground of sorts for House Speaker Craig DeRoche (R-Novi) and House Minority Leader Dianne Byrum (D-Onondaga), who held separate press conferences to debunk support for their candidate's opposition.
Mr. DeRoche, in town to speak about the negative consequences of Proposal 2006-5, also known as the K-16 initiative, that would tie inflationary increases to school spending, argued that Ms. Mortimer was the better candidate because she keeps the best interests of all people in mind and not the special interests, as Mr. Simpson has come out in support of the ballot initiative that is supported by several groups but most by the state's largest teacher's union, the Michigan Education Association.
Ms. Byrum slammed Ms. Mortimer and her Republican colleagues as well, saying that they recklessly blew a $2 billion hole in the state budget by eliminating the Single Business Tax with no replacement, which will hurt vital services like police, higher education and healthcare.
Democrats have hit Ms. Mortimer, with 43-year-old Mr. Simpson running a television advertisement, for not supporting a repeal of the state's blanket immunity for pharmaceutical companies that produce products that injure or kill people. Mr. Simpson's ad features Lansing resident Leslie Richter, who lost her husband from what she said was side effects of the drug Vioxx.
Mr. Simpson said he shares a common bond with Ms. Richter because days after his daughter died of terminal cancer, his insurance company cancelled his policy and refused to pay the medical bills.
"We need to make this issue a people issue and not a party issue," he said. "The reality is this is happening over and over to families of Michigan."
Ms. Mortimer, a 46-year-old dietician who replaced her husband in the Legislature, has said those attacks relate to tie-bar amendments offered by Democrats that had nothing to do with the legislation before the chamber and that the ad should be pulled from stations. If a company lies to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the side effects of a product they should be held accountable, she said during door-to-door stops with Gongwer.
The first-term lawmaker also has taken flack from Democrats on her request for $520,000 request in 21st Century Jobs funding, saying that it was unethical for her to have applied for the grants when she had voted on the legislation when it was before the chamber. Ms. Mortimer is involved in a non-profit organization called Seeds of Hope, which is involved in a hydroponics project in the community.
Ms. Mortimer in exchange has called on Mr. Simpson to denounce ads put out by the Coalition for Progress, which is backed by several donors including billionaire John Stryker.
"For a single individual to try to buy a race where he doesn't even live is a slap in the face to Jackson voters. If he does not even have the courage to run for office himself or put his name behind the ads then he should stay out of the matters of the people of Jackson," Ms. Mortimer said in a release. "Mike Simpson should denounce The Coalition for Progress and demand they pull their ads from TV."
The 2004 race featuring the two candidates was equally as back and forth, with Ms. Mortimer facing a tough primary battle where one of the candidates who lost ended up endorsing Mr. Simpson. She prevailed in the general contest by 1,099 votes.
In terms of financing, Ms. Mortimer had raised $114,000 for the cycle and possessed $9,000 left in the bank, according to the post-primary reports. Mr. Simpson has raised $36,000 with $24,000 to spare.
The biggest game in town has been from the caucuses, with the House Democratic Caucus dumping more than $203,000 into the Simpson campaign in recent weeks, while House Republicans campaign arm has spent $203,268 on Ms. Mortimer's behalf.
The 65th district leans Republican and has supported those candidates including going 52.5 percent for 2002 gubernatorial candidate Dick Posthumus and casting 56.9 percent of votes in favor of President George W. Bush in 2004.
So far, Ms. Mortimer is trumpeting enactment of 29 of her bills, more than any other lawmaker this session. Funding for the widening of U.S. 127 and expansion of sidewalks by schools in Eaton, working on the healthy kids task force and promoting the use of an umbilical cord blood bank network are some of the policies Ms. Mortimer said she's most proud of.
Ms. Mortimer said she hopes that Governor Jennifer Granholm's proposal to help the uninsured in the state goes through and she looks forward to working on more health-related issues because seven of the 10 diseases people mostly die from are lifestyle related.
"(People) need to take their meds; they need to exercise; they need to eat right," she said.
As part of her work on the healthy kids task force, she said work is being done to ensure kids get access to gym class and recess, which has been cut back in recent years in some school districts.
Ms. Mortimer said her opponent is running on issues that were the same as in 2004 and are not touching the voters of the 65th district.
Mr. Simpson said he is still concerned about the issues like stopping Canadian trash and promoting more recycling centers, but as a small business owner (he runs Poppa's Place in Brooklyn) he's also paid more attention to the state's economy and has more knowledge than Ms. Mortimer on the issue.
Mr. Simpson, who has been branded by Republicans as a two-time loser (he previously ran unsuccessfully against former U.S. Rep. Nick Smith), said his proposal to provide health care pooling to small businesses would be a boon to attracting companies to the state. The proposal calls for a risk assurance pool program to be set up at Michigan State University that would train people for certification who would then be able to sell policies from a single pool.
"You can't say I'm not laying ideas on the table," he said. "I truly want to be a representative, not a politician."
Both candidates voiced concern over the loss of jobs by TRW in the area and are working with officials to help keep Eaton Corporation jobs.
Ms. Mortimer said the state has to stop relying completely on the auto industry for jobs, to which Mr. Simpson said he supports having an ethanol plant in Jackson.
Ms. Mortimer said she's not waiting on any endorsements, while Mr. Simpson said he would like support from the National Rifle Association since Republicans have put out a negative lit piece saying he's against people having guns, a claim he says is false. Ms. Mortimer recently was endorsed for a second term by the Jackson Citizen Patriot.
While candidate forums have been scheduled, no debates have been set between the two candidates.
ANTI-REPUBLICAN GROUP REPORTS MILLIONS RAISED
The Coalition for Progress, a Kalamazoo-based group started by billionaire John Stryker, has reported raising $5.174 million according to campaign finance statements filed with the state on Wednesday.
Republicans were quick to point out that while the group had 74 individual donors, Mr. Stryker, along with his sister Pat, contributed the bulk of the funding at $5,151,400, dubbing the organization the "coalition of one."
This week, Rep. Joe Hune (R-Hamburg), chair of the House Republican Campaign Committee, put out a memo to the media questioning what Mr. Stryker's agenda is and whether the Democratic candidates the Coalition supports share that same ideology.
Republicans continually have raised concerns that Mr. Stryker is trying to buy the state Legislature in a similar tactic his sister did in Colorado where Democrats swept into power with heavy financial support from that family.
Mr. Hune also raised concerns about how the voters in the districts targeted by the Coalition feel about having such a wealthy person impact the election of their next state representative or senator.
On Wednesday, Kerry Ebersole, executive director for the Coalition, highlighted the group's growing support referencing the 4,000 people who have signed their online petition.
"The Coalition for Progress is going to be around for years to come supporting people share our concerns," she said.
A new 527-group named so for its place in the tax code, is Working for Michigan's Future and has been running ads denouncing Democratic support for money sent to underperforming Detroit Public Schools. That group does not have to file any reports with the state.
"We believe in transparency and being open about who our supporters are, unlike the Republican controlled Working for Michigan's Future. We think they owe it to the voters to come clean about where their money comes from and who is behind their operation," Ms. Ebersole said.
A.F.L. PLANNING LAWSUIT OVER ROBO-CALLS
A group calling itself Michigan Working Families has been making robocalls around the state arguing that Governor Jennifer Granholm has not done enough to protect and create jobs in the state and urging votes against her on November 7, not in itself is not an unusual occurrence or tactic in recent elections, except for the group's similar name to that of an AFL-CIO group, which has heavily endorsed Ms. Granholm.
The Michigan AFL-CIO has run a campaign called Michigan Working Families Network. And they are most certainly not opposed to Ms. Granholm's re-election.
AFL President Mark Gaffney called on the Michigan Republican Party in a letter Wednesday to stop linking the robocalls to his union and to aid in finding the source of the calls that he said were misleading traditional AFL supporters.
Mr. Gaffney said he could not yet definitively link the calls to the Michigan GOP, but "I think they're involved in the cover up of who's making the calls."
He noted emails from GOP communications director Sarah Anderson and other party officials who directed those concerned about the calls to the AFL and to union websites.
"There is not a single professional person working in the Republic Party or the Democratic Party who thinks these calls are coming from us," Mr. Gaffney said.
Ms. Anderson said she does not know who is making the calls, though she would like to, but said she referred people to the AFL because that was the top result she got on a Google search of Michigan Working Families.
"We're happy to stop referring people to them," she said. "If they say it's not them, we believe them."
She said she made the suggestion thinking that the union, or someone attached to it, may have been using the calls to energize the Democratic base. She noted the Isabella County Democratic Party in a blog had thanked the sponsor of the calls for pushing more people to volunteer to help out.
Mr. Gaffney said the union is preparing a lawsuit against whoever is funding the robocalls, which he said have been running statewide for at least the past 10 days, for infringement on its program name and for fraud, but he said first officials have to learn who is behind the calls.
And he called on Republican Party Chair Saul Anuzis to help with the effort. "The Michigan Republican Party also should share our interest in eliminating campaign messages that are dishonest and misleading, so I hope that you will assist us in our investigation by providing any information you may have concerning these automated calls," Mr. Gaffney said in his letter.
Ms. Anderson said party officials have not gotten any clues as to who is sponsoring the calls.
In addition to misleading information about who is making the calls, Mr. Gaffney said the calls also misstate Ms. Granholm's position on some issues. One call says, "Wow, so first we find out that Granholm makes empty promises to auto workers and then today Jennifer Granholm's campaign says on WJR radio that they have no regrets for supporting NAFTA."
Ms. Granholm has argued consistently that the North American Free Trade Agreement is one of the federal policies that has led to job looses in the state, particularly in the automotive sector.
A poll released Wednesday by The Rossman Group said 68.2 percent of voters would like to see the robocalls banned altogether. The poll, by Denno-Noor Research of 600 people with an error margin of 4 percent, showed only 24.8 percent opposed a ban on the calls. "That's a huge margin and one that may spur the Legislature into considering following the public's lead and banning this type of political campaigning," said Kelly Rossman-McKinney, Rossman Group CEO.
DEMOCRATS PLAN OWN POLL WATCH PROGRAM
Republicans this week launched their training for poll challengers, aimed at ensuring those who are voting are properly registered. Democrats, declining the invitation to participate in the RSVP training, instead launched their own effort Wednesday aimed at watching the poll watchers.
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer said the Republican program was not about ensuring people were properly registered, but about intimidating people into not voting. And he said some 1,000 Democratic attorneys and volunteers would be at polls around that state through the party's Voter Protection Program working to counteract those efforts.
"This is a direct response to the Republican efforts to harass not only minority voters but student voters," Mr. Brewer said.
Sarah Anderson with the Michigan Republican Party said Mr. Brewer should be watching some of his party's supporters instead, noting that in the 2004 election, groups such as MoveOn.org had people posted too close to many polling places passing out literature and offering to help people vote, also a violation of election law.
Though Mr. Brewer said there were few documented cases of harassment by Republican poll workers, he said he had eyewitness accounts from around the state to verify the claim. He said in most of the observed cases, poll workers addressed the issues.
"On Election Day we're busy helping people, not filling out bureaucratic paperwork," he said of the lack of documentation, noting that true documentation would require calling the police and filing a report.
But he said the Republican efforts have also led an unknown number of people to leave the polling place rather than remain to be questioned by poll watchers.
And he said in several cases those challengers were questioning voters while they were in line to vote, a practice he said is illegal, particularly given that some were questioned about their finances and criminal records.
Ms. Anderson said Republican poll watchers are specifically instructed not to talk to voters, only to elections staff. "Our poll challengers do not talk to voters, they do not interact with voters," she said.
And she said the party would have attorneys circulating to the various polling places to be sure those rules are being followed. "If we find one of our poll challengers interacting with voters, we remove them," she said.
She said the goal was to be sure a fraudulent vote, by someone not registered or someone trying to vote under a false name, does not cancel out a legitimate vote.
Mr. Brewer said the Democratic Party poll watchers will not be directly challenging voters in any district. "You will not see a Democratic Party challenger challenge a Republican voter," he said. "We have never and will never as long as I'm chair."
BOUCHARD: NOT AFRAID TO CHALLENGE BUSH
President George W. Bush may be coming to Michigan for his second trip to help raise money for GOP U.S. Senate candidate Michael Bouchard, but Mr. Bouchard said he would not hesitate to differ with Mr. Bush if he thought his policies would hurt Michigan.
Mr. Bouchard also said in a reporters phone call that he would vote to allow oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska which, he said, would provide the U.S. with nearly as much oil as it gets from Saudi Arabia and be a source of jobs in Michigan for companies that make drilling equipment.
A spokesperson for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) said Mr. Bouchard needs to make up his mind if backs the president or not.
Mr. Bush is making his second appearance in Michigan on Mr. Bouchard's behalf, Thursday in Warren. Vice President Dick Cheney has also come to Michigan to help raise money for Mr. Bouchard.
Ms. Stabenow's campaign has used a photograph of Mr. Bouchard and Mr. Bush from their first meeting in several television ads, including her latest one, saying that he would support Bush policies if elected.
But Mr. Bouchard said, in talking to reporters, that while Mr. Bush's presence would undoubtedly help him raise money, he will not be tied to Mr. Bush if he feels a policy was not in Michigan's best interest.
"It doesn't commit me to him, or the Senate leader, or anyone else," Mr. Bouchard said, adding that when he was in the state Senate he voted against a number of issues that former Governor John Engler wanted. "And he was not an easy man to say no to," Mr. Bouchard said.
But Brent Colburn, spokesperson for Ms. Stabenow, said Mr. Bouchard couldn't have it both ways. "You can't stand shoulder to shoulder with the president for campaign cash and say you're not going to be in his back pocket if you go to Washington. It doesn't hold water and the voters know that."
Mr. Bouchard also blamed Ms. Stabenow for filibustering adoption of an energy bill largely over the controversy about opening the Arctic refuge to oil drilling. Mr. Bouchard said he would be in favor of drilling there, saying it could create as many as 25,000 jobs in Michigan for the manufacturing of drilling equipment and other supplies.
But Mr. Colburn said the amount of oil the region would produce would not be so large and there was no reason now to open it up to drilling.
He also said Ms. Stabenow supported a modified energy bill that did not include the Arctic Refuge drilling issue.
LATEST GRANHOLM AD FOCUSES ON ALTERNATIVE ENERGY
In her latest ad in her re-election campaign, Governor Jennifer Granholm says that her administration is working to help develop alternative fuels that will help end the U.S. dependence on foreign oil. But Republicans charged back that the administration is behind the curve in developing alternative energy.
The ad shows an historic film of 1950s cars being produced saying that Michigan put the world on the road, and that Ms. Granholm was leading efforts to develop ethanol and bio-diesel fuels.
The ad says that some nine new ethanol plants and bio-diesel fuel plants are being built in Michigan that would help create as many as 1,000 new jobs.
But Republicans said Michigan is running behind other states that already have ethanol production plants up and running.
Ironically, the ad appears at a time when Underwriters Laboratory saying it was decertifying E-85 ethanol pumps out of concern the fuel could degrade some of the equipment. Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran an article about boaters in Texas, where boat fuel has to include ethanol, complaining
the fuel was destroying their engines.