High-Stakes Debate and Tensions at the GOP Convention: Your Guide to Michigan Politics

Hi!

Alyssa Burr here, MLive State Legislature’s resident reporter covering the Michigan Senate, to bring you your weekly roundup of Michigan political news.

In this epic photo below with my colleagues from the political team, you can find me on the far right representing my future graduate school alma mater – the one and only Syracuse University (go orange!).

MLive political reporters on the steps of the Michigan Capitol. From left to right: Ben Orner, Jordyn Hermani, Simon Schuster and Alyssa Burr.Daniel Sular | MLive.com

The MIGOP nominating convention kicked off Saturday, August 27 in Lansing, but the infighting within the Michigan GOP party shows no signs of letting up.

The convention includes delegates from each county who will solidify the GOP’s November ticket, including the lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state. This is a crucial opportunity for party unity, given that Democrats control the governorship, AG and SOS. But on Saturday, Michigan’s Republican convention began in chaos on Saturday as Mark Forton, the recognized former Macomb County GOP chairman, brought a local fight to a statewide stage.

As MLive political reporter Ben Orner reported: Minutes into the convention, Forton supporters issued a challenge to the 199 Macomb County delegates. Dueling Republican factions held county conventions in Macomb this month after Forton was elected county chairman in April but refused to hand over the reins.

Related: Convention chaos: Snubbed Michigan County GOP chairman leads Macomb delegate swap

The Michigan GOP and Co-Chair Ron Weiser recognized Macomb’s opposing slate of delegates for Saturday’s convention, which were led by Eric Castiglia. But a vote of delegates from the other 82 counties rejected that list on Saturday and swapped it for Forton’s, which he said is a rebuke to Weiser and a victory for the GOP “grassroots.” In a process that took more than two hours, county delegates upstairs at the Lansing Center stood and raised their credentials in support of Forton’s slate of delegates. Needing more than two-thirds of the vote, Forton’s challenge was successful, as an overwhelming majority of people stood up to support Forton’s list as MIGOP’s preferred list.

Shane Hernandez gets GOP Lieutenant Governor’s Pick

As political reporter Jordyn Hermani of MLive reported at the convention on Saturday: Shane Hernandez will remain Republican gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon’s choice for lieutenant governor despite threats on his ticket.

Despite former gubernatorial candidate Ralph Rebandt’s efforts to garner his name’s support to replace Hernandez, those attempts failed and Hernandez easily won the nomination on Saturday.

Republican Attorney General nominee Matt DePerno, in a speech nominating Hernandez for lieutenant governor, said the former lawmaker “understands the grassroots fights we’re in” and would work to woo “blue-collar workers and minorities to vote Republican.

Debacle of the debate

As Republicans seek to take control of key state government offices and Democrats fight to retain it, more conflict this week as incumbent Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Republican challenger Tudor Dixon have no yet set a schedule for two statewide televised debates.

As someone who has watched the governor’s race from almost the beginning, my colleague Simon Schuster reports that there may be more at stake for the incumbent governor and political newcomer than the debate itself.

Early Wednesday, Whitmer’s campaign announced it had “accepted invitations” for the Oct. 13-25 debates.

On the other hand, Dixon’s campaign said it accepted the same two invitations while offering a number of different dates. September 20, 22, 27 or 28 for a debate hosted by WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids; October 17 or 24 for a second debate hosted by WXYZ-TV in the Detroit metro.

Simon spoke with Oakland University political science professor Dave Dulio about why it might be more than dates on a calendar. Dulio said campaigns leading to elections with the upper hand might be less open to the vulnerabilities a debate can introduce.

“You see that in campaigns across the country, where campaigns that see themselves as having an advantage, say, are less likely to want to debate,” Dulio said. “I’m not saying that’s the case with the Whitmer campaign. My intuition is that they are quite confident, but you know, often it is the starter who wants to avoid showing off.

Dixon’s campaign argues that no-reason absentee voting (a method of voting that saw record numbers in the August primary) is reason enough to advance the first debate. For the general election, local clerks are supposed to have absentee ballots on hand to send out to voters on September 29.

Related: Michigan voters can now apply for mail-in ballots for November general election

Debate organizers and Dixon’s campaign remain silent on publicly announcing next steps, but political science research shows incumbents have an innate advantage over new opponents.

Men found guilty of leading a plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer

In other news, a chapter in the plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer ended earlier this week after a jury found two men guilty for their roles in the scheme.

Barry Croft Jr., 46, of Bear, Delaware, and Adam Fox, 38, of Wyoming, Michigan, face life in prison.

They were retried on charges of conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction after a jury in April failed to return a verdict in their cases.

Tuesday’s verdict follows nearly two weeks of testimony in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids Press reporter John Agar has been following the case from almost the beginning. After the guilty verdict, he reported on these five takeaways that played a role in the trial: the Fifth Amendment, FBI involvement, “unfortunate” defendants, protection of public officials, and lawsuit action. real-time survey.

Abortion in Michigan ballot proposals set to pass, signature checkers say

Abortion rights activists continue to make progress as a constitutional amendment to guarantee abortion rights in Michigan has more than enough signatures to vote, the state’s Office of Elections said Thursday. .

Staff completed verification of signatures from Reproductive Freedom for All, which needed 425,059 valid signatures each to cast the vote, and found that RFFA had submitted a record 752,288 signatures.

Bureau staff performed a facial examination of petition sheets to find errors that could potentially reject entire documents. Then they took a random sample of possibly valid signatures. Each line is reviewed to ensure, for example, that the signer is registered to vote in that newspaper’s jurisdiction and that their signature matches state records.

Reproductive Freedom for All had 596,379 valid signatures, office staff valued.

Another constitutional amendment aimed at increasing access to the vote, Promote the Vote 2022, passed the Elections Office’s signature checks this week. PTV submitted 664,029 signatures and had 507,780 validated – a figure well above what was needed, reported fellow policy team member Ben Orner.

RFFA would give Michiganders a constitutional right to abortion, replacing a 1931 ban on the procedure currently pending in court after the fall of Roe v. Wade. PTV would mandate nine days of in-person early voting, ban harassment while voting, and allow people to vote by mail permanently, among other measures.

The Elections Office recommends Board of State Solicitors approve the amendments for the ballot on November 8. This means that these two burning questions could end up being left to voters if the proposals are adopted at the next board meeting on Wednesday August 31.

What Michigan Borrowers Need to Know About a Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

While a student debt plan announced by President Joe Biden on Wednesday is causing some celebration, others are wary of the potential economic fallout they say could result.

The Biden administration plans to forgive $10,000 per borrower and $20,000 per Pell Grant recipient who earn less than $125,000 individually or $250,000 for households. A pause on student loan repayments will also be extended “one last time” until December 31. And the income-based repayment plan is being revised to lower costs for borrowers.

In Michigan, there are 1.4 million student borrowers holding $51.3 billion in debt, according to federal data. About 700,000 of those with federal student loans will see their debt reduced by half or completely wiped out, according to the governor’s office.

Keep an eye out, as the plan will likely be challenged in court.

About 59% of Americans worry that forgiving student loans will make inflation worse, a recent CNBC Momentive poll found. National Economic Council deputy director Bharat Ramamurti disputed those concerns, saying restarting payments would bring “billions of dollars a month” to the federal government.

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania estimated this week that a $10,000 rebate plan with a $125,000 revenue limit will cost the federal government about $300 billion.

Learn more about Michigan politics:

Michigan is using $63 million in federal dollars to help homeless people and at-risk renters

Car crash survivors can’t have lifetime benefits retroactively reduced, Michigan Court of Appeals rules

Possible $350 tax credit for safe gun storage, training under bipartisan bill

A bill to ban card-only parking in Michigan could address a bigger problem of socioeconomic inequality

Mental Health, Focus on Retention of Whitmer Roundtable Teachers with Novi School Community

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