Conservative First

Race Hoax at Kalamazoo College

What’s going on at Kalamazoo College?  K College is a far left elite private college just west of downtown Kalamazoo.  It was originally founded as a Baptist college, but that influence is long gone, replaces by progressivism, social justice, gay rights, anti-racism, and all the trendy cultural Marxism common on campus.

Kalamazoo College students start #UnsafeAtK social media campaign, say they feel threatened
Meeting about minority student safety at Kalamazoo College draws more than 100 students
Kalamazoo College officials address #UnsafeAtK social media campaign in campus-wide email
Security increased at Kalamazoo College after online threat to ‘start systematically executing faculty’
‘Don’t let them win’: Solidarity sought at Kalamazoo College in aftermath of online shooting threat
Kalamazoo College threats: Investigators hope Internet trail will lead them to suspect
Despite threat, Kalamazoo College students who have experienced racism push for intercultural center
Kalamazoo College students rally over concerns about racism and marginalization, push for intercultural center

The current controversy involves a student who is a gun rights activist.  He has advocated for open carry on K’s campus, a noble but hopeless cause at an extremely left-wing private college.  In late February, he asked the student government for support for this cause.  They predictably declined, and launched a flurry of insults, as reported by Campus Reform.

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Where Did Lorence Wenke’s Votes Come From?

The closest state legislative race in Michigan in 2014 was in state senate district 20, which is coterminous with Kalamazoo County. The district was vacated by Republican senator Tonya Schuitmaker, who ran for reelection in a neighboring district due to redistricting.

The Republican candidate was 61st district state rep Margaret O’Brien of Portage. The democrat candidate was 60th district state rep Sean McCann of Kalamazoo. Both are fairly typical representatives of their parties.

Aside from the closeness of the race, there was another complicating factor. Former state rep Lorence Wenke ran as a Libertarian after having originally filed to run in the Republican primary. Wenke was a moderate Republican state rep 2002-2008. He had an eclectic platform emphasizing support for gay rights and support for cutting government employee benefits. In the course of the campaign, he announced support for several tax increases and other un-libertarian policies.

The election results, after a recount, were

O’Brien 36645 (45.6%)
McCann 36584 (45.5%)
Wenke 7171 (8.9%)

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Conservatives Win in November

Republicans won a big victory in November in Michigan. They held all their statewide offices and Congressional seats. They also held all their current state legislative seats, gaining one in the Senate and four in the House. They now have at 27-11 supermajority in the Senate and a 63-47 majority in the House. More importantly, conservatives gained seats within the Republican caucus. All eight candidates endorsed by Madison Project Michigan won in November. Congratulations to Pat Colbeck, Lana Theis, Jim Runestad, Jason Sheppard, Tom Barrett, Cindy Gamrat, Gary Glenn, and Triston Cole.

One key test of how conservative the new Republican caucuses are is the leadership elections held two days after the election. The new Senate majority leader will be Arlan Meekhof, who is more conservative than previous leader Randy Richardville. The new Speaker of the House will be Kevin Cotter, the more conservative of the two candidates, who opposed Medicaid expansion and Common Core. This victory was made possible thanks to conservatives winning key primaries.

Of course, we can’t rest easy. The legislature may still try to raise gas taxes or discriminate against Christian businesses. Candidates who ran as conservatives may be tempted to ‘grow in office’ or compromise for the sake of political expediency. We will do our best to hold them accountable if they do.

Thanks to everyone who supported the Madison Project Michigan! We hope that you will support our efforts again in 2016.

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Michigan 2014 Election Results

Governor: 51-47 for Rick Snyder. Much closer than his blowout in 2010, but good enough for a second term.

Senate: 41-55 for Gary Peters. Peters ran a good campaign. Land was a disaster. Maybe someday the Michigan GOP will find a good Senate candidate.

AG: 52-44 for Bill Schuette. Schuette for Governor in 2018!

SOS: 54-43 for Ruth Johnson over a token opponent. Perhaps Ruth will challenge Stabenow in 2018.
The two referenda on wolf hunting both failed, 55-45 and 64-36. Only the opponents of wolf hunting spent money here.

Supreme Court was 32-29-21-14 for Zahra (R,I) and Bernstein (D), who spent 2 million of his own money to win this seat. David Viviano won the partial term 62-29.

Education Boards. Republicans appear to have picked a seat on the MSU board with Melanie Foster, but lost all the other ed board seats. This is very disappointing considering the circumstances. Third party candidates probably cost us several seats here.

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Lorence Wenke: Not Libertarian

Back in May, Lorence Wenke switched from Republican to Libertarian.  He claims that this move was based in principle, not political convenience.  So how well do his views line up with libertarianism?

Citing GOP opposition to gay rights, state Senate candidate Lorence Wenke leaves Republican Party
State Senate hopeful Lorence Wenke says he plans to help build Libertarian Party
Libertarian Lorence Wenke talks split from GOP, minimum wage during Kalamazoo Gazette Editorial Board interview
Election 2014: Libertarian Party looks to make waves in Kalamazoo County after long dormancy

Wenke said he would support expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections for LGBT citizens, adding that if no one else introduced the bill, he would do so.

Anti-discrimination laws violate freedom of association, and there is a long libertarian tradition opposing them.

How about the basic free market position of opposing the minimum wage?

Wenke, the owner of Wenke Greenhouses in Comstock Township, said he would have voted yes on the minimum wage increase.

He said the increase will have a significant impact on the payroll businesses, but added that he believes the working poor of the community deserve the raise.

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Michigan State House Races

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

All 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives will be up for election in November. Republicans currently hold a 59-51 majority, following a 63-47 majority after 2010. There are 40 open seats, 21 held by Republicans and 19 held by democrats.  There are 30 open due to term-limits and 10 just seeking another office.

Republicans gained one new seat (73) and one existing seat (39) due to redistricting, but also lost one existing seat (55) in 2012.  They also lost five incumbents (52, 71, 84, 91, 110), not counting party-switcher Roy Schmidt (76).  They could have won several more seats with a more effective redistricting plan.

Democrats want to take back the state house, but face a difficult playing field.  Of the Republican-held open seats, only 56 and 61 are competitive.  They will try to defeat some Republican incumbents, but it is not clear how they will beat incumbents this year that they couldn’t defeat in 2012.

Meanwhile, Republicans will seek to gain seats.  The best opportunity is the open 84, which was lost due to scandal in 2012.  There are two lean dem open seats (21, 62) that may be competitive.  Republicans will also try to defeat several incumbents who picked up seats in 2012 (25, 71, 91).

State house fundraising is analyzed in the following articles.

Michigan State House Fundraising

Michigan Post-primary Fundraising Reports

Michigan Pre-general Fundraising Reports

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Michigan Pre-General Fundraising Reports

The deadline for pre-general campaign finance reports for the Michigan state legislature was October 24.  The following details the total amount raised in competitive general elections, and cash on hand (COH) in competitive general elections.  Ratings for the races are included.

Governor (Lean R)
R: Rick Snyder 12.5M (1.8M COH)
D: Mark Schauer (1.4M COH)

Lieutenant Governor:
R: Brian Calley 401K (30K COH)
D: Lisa Brown waiver

Attorney General (Lean R)
R: Bill Schuette 3.7M (1.1M COH)
D: Mark Totten 671K (105K COH)

Secretary of State (Likely R)
R: Ruth Johnson 895K (44K COH)
D: Godfrey Dillard  121K (50K COH)

Supreme Court (Likely R/Lean D)
R: Brian Zahra 909K (306K COH)
R: James Robert Redford  393K (153K COH)
D: Richard Bernstein 2.1M (885K COH)
D: William Murphy  246K (124K COH)

Supreme Court (partial term) Safe R
R: David Viviano 855K (296K COH)
D: Deborah Thomas  121K (50K COH)

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Michigan Post-primary Fundraising Reports

The deadline for post-primary campaign finance reports for the Michigan state legislature was September 4.  The following details the total amount raised in competitive general elections, and cash on hand (COH) in competitive general elections.  Ratings for the races are included.

Governor (Lean R)
R: Rick Snyder 10M (2.8M COH)
D: Mark Schauer (2.5M COH)

Lieutenant Governor:
R: Brian Calley 371K (78K COH)
D: Lisa Brown waiver

Attorney General (Lean R)
R: Bill Schuette 3.0M (1.9M COH)
D: Mark Totten 258K (146K COH)

Secretary of State (Likely R)
R: Ruth Johnson 723K (252K COH)
D: Godfrey Dillard  no report yet

State senate:

7. Lean R
R: Pat Colbeck 184K (28K COH)
D: Dian Slavens 172K (157K COH)

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Lessons from the Primary Election

They don’t call it the establishment for nothing  Establishment candidates won many races.  They have the inside track on fundraising, endorsements, and organization.  Notably, several winning conservatives, including Lana Theis, Jim Runestad, Jason Sheppard, and Triston Cole had substantial establishment support.

Be the establishment  One answer to this is to become the establishment.  Lana Theis and Triston Cole are both former county party chairs.  It takes time to build political connections, but it pays off eventually.

Experience counts  Elected experience is valuable for winning candidates.  Lana Theis, Jim Runestad, Jason Sheppard, and Gary Glenn have all been elected to local office.

If at first you don’t succeed  Tom Barrett, Todd Courser, and Triston Cole have all lost elections before, but gained valuable experience in the process.  This time, they won their primaries.  Candidates who lost this time should look for opportunities to run again in the future.

Build a brand  Lana Theis, Gary Glenn, Cindy Gamrat, and Todd Courser are known across Michigan for advocating conservative causes.  This provides a larger fundraising base to tap when you run for office.

Don’t Ignore Social Issues  In recent years, conservatives have shifted much more emphasis to fiscal issues.  While these issues are vitally important, conservative candidates should not ignore social issues.  Notably, three conservative victors, Todd Courser, Gary Glenn, and Lee Chatfield, are all known as strong defenders of traditional marriage.

Don’t split the vote  In several districts (45, 47, 58, 73, 104), several conservative candidates split the vote and allowed a more moderate candidate to win.  Conservatives who care more about the cause than themselves should meet and agree on one candidate to support.

Money doesn’t buy elections  Self-funding candidates have a bad electoral track record.  Notably, Paul Mitchell and Brian Ellis, who both spent millions of their own money trying to get elected to Congress, lost handily.  Self-funder David Trott did win, but that had more to do with Kerry Bentivolio’s weak campaign.

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2014 Primary Election Results

Prop 1 (tax changes) wins easily 69-31.

Congress:
1. Benishek wins 70-30.  Alan Arcand needs to fire his pollster.
3. Amash wins 57-43.  Probably not enough to scare away future primary challengers.
4. Moolenaar wins 52-36-11.  Never underestimate the Midland establishment.  I rated this a tossup when Mitchell led by 23.
6. Bussler gets 29% against Upton, confirming my suspicion that about 30% is the anti-Upton baseline in the GOP primary.
8. Bishop wins 60-40. No shock.  Schertzing survives a scare 43-38 in the dem primary.
11. David Trott wins 66-34 after Bentivolio ran a terrible campaign.  McKenzie barely wins dem primary 34-32.  Safe R.
13. Conyers wins 75-25.  Being on the ballot helps.
14. Brenda Lawrence wins 36-32-31 over Hobbs and Clarke.

Michigan State Senate:
2 (D) Johnson wins easily 63-22.
4 (D) Smith holds off Tlaib 52-41 after the race was initially miscalled.
5 (D) Knezek (white dem) leads Jackson (pro-life) 29-25.
11 (D) Gregory wins by 117 votes, 35-34-31.
13 (R) Knollenberg wins by 72 votes over Rocky and Moss 36-36-20. Good.
13 (D) Ryan Fishman raised 211K and lost 55-45 to Cyndi Peltonen, who raised 7K.  Hahahaha!  Move to Safe R.
15 (R) Mike Kowall holds off Matt Maddock by a relatively narrow 50-43.
20 (R) Margaret O’Brien wins 77-23.
28 (R) MacGregor beats Green 68-32.
31 (R) Mike Green beats Kevin Daley 49-46.
32 (D) Oakes beats Lewis 62-38.
34 (R) Hansen beats Sundquist 62-38.
37 (R) Schmidt beats MacMaster 55-45.  Boo.  MacMaster only won Cheboygan County.

Michigan State House:
1 (D) Felon Brian Banks wins 43-36.
19 (R) Laura Cox wins easily 73-27.
36 (R) Lucido beats Grot 51-49.  UAW wins.
38 (R) Crawford beats Lauffer 59-41.
39 (R) Kesto holds off O’Hagan 55-39.
42 (R) Lana Theis beats Rich Perlberg 50-26.  Good.
43 (R) Tedder beats Schroeder and Aliaga 31-29-22.
44 (R) Runestad wins 36-33.  Good.
45 (R) Webber beats Avery 46-43.
46 (R) Jacobsen holds off Mark Reilly 56-44.
47 (R) Vaupel beats Day 42-37.
56 (R) Sheppard beats Kubiske 67-33.  Good.
58 (R) Eric Leutheuser win with 34%.
59 (R) Aaron Miller wins with 38%.  Complete shock.  Miller is a 27-year-old teacher and distant friend of mine.
60 (D) Jon Hoadley beats David Buskirk 59-27.  Gay beats union.
61 (R) Iden beats Stinchcomb 55-45.
62 (R) Bizon beats Kale 55-45. (D) Helmboldt wins with 39%.
63 (R) Maturen beats Potter 53-47.
65 (R) Roberts wins with 26%.
73 (R) Afendoulis wins with 36%.
76 (R) DeJonge beats Allard 44-37.
79 (R) Pscholka holds off Duran 66-34.
80 (R) Cindy Gamrat wins 42-29-25 with most in.  Good.
82 (R) Todd Courser beats Jan Peabody 37-33.
84 (R) Canfield wins with 31%.
86 (R) Lyons holds off Rigas 71-29.
90 (R) Garcia beats Haveman 50-30.
95 (D) Guerra beats Braddock 58-42.
98 (R) Gary Glenn beats Karl Ieuter 51-49.
104 (R) Larry Inman wins with 21%.
105 (R) Triston Cole romps 63-29.  Good.
107 (R) Lee Chatfield beats incumbent Frank Foster 54-46.  Big win for conservatives.

Wayne County Executive:
Warren Evans wins with 46%. William Wild second with 24%. Incumbent Robert Ficano finished fifth with only 6%.

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