Monthly Archives: April 2022

So Who Will Survive Petitiongate? (Guest: Jonathan Oosting)



The race to be the Republican nominee for Michigan Governor became the latest black eye for the Michigan GOP as petitions from at least 3 of the candidates may have fraudulent signatures. That could mean Perry Johnson, James Craig and/or Tudor Dixon don’t even show up on the primary ballot. Craig has even more problems as northern Michigan Congressman Jack Bergman switches his endorsement from Craig to Johnson, and the former Detroit police chief reports lackluster fundraising.

Adding to the drama of the week: a state party convention described by multiple Republicans as a “shit show” as delegates endorsed Trump-back Big Lie believers for Attorney General and Secretary of State. John Truscott, who served as communications director for former Republican Gov. John Engler, tweeted
On top of that, would-be state House Speaker Matt Maddock was expelled from the House GOP caucus, and congressional candidate Tom Barrett dove head-first into the swamp by alleging support for sexual exploitation of children by his opponent. Helping us wade through the week’s GOP chaos is award-winning reporter Jonathan Oosting of Bridge Michigan. He has a master’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University and has previously worked for The Detroit News and MLive Media Group. He is Grand Rapids native and lives in Lansing with his wife and new daughter Mara (who makes a cameo appearance!).

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This week’s podcast is sponsored by EPIC • MRA, the state’s top-rated public opinion research service.

EPIC ▪ MRA is a full service survey research firm with expertise in:

  • Public Opinion Surveys – Market Research Studies

  • Live Telephone Surveys, On-Line and Automated Surveys

  • Focus Group Research

  • Bond Proposals – Millage Campaigns

  • Political Campaigns & Consulting

  • Ballot Proposals – Issue Advocacy Research

  • Community – Media Relations

  • Issue – Image Management

  • Database Development & List Management


And then there were 10… (Guest: Buzz Thomas)



The Republican culture wars was on full, ugly display in Michigan this week…and denounced by one of its targets. State Senator Mallory McMorrow’s floor speech responding to Senator Lana Theis’ fundraising email insinuation that McMorrow was “grooming” children for a life of sexual exploitation went viral with 10-million views and national media attention.
 
Also this week: 10 Republicans filed signatures for a place on the gubernatorial primary ballot. Who benefits most from a crowded field? 
 
Joining the conversation this week is veteran communications consultant and former state legislator Buzz Thomas of Detroit. He is the founder and CEO of Thomas Group Consulting. Thomas spent 14 years in the Michigan legislature – the maximum allowed under term limits – including serving as Democratic Floor Leader in the Senate and as Democratic Leader in the House. He was co-chairman of the 2008 Michigan Presidential campaign of Barack Obama.
 

In 2013 he founded and co-chaired Turnaround Detroit, the Super PAC credited with electing Mike Duggan Detroit’s mayor. While serving, his expertise in the areas of healthcare, education reform, business development incentives and arts and culture, a personal passion led to the creation of rigorous academic standards for Michigan schools and creation of tax incentive laws that helped spur development in Detroit.

His success in the legislature led to more than two-dozen leadership awards, ranging from being named the legislator of the year by the Michigan Association of Regions to earning the Peacemaker Award from Wayne State University.


Flipping West Michigan (Guest: Hillary Scholten)



Multiple Republican county conventions devolved into chaos as Trump backers faced off with the party’s onetime establishment. Mark and Jeff analyze the fallout from the growing divide in the party and its implications for this fall. Also in our “legitimate political discourse”: the Planned Parenthood lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Michigan’s abortion ban; and the police killing of an unarmed African American in Grand Rapids. Both have significant political implications.

Joining the conversation this week is one of the national Democratic Party’s strongest hopes for “flipping” a congressional district, immigration attorney Hillary Scholten. She’s running in the newly drawn district centered in Grand Rapids where incumbent Republican Peter Meijer faces a Trump-supported primary opponent for the sin of voting in favor of impeaching Trump for instigating the January 6 insurrection. 

Scholten is an attorney with the Miller Johnson law firm in Grand Rapids. She is expert in immigration law, having served as Staff Attorney for the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, Judicial Law Clerk & Attorney Advisor for the U.S. Department of Justice Board of Immigration, and Immigration Staff Attorney for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

This week’s podcast is sponsored by EPIC/MRA, the state’s top-rated public opinion research service.
EPIC ▪ MRA is a full service survey research firm with expertise in:

  • Public Opinion Surveys – Market Research Studies

  • Live Telephone Surveys, On-Line and Automated Surveys

  • Focus Group Research

  • Bond Proposals – Millage Campaigns

  • Political Campaigns & Consulting

  • Ballot Proposals – Issue Advocacy Research

  • Community – Media Relations

  • Issue – Image Management

  • Database Development & List Management


Taxes, Scandals and Campaigns (Guest: Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr.)



Trump gives a Castro-esque nearly two-hour speech in Macomb County, promoting his Big Lie believing candidates for Michigan Secretary of State and Attorney General … much to the consternation of non-Trumpist Republicans.

A tale of two campaigns: Congressman Fred Upton decides he’s had enough, and would-be Attorney General Tom Leonard is pushed to the exits by his party’s chairperson.

Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr.

Joining Mark and Jeff this week for a wide-ranging conversation is state Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing).

Sen. Hertel came to the Senate after more than a decade of service in local government as an Ingham County Commissioner and later the county’s Register of Deeds. As a county commissioner he successfully led the charge for creating the Ingham Health Plan, a low-cost program to provide uninsured residents with basic heathcare. As Register of Deeds Hertel pioneered a program to protect homeowners against having their homes stolen by identity thieves and foreclosure scams.
In the state Senate he is minority vice chair of the Appropriations Committee.

Speaker Curtis Hertel, Sr.

Sen. Hertel’s family has a long history of public service. He is the son of former state House co-Speaker Curtis Hertel. His uncles, Dennis and John Hertel, both served in the state Legislature with Dennis serving 12 years in Congress. His younger brother, Kevin, was elected to the State House of Representatives in 2016 and is currently running for the state Senate in Macomb County. In addition, his wife Elizabeth serves as director of the state‘’s Department of Health and Human Services.

This week’s podcast is sponsored by EPIC/MRA, the state’s top-rated public opinion research service.

EPIC ▪ MRA is a full service survey research firm with expertise in:

  • Public Opinion Surveys – Market Research Studies

  • Live Telephone Surveys, On-Line and Automated Surveys

  • Focus Group Research

  • Bond Proposals – Millage Campaigns

  • Political Campaigns & Consulting

  • Ballot Proposals – Issue Advocacy Research

  • Community – Media Relations

  • Issue – Image Management

  • Database Development & List Management