Posts Tagged ‘Elections’

Michigan Proposals 1 and 2 for 2014: An Analysis of the Wolf Hunting Refrenda

October 30, 2014

To fully understand Prosposal 14-1 and Proposal 14-2 that will be on the ballot here in Michigan one must go back to 2012 to understand the big picture.  In 2012, the Michigan Legislature passed Senate Bill 1350, which Governor Snyder signed, making it Public Act 520 of 2012.  The act added wolves to the definition of “game” animals; declared that wolf hunting was necessary to manage the growing population of wolves in order to protect humans, livestock, and pets; authorized a hunting season for wolves; established a licensing scheme; and established the Wolf Management Advisory Council.  Some citizens were opposed to the idea of wolf hunting, so they formed Keep Michigan Wolves Protected and filed a petition, with sufficient signatures, to have a referendum on Public Act 520.  Thus, it is this law that is on the ballot as Proposal 14-1.

(At this point, it is helpful to lay out the difference between an initiative, a referendum, and a proposal: An initiative is a citizen-initiated piece of legislation that goes before the Legislature if enough signatures are gathered; if the Legislature passes it, the legislation becomes law; if the Legislature does not pass it, it goes before the people for a vote.  A referendum is a citizen-initiated protest to a law passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor; those who want the law to stay vote “Yes”, while those opposed to the law vote “No”.  Once a referendum is certified, the law in question is suspended, pending the outcome of the election.  Thus, in an initiative, those filing the petition would vote “Yes”, while in a referendum, those filing the petition would vote “No”.  A proposal is anything that goes before the people for a vote, including referenda, initiatives, constitutional amendments, etc.)

I have no issue with voting “Yes” on Proposal 1, and unless you are opposed to the hunting of wolves, you likely will not either.  But Proposal 2 is where it gets a bit trickier.  After Keep Michigan Wolves Protected got Public Act 520 on the ballot as a referendum, the Legislature decided to pass another law, in case the referendum was successful; thus, Senate Bill 288 was passed, and Governor Snyder signed it, making it Public Act 21 of 2013.  The act continued the designation of the wolf as a “game” animal (since the bill was passed before the Public Act 520 referendum was certified, Public Act 520 had not yet been suspended, but if Proposal 1 were to pass, then the wolf would no longer be designated as a game animal); granted the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) the power to designate animals as game animals, with some restrictions (however, it also stipulated that only the Legislature has the power to remove animals from the list of game animals); granted the NRC the ability to establish the first open season for any animal that it adds to the list of game animals; granted the eliminated the fee for hunting licenses for military personnel; and granted the NRC sole authority to regulate fishing.  Again, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected filed a petition, with sufficient signatures, to have a referendum on Public Act 21, so it is now on the ballot as Proposal 14-2.

Personally, I am not a fan of Public Act 21; I do not like the added authority that the Legislature gave to the NRC, and I do not feel that it is wise to allow the agency to have the power to designate animals as game animals and establish a hunting season for such animals without any legislative input.  I also question the wisdom of granting the NRC exclusive authority to regulate fishing.  If the story had ended here, I likely would’ve voted Yes on Proposal 1 and No on Proposal 2, but what happened next made the whole situation much more interesting.

A group of citizens in favor of hunting wolves, under the name Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, successfully filed an initiative petition.  The proposal continued the designation of the wolf as a game animal; continued the grant to the NRC to designate animals as game animals and establish a first open season; continued the stipulation that the Legislature has the sole power to remove animals from the list of game animals; and appropriated $1,000,000 to the Department of Natural Resources to fight the invasion of Asian Carp.  The proposal also had a section that stipulated that if language from Public Act 520 or 21 was removed due to failure of either referenda, that language was reinstated by the initiative.  The Legislature adopted the initiative, meaning that it became law (Public Act 281 of 2014) without having to be signed by Governor Snyder.  So what makes the initiative so special?

The appropriation of money to the DNR means that, pursuant to Article 2, § 9 of the Michigan Constitution, the law cannot be subjected to a referendum petition.  (This specific issue was addressed in Michigan United Conservation Clubs v. Secretary of State, 464 Mich. 359 (2001), where the Michigan Supreme Court interpreted that any appropriation is an “appropriation” under this provision of the Constitution, which I agree with, even though the result is that the Legislature can make a law referendum-proof.)  In drafting the initiative, the drafters knew that adding the appropriation would make it referendum-proof, and in approving the initiative, the legislators knew that even though they had previously passed two bills to allow wolf hunting with pushback from voters, by passing this initiative, they would be making the act referendum-proof.  The inclusion of the appropriation was not simply a coincidence; the drafters, and the Legislature, knew what they were doing.  They knew that this was a hot-button issue that some (perhaps even many) voters opposed, yet they went forward and passed it in a way that would not allow a referendum on the issue.

I have no problem with the Legislature passing Public Act 21 after the petition for Public Act 520 was filed; if it wants to do so, that’s fine with me.  But what I do have a problem with is the Legislature passing an initiative with an appropriation provision in it solely to make that law referendum-proof.  To do so is disingenuous and out-of-line with the intent of the appropriations process.

So that gets us to where we are today: Proposal 1 and 2 are on the ballot, but even if the No voters win on both proposals, the result is still ultimately the same as if Yes were to win.  (It should be noted that a court could potentially overturn the initiative, but I see no legal grounds for that to happen, and I think the chances of that happening are next to none.  The voters could also push for a new initiative that would undo the last initiative, but that seems unlikely to be successful.)  But voting No on the proposals can still send a message.  Those opposed to wolf hunting overall should vote No on both, but those who respect the referendum process, regardless of their feelings on wolf hunting, should vote No on Proposal 2.

There has been a lot of confusion and dishonesty surrounding the proposals.  Contrary to what some Yes supporters say, these proposals have nothing to do with allowing hunters or citizens to kill nuisance wolves; nuisance wolves can already be killed under existing law.  Farmers can still kill wolves that threten their livestock (although allowing them to be hunted would decrease the wolf population and chance that their livestock would be threatened overall).  Those who say otherwise are not being honest.

So why do the proposals even matter?  Again, it is about making a statement that the Legislature should not abuse its appropriation power to remove the power of a referendum from the people.  Regardless of your feelings on wolf hunting, all Michiganders should support the ability of those opposed to wolf hunting to hold a referendum on legislation that allows for wolf hunting; furthermore, voting No on Proposal 2, because of the passage of Public Act 281, will not have any adverse effect on the existence of wolf hunting in Michigan.  For those reasons, I urge a No vote on at least Proposal 2.

For more information about voting in Tuesday’s election, please see below.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

MIGOP 1st District Vice-Chair Calls for “Purging” Gays from the GOP

April 1, 2013

Yesterday, a shockingly extreme blog post written by Michigan Republican’s 1st District Vice-Chair Mary Sears was posted on the Schoolcraft County Republican Party’s website by the site’s administrators.  The post is titled, “End Of The GOP?”, and its premise is, “For too long the GOP has misinterpreted the big tent idea of Ronald Regan [sic].”

UPDATE: Since yesterday, the site administrators have placed the following disclaimer: “The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. While every caution has been taken to provide our readers with most accurate information and honest analysis, please use your discretion before taking any decisions based on the information in this blog.”

Toward the end of the post, Sears writes, “How then can we as Christians stay in a party that adopts Homosexuality [sic] into the fabric of the tent. I say we cannot. Homosexuals make up less than one percent of the total population. They must prey on our children to increase their numbers. Why then, would we, as a party, entertain this perversion? We as a party should be purging this perversion and send them to a party with a much bigger tent. When we lose track of foundational principles we lose the very essence of our party. By throwing God under the bus we become nothing more than the poor Democrats who have lost their way and by doing so have lost their party.”

Let’s focus in on that middle sentence… “We as a party should be purging this perversion and send them to a party with a much bigger tent.”  We as a party should be purging homosexuals and sending them to the Democratic Party?  Does that strike anyone else as wrong?

Now let’s take a look at the Republican Party platform… you know, the one that was adopted by the Republican National Committee last year and represents what Republicans nationwide believe: “We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.”  And what was it that Ronald Reagan said?  Something like, “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally, not a 20 percent traitor.”

Clearly Sears’ idea of purging gays from the party fits neither with Reagan’s ideology, nor the GOP’s platform.  And that’s fine if it’s her personal opinion, but this woman represents the 1st District Republican Committee.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the Schoolcraft County GOP administrators posted that post on their blog–with no disclaimer of any kind.  A county GOP committee endorsing district executive board member advocating the idea of purging people from the party based on one issue?  That seems extreme, to put it lightly.

It also seems counterproductive to one of the stated purposes of the County Committee in its bylaws, which is to “benefit the general welfare of the Republicans of Schoolcraft County”.  In 2010, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals accounted for 3% of the vote, and 29% identified as supporting Republican Congressmen.  In 2012, they accounted for 5% of the vote, and 22% identified as voting for Romney.  The County Committee’s goal is to benefit the party, yet they support “purging” a group of voters So we should purge a group that adds 1% of the vote to the GOP column?  And while 1% doesn’t sound like a lot, why would you willingly ostracize a group of people who are trying to help you?

It is one thing to defend traditional marriage–something that remains a part of the party’s platform.  It is an entirely different thing to call for “purging” gays from the party because they are a “perversion” in the minds of some.  Ms. Sears seems to have ignored the party platform clause that calls for “respect and dignity.”  Traditional values can be defended in a respectful and dignified way.

We as a party cannot afford to lose any voters, and I welcome any gay, lesbian, or bisexual voter who agrees with even 51% of the party platform (for that matter, I welcome anyone who is willing to vote for Republicans more often than Democrats).  And to any gays, lesbians, or bisexuals reading this, let me tell you that Ms. Sears and the Schoolcraft County GOP do does not speak for the Republican Party that I believe in and defend.  And that is why I believe it is so important to write what I am writing today.  The members of the GOP who are embarrassed and offended by the hatred coming from some in our party need to stand up for what is right and defend what is actually in the party platform–respect and dignity.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

UPDATE: When I wrote my original post, the SCRP’s blog had the header, “Published March 31, 2013 | By SCRP“. Since then, I have talked to the chairman of the SCRP who has informed me that while the post was posted by “SCRP” (they should probably create a “Guest” account to post unofficial blog posts), they post opinion pieces from many people, and blog posts do not represent the SCRP.  I have since edited this post by striking out anything that has been revealed to be inaccurate.  I still think the original post should have been taken down by the SCRP, as it blatantly violates the party platform, but the SCRP has put a disclaimer up and posted a copy of this blog post.

Michigan Proposal 1 of 2012: The Emergency Manager Law

October 25, 2012

Back in 2008, I went through and analyzed each of the proposals, so I figured I would do that again.  And there’s no better place to start than Proposal 1.

To start off, here is the actual ballot language:

PROPOSAL 12-1

A REFERENDUM ON PUBLIC ACT 4 OF 2011 –

THE EMERGENCY MANAGER LAW

Public Act 4 of 2011 would:

  • Establish criteria to assess the financial condition of local government units, including school districts.
  • Authorize Governor to appoint an emergency manager (EM) upon state finding of a financial emergency, and allow the EM to act in place of local government officials.
  • Require EM to develop financial and operating plans, which may include modification or termination of contracts, reorganization of government, and determination of expenditures, services, and use of assets until the emergency is resolved.
  • Alternatively, authorize state-appointed review team to enter into a local government approved consent decree.
  • Should this law be approved?

YES ____

NO ____

Now, in 2008, I analyzed the whole text of the amendment, but since this is a referendum on an already-passed bill, I’m going to skip that, and go straight to my analysis.  A copy of the full text can be found here.

Emergency managers are not new to the state.  This is actually a bill that amends Public Act 72 of 1990.

There were two major criticisms of the original law:

  1. Emergency financial managers were put in when it was too late.
  2. Once they were put in, they could do too little.

So, the Legislature tried to remedy this.  They added more triggers for when an emergency could be declared, and they gave the managers more powers.

Two of the powers the managers were given were especially controversial: the ability to remove elected officials from the municipality, and the ability to change or void collective bargaining agreements that the municipality had entered into.

Unions especially hated the latter provision, and they characterized it as a means of union busting.  But ultimately, it was a necessary provision, because time and time again, in struggling school districts and municipalities, unions have refused to give concessions, even when keeping their current contracts means the municipality will go bankrupt (and then, ironically, they would not get paid at all).  It was the stubbornness of the unions that made the provision necessary.

The second criticism was that it removed citizens democratic rights to elect their municipality leaders.  Ultimately, this is not a Constitutional right guaranteed to the people of Michigan.  The ability to hold municipal elections is not a Constitutional provision, and the state can take this privilege away if it so chooses.

My criticism was unlike these two and had to do with the expansion of when an “emergency” took place.  It included a clause that essentially said that an emergency could be defined as when the state executive branch says it’s occurring, and I viewed this as an overstep by the executive branch (although it did have weak limited checks and balances).

So that was my reason for initially thinking I would vote, “No”.  But as I thought about it more, I realized that my opposition was the minority opposition, and if it failed, it would fail because of provisions that I thought were good.  And if the law failed, it probably wouldn’t be introduced again.  Ultimately, there is more good in the law than bad, and I believe that the Legislature can (and should) fix the law if it passes the referendum.  The problems in the law should be fixed in the Legislature, not at the ballot box, and that is why I am supporting Proposal 1.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Michigan Primary Prediction and Statistical Analysis

February 28, 2012

It’s been a while since I updated this, but I figured this would be fun.  I made my primary prediction for Michigan late last night and here’s the breakdown I went with:

Santorum – 40%
Romney – 39%
Paul – 11%
Gingrich – 9%
Others – 1%

Then today, I decided to look at the recent polls for Michigan.  The first poll I went with was starting on February 12, since anything before this wouldn’t factor in Santorum’s triple win in Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota.  I made a scatter plot of Santorum – Romney:

I then added 2 trendlines. The first one (red) was a linear trendline which I knew wouldn’t be reflective of Santorum’s momentum recently. I plotted the second (green) second order polynomial trendline, which did a decent job at predicting his momentum, but I noticed that the relatively low lead he had right after his triple win was skewing the results a bit lower.  Those polls are so old that they don’t correctly account for what’s going on now with just a simple second order polynomial.  So I put in the third (purple) trendline, which was a third order polynomial.  This correctly factored in his slow start to gain momentum, but looks like it drastically overestimates it at the end.

So I thought, how can I better examine Santorum’s momentum.  I took out the polls right after Santorum’s triple-win, which I thought weren’t representative of the momentum he gained, then lost, and regained, and got this plot, with the red representing a linear trendline, and the green representing a second order polynomial:

This plot matched up almost perfectly with my predictions (which I wasn’t expecting it to turn out just like that), but I think accurately portrays the general momentum Santorum has had since his triple win.

Ultimately, gauging the momentum a candidate has is hard to do, but I think the second order polynomial in the second graph accurately portrays Santorum’s momentum.  Ultimately, both of these models could end up being wrong, and there’s no perfect algorithm to predict voters, but the results of my second model, I believe, accurately portray Santorum’s momentum, and cement my confidence that Santorum will have a close victory over Mitt Romney.

Done Predicting,

Ranting Republican

2011 Michigan Redistricting: Gerrymanderliscious

June 22, 2011

Well, it’s been quite a while since my last post, but I figured this topic is important enough to warrant a return to the blogging world (even if it’s a brief return).  The Michigan Legislature recently released their maps for the 2011 redistricting.  For reference, here are links to the current boundaries:

Now, those were created by the 2001 Legislature, which was controlled by Republicans, and signed into law under Republican Governor John Engler.

They’re not bad, and look pretty good.  This year, it seems as if the Republican members of the Legislature have gotten a little more ambitious, and a little more creative.  So let’s take a look at what they’ve proposed.  Here are links to PDFs of all 3 maps, and I’ve copied the images below, where I’ll analyze them:

This first map is the proposed Congressional districts:

And here’s a zoomed in image of the Metro-Detroit area:

I’ll admit – I cringed when I saw the 14th district, and the 11th district isn’t exactly pretty either.  They’ve got some awkward separations, like putting Farmington Hills in the 14th, but keeping Farmington in the 11th; putting Bloomfield Hills in the 11th, while placing Bloomfield Township in the 9th; Southfield Township is placed in the 9th, while Southfield City ends up in the 14th; Clawson is split up; and Rochester Hills is split up.

In an attempt to squeeze Democratic Congressmen Sander Levin and Gary Peters into the same district and force a primary between the two, saving the Republicans from losing a seat, the map has turned into something I like to call gerrymanderliscious.

But it gets even more creative as we move on to the Michigan Senate map:

And again, a zoomed in view of the Metro-Detroit area:

For the most part, this one isn’t too bad until you get to the Metro-Detroit area. District 1 is incredibly awkward, as is District 6. But the really weird ones are 14 and 25.  You can’t see it on my uploaded images, but if you view the original map at 100% zoom, you can see that Springfield Township and Waterford Township just barely overlap for the 14th to be contiguous.  As for the 25th district, I’m guessing they’ve just connected them along a strip of County Line Road, but I’m not positive.

So that brings us to the state House of Representatives:

And again, a zoomed in view of Metro-Detroit:

And a zoomed in view of Grand Rapids and the southwest corner of the state:

The House map isn’t too bad, other than more awkward county splits than I’m really comfortable with. The Grand Rapids area looks pretty decent, although 86 is a bit wacky. And Metro-Detroit looks pretty good with the exception of the 13th.

So, by far, my biggest complaints are with the Congressional map, but what was really sad was the Republicans claims that they had to draw the lines like that to abide by the Voting Rights Act, which mandates 2 majority minority districts for Michigan.  That’s just nonsense.  There are plenty of ways to draw the lines so that you have decent looking districts that obey the VRA.

Obviously Democrats Sander Levin and Gary Peters weren’t happy with the maps, but even Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is unhappy with the map, because as of the current proposal, Oakland County, the second most populous county in Michigan, would be represented by people who all live outside of the county.

Now, gerrymandering can be a lot of fun; I enjoyed playing around and making this little beauty for Maryland:

Photobucket

But when it comes to ACTUALLY redistricting, our legislature shouldn’t be drawing crap like this for partisan gain. Doing so takes the focus off of the good things the Republicans have done in Michigan and tells voters, “We know you voted for us in 2010, but we don’t trust you for the next 10 years, so we’re gonna cheat to win.”

Am I advocating that the legislature adopts a plan where we have 14 districts and each one is competitive at a 50-50 level?  Absolutely not; that’d be ridiculous.  The GOP won in a landslide in 2010, so it’s expected that the maps will favor us, but there’s no need to mangle the maps the way they’ve done.  That’s just petty politics, and when the people of Michigan see that, it gives them a bad image of the party.

New Jersey, Virginia Gubernatorial Predictions: Christie, McDonnell Win

November 2, 2009

It’s that time again – election time!  As always, I’ve been tracking the polls, and I’ve done my final predictions.  This year, there are only 2 gubernatorial races: New Jersey and Virginia.  In case you didn’t follow my predictions last year, you may find the color scheme on the maps to be a little bit weird – the colors are switched from what the normal media colors, so sorry about that, but that’s the way the website I use does it.  The maps are courtesy of Dave Leip’s U.S. Election Atlas, and my most current prediction can always be found here.  On to the predictions…

* = Party Pickup (Incumbent Loses Reelection); ^ = Party Pickup (Open Seat)

So here are my predictions, broken down by percentage:

New Jersey

  1. Chris Christie (R) – 46.35%
  2. Jon Corzine (D) – 45.47%
  3. Chris Dagget (I) – 8.18%

Virginia

  1. Bob McDonnell (R) – 57%
  2. Creigh Deeds (D) – 42%
  3. Other candidates – <1%

And here’s my confidence map:

Essentially – I could go either way on New Jersey.  The numbers I posted are the results of an algorithm I’ve developed, and tweaked from last year.  My heart is telling me that Corzine will probably pull out a win, but my mind and the numbers point toward Christie, I’m gonna stick with Christie.  There’s no doubt that McDonnell will win in Virginia.

I don’t see New Jersey called until late into the night tomorrow.  It should be an interesting night.

Done Predicting,

Ranting Republican

Michigan Legislature Needs to Get to Work on Permanent Budget

October 5, 2009

Last week, Michigan saw its second government shutdown in the state’s history.  In the history of this country, only two other states have had government shutdowns because of a budget crisis, and Michigan is the only state to have more than one shutdown.  What’s even more sad is that the 2 shutdowns came only 2 years apart.

I ended up watching most of the late-night sessions last week, as I followed the budget crisis, and while there were some humorous segments (such as “I can count!” coming from the chairman of the Senate), most of what I saw was just sad – it’s sad that the Michigan legislature can’t pass a budget on time.

So why does Michigan have problems passing a budget?  There has been a fundamental failure in leadership, as well as the overall impacts of having the state in such a poor economic state.

Michigan is essentially the same position as it was for the 2007 shutdown: a Democratic Governor with terrible economic policies, a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives with Andy Dillon (D-Redford) as Speaker of the House waiting until it is too late to work on the budget, and a Republican-controlled Senate who tried to get the budget done on time, but was unable to overcome the incompetency of the House.

In both the 2007 and 2009 shutdowns, work on the budget started too late, and many legislators (including Republicans) weren’t committed to finishing the budget on time.

While portions of the budget were being passed by the Senate late Tuesday night, the House had already recessed for the day.  We saw the same thing in 2007: Andy Dillon would go would only have the House in session once or twice a week over the summer, and he even took a five-day weekend trip to Mackinac Island after acknowledging that the state was facing a budget crisis.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) had been getting Senate budget bills passed and sent over to the House faster than House bills were coming to the Senate.

But this isn’t to say that all Republicans were trying to finish the budget on time or that all Democrats were uninterested in finishing on time.  While the Senate Republicans seemed to generally work harder as the deadline got closer, NOBODY was working hard enough in the month and weeks beforehand.  Instead of passing a budget 2 hours into the government shutdown, the legislature should be passing a budget weeks or even months beforehand.

Representative Tim Bledsoe (D-Grosse Pointe) has suggested that the Michigan Constitution be amended to require the budget be done by July 1st, and legislators wouldn’t get paid after that date until a budget was passed.  Bledsoe told the Detroit Free Press, “We’ve had every opportunity to get this work done earlier in the year.  There’s no excuse to be moving the budget as late as we did.”

Senator Hansen Clark (D-Detroit) has suggested fining legislators $1,000 a day for each day after the fiscal year that a budget isn’t completed, with the Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leaders paying $3,000.  He told reporters, “Even though many of us work long hours, we don’t have the same incentives as other sectors of the work force.  Typically, our incentive would be to do a good job so we can get re-elected, but apparently that’s not enough. … The leaders have to be accountable for results.  If you don’t perform the core mission of your job, and that’s to enact a balanced budget … there should be a penalty.”

Former Majority Leader Ken Sikkema (R) said that the problems run deeper than just legislators not cracking down in time: “The gap between revenue and spending is so large that there isn’t any structural issue that can compensate for it.  It’s a much deeper issue that legislators don’t want to deal with.  Michigan as a state can’t continue the level of spending it’s enjoyed for many years.  The economy has downsized underneath it.  Until you change the tax structure and the spending process, this kind of paralysis is likely to continue.  There is no process change that is going to make this a rational, timely, decision-making process.  Until there are fundamental changes, you can’t avoid this kind of chaos.”

And in part, I would agree with that.  The Democrats in the legislature have refused to accept that spending cuts are an inevitable result of the state’s deficit.  Taxes can only be raised so many times and only to a certain level, and when you’ve exhausted that option, you have to cut spending.  Michigan is not in a position to raise taxes.  Businesses won’t come to Michigan if we raise taxes, and we’ve even seen film companies come to Michigan now that we have a tax credit for film companies.  Raising taxes is only going to hurt the economy more and drive more people out of the state.

Fortunately, an interim budget was passed and signed by Governor Granholm only 2 hours into this year’s shutdown, but we aren’t in the clear yet.  The legislature gavels into session tomorrow, and a permanent budget still needs to be passed for the new fiscal year.  Unless legislators understand that spending cuts are not and option, but a necessity, and that they have to start cracking down and getting to work, we will wind up seeing a full government shutdown when the interim budget expires.

And we need to learn from our mistakes – this cannot happen in 2010.  It’s just unacceptable.  Fortunately, 2010 is an election year, and lawmakers will be trying to pass a budget on time so that they can get reelected, but unless things change, we will see ourselves back in this same position in 2011.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Terri Lynn Land Announces Bid for Michigan Governor

February 19, 2009

Well, it’s a move that we here in Michigan have been expecting for a while, but now it’s official.  I literally got the message just moments ago: Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land has filed for the Michigan Governor’s race.  Unfortunately, I don’t have time to post any commentary, as I’m headed out of town, but here’s the press release that I got:

LANSING – Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land announced today that she has filed paperwork forming a gubernatorial exploratory committee.

“I am excited to announce the formation of this committee,” she said.  “Our state is in dire need of strong leadership right now, and I am eager to join the discussion of how to get it back on track.”

As Secretary of State, Land has overseen numerous improvements to her department since taking office in 2003.  Increasing online services, modernizing branch offices and implementing comprehensive updates to the elections process are just a few of her accomplishments.

“Michigan residents have been forced to tighten their belts in these tough economic times but government should be setting the example of fiscal restraint.  As Secretary of State, we have demonstrated time and again that there are ways to reduce costs while still delivering outstanding customer services.  I will bring that fiscally conservative approach to all of state government.

“I was born and raised here, and I love this state,” she continued.  “Michigan has incredible resources – from our Great Lakes and abundant natural beauty to our world-class businesses and hardworking families.  This is a state worth fighting for and I am up to the challenge.  I look forward to building a strong team that is committed to finding creative solutions while focusing on the many assets we have as a state.”

Land was elected Secretary of State in 2002 and reelected in 2006.

# # #

Alright, so there you have it: Terri Lynn Land is in the running.  So far, the only other declared candidates are Attorney General Mike Cox (R) and Lt. Governor John Cherry (D).  I’m sure that will be changing in the coming weeks.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican

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Results for the Republican National Committee Election: Michael Steele Wins

January 30, 2009

Michael Steele has just won the race for Republican National Committee Chairman.

The votes were as follows:

Mike Duncan: 52 votes
Michael Steele: 46 votes
Katon Dawson: 28 votes
Saul Anuzis: 22 votes
Ken Blackwell: 20 votes

2nd round (numbers in parenthesis indicate: votes gained or lost from last round / votes gained or lost since first round):

Mike Duncan: 48 votes (-3/-3)
Michael Steele: 48 votes (+2/+2)
Katon Dawson: 29 votes (+1/+1)
Saul Anuzis: 24 votes (+2/+2)
Ken Blackwell: 19 votes (-1/-1)

3rd round:

Mike Duncan: 44 votes (-4/-8)
Michael Steele: 51 votes (+3/+5)
Katon Dawson: 34 votes (+5/+6)
Saul Anuzis: 24 votes (0/+2)
Ken Blackwell: 15 votes (-4/-5)

Mike Duncan dropped out.

4th round of voting:

Mike Duncan: (-44/-52)
Michael Steele: 60 votes (+9/+14)
Katon Dawson: 62 votes (+28/+34)
Saul Anuzis:  31 votes (+7/+9)
Ken Blackwell: 15 votes (0/-5)

Blackwell dropped out and endorsed Steele.

5th round of voting:

Mike Duncan: (-/-52)
Michael Steele: 79 votes (+19/+33)
Katon Dawson:  69 votes (+7/+41)
Saul Anuzis:  20 votes (-11/-2)
Ken Blackwell: (-15/-20)

Anuzis dropped out:

Mike Duncan: (-/-52)
Michael Steele: 91 votes (+12/+45)
Katon Dawson:  77 votes (+8/+49)
Saul Anuzis:  (-20/-22)
Ken Blackwell: (-/-20)

Congratulations to Michael Steele, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee!

Here’s a copy of the speech he gave right after he won:

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Live Results of the Republican National Committee Chairman Election

January 30, 2009

I am currently watching the election for Republican National Committee Chairman.  Currently, the RNC members are voting.

UPDATE (11:40 A.M. EST): They are now going up and depositing their ballots (just like “kindergarten graduation” according to the Co-Chair, Jo Ann Davidson, from Ohio).

UPDATE (11:44 A.M. EST): We’re a little over half-way through the ballots being cast.

UPDATE (11:49 A.M. EST): We’re now done with the voting.  The ballots are now being counted.

UPDATE (12:05 P.M. EST): They’re annnouncing the results.

UPDATE (12:09 P.M. EST): Here are the results of the first round of voting:

Mike Duncan: 52 votes
Michael Steele: 46 votes
Katon Dawson: 28 votes
Saul Anuzis: 22 votes
Ken Blackwell: 20 votes

With no candidates having reached 85 votes (a simple majority), another round of voting will occur.  The committee is in a 15 minute recess.

UPDATE (12:33 P.M. EST): Calling the roll again.

UPDATE (12:42 P.M. EST): I lied – they’re voting now.  Almost done casting the ballots.

UPDATE (12:45 P.M. EST): The ballots are now being counted.

UPDATE (12:59 P.M. EST): The following are the results for the second roud of balloting (numbers in parenthesis indicate: votes gained or lost from last round / votes gained or lost since first round):

Mike Duncan: 48 votes (-3/-3)
Michael Steele: 48 votes (+2/+2)
Katon Dawson: 29 votes (+1/+1)
Saul Anuzis: 24 votes (+2/+2)
Ken Blackwell: 19 votes (-1/-1)

UPDATE (1:12 P.M. EST): OK, I guess it’s some time for some analysis.  It’s pretty safe to say (in my opinion) that Duncan is done.  He had to rely on the first couple of rounds to get really close, and he didn’t.  He’ll have a huge drop-off over the next 2 rounds of balloting.  I really don’t know where his people will go, but I’m guessing that  it’ll probably go to Saul Anuzis and Katon Dawson.  Maybe a few will go to Blackwell, but I think people may not “waste” their votes on him since he’s at the bottom right now, but who knows.

UPDATE (1:31 P.M. EST): They just finished the third round of voting and are now counting up the ballots.

UPDATE (1:42 P.M. EST): third round of voting:

Mike Duncan: 44 votes (-4/-8)
Michael Steele: 51 votes (+3/+5)
Katon Dawson: 34 votes (+5/+6)
Saul Anuzis: 24 votes (0/+2)
Ken Blackwell: 15 votes (-1/-5)

Blackwell and Duncan are done.  I’m surprised that more people went for Steele here.  It looks like Anuzis is done, but Dawson could be in this depending on who drops out and when.

UPDATE (1:51 P.M. EST): OK, time for more discussion – I think Blackwell will drop by round 6 of balloting, and that should give Steele enough votes to push him over the edge.  I think Steele’s biggest competition now is Dawson, but I think Steele’s got it.

UPDATE (2:13 P.M. EST): A friend just passed on to me rumors that a deal may be in the works right now.

UPDATE (2:13 P.M. EST): Mike Duncan is speaking – about to drop?

UPDATE (2: 17 P.M. EST): Duncan just dropped out and is now thanking his campaign staff.

UPDATE (2:19 P.M. EST): There was a motion for a recess, but i was voted down by a voice vote.  Voting has now started.

UPDATE (2:22 P.M. EST): Apparently the co-chair had trouble actually getting a ballot from the teller or whoever was passing them out, so there was a little bit of a funny moment just now as she tried to get that.

UPDATE (2:24 P.M. EST): They’re now calling the roll and depositing the ballots in the box.

UPDATE (2:49 P.M. EST): 4th round of voting:

Mike Duncan: (-44/-52)
Michael Steele: 60 votes (+9/+14)
Katon Dawson: 62 votes (+28/+34)
Saul Anuzis: 31 votes (+7/+9)
Ken Blackwell: 15 votes (0/-5)

Wow – I really didn’t expect Dawson to get that many votes.  Steele may NOT have this in the bag yet.  I do expect Blackwell to drop soon, and that may push Steele over the top, but if Blackwell stays in, Dawson may get there first.

UPDATE (2:59 P.M. EST): Blackwell isn’t expected to stay in past the 5th round of balloting, so if he drops 1 round early, and all of his 15 go to Steele, Steele would have it.  If stays in for a while, I think Dawson may get it.

UPDATE (3:01 P.M. EST): Blackwell is about to speak.

UPDATE (3:03 P.M. EST): They found Ken Blackwell (he had been missing), and he IS in fact about to address the committee.

UPDATE (3:09 P.M. EST): “I cannot change … this electorate, nor would I want to.”  He’s talking about us being the party of Lincoln.  He’s talking about choosing the “path of conviction over the path of convenience.”  “I withdraw my name … and put my support fully behind … I believe that the next chairman must inspire hope … create opportunity and must have the leadership opportunity … to first pull us together and then pull Americans together. … Great nations don’t come from governments … but from people. … I put my full support behind Michael Steele.”

OH YEAH BABY!  CALLED IT!

Alright, the voting has now begun.

UPDATE (3:10 P.M. EST): The roll is now being called.

UPDATE (3:26 P.M. EST): Steele is on the phone.

UPDATE (3:35 P.M. EST): 5th round:

Mike Duncan: (-/-52)
Michael Steele: 79 votes (+19/+33)
Katon Dawson:  69 votes (+7/+41)
Saul Anuzis:  20 votes (-11/-2)
Ken Blackwell: (-15/-20

Saul is withdrawing, but no endorsement!  This is gonna get interesting.

UPDATE (3:40 P.M. EST): Alright, time for some analysis.  I honestly think this race is over.  Steele only needs 6 more votes, and Saul had 20 available, so as long as Steele gets 30% of Saul’s supporters, he wins.  I don’t see Dawson winning this one, although he has come a LOT farther than anybody thought, and he has been doing really good in gathering support from dropped candidates.  He’s received no endorsements so far, but he’s gained the most from the first ballot to the current ballot (the second number in the parentheses).  They should be coming back in 3 minutes, so hopefully we’ll have a chair by around 4:00.

UPDATE (3:45 P.M. EST): The Proxy Committee report has been approved and the seargent at arms is distributing the ballots.  This should be the last ballot.

UPDATE (3:47 P.M. EST): You have to figure that Keith Butler (MI) will go for Steele, so that means that Steele would only need 5 additional delegates after Butler.

UPDATE (3:49 P.M. EST): The roll is now being called.  We’re almost half-way through the roll call.

UPDATE (3:58 P.M. EST): The ballots are now being counted.

UPDATE (4:05 P.M. EST): Here are the results of the 6th and final balloting round:

Mike Duncan: (-/-52)
Michael Steele: 91 votes (+12/+45)
Katon Dawson:  77 votes (+8/+49)
Saul Anuzis:  (-20/-22)
Ken Blackwell: (-/-20)

Congratulations to Michael Steele, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee!

UPDATE (4:11 P.M. EST): Steele is now speaking.  He’s saying “it’s time for something different, and we’re going to bring it to them. … We’re going to bring this party … to every community. … To those of you who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over. … I want to thank all of you especially. … I never thought this day would come. … I would like to especially thank my friends in the territories … who will help grow this party in a way that we have never seen before. … To my friends in the Northeast: get ready baby, it’s time to turn it on. … We’re gonna win again in the Northeast.  We’re gonna continue to win in the South.  We’re gonna win in a new storm in the Midwest.  We’re gonna get to the West and lock it down there too. … I cannot do this by myself. … This is about empowering you. … We stand proud, as the conservative party of he United States, and we will work hard to make sure those values … that made us the party of Lincoln … are part of thoe issues. … So, my first official act, as your new chairman, is to end this speech right now, because we have a few more races to do. … God bless you.  God bless our party.  Thank you.”

UPDATE (12:46 A.M. EST 2-1/09): Here’s a video of Michael Steele’s acceptance speech.  It’s a great speech, so take the time to watch it:

And with that, I’m done with my coverage – I have to go drop off a lab report for my physics class!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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