(Source: MIRS.news, Published 12/02/2022) Former Attorney General nominee Matt DePerno and former Secretary of State nominee Kristina Karamo were among the Republicans to meet the first deadline for state party chair candidates when they submitted at least four signatures from the 13 GOP congressional district chairs by 5 p.m. today.
Other big-named potential candidates – such as former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, congressional candidate Lena Epstein and gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon -- did not file, yet, but they could still get in with the signatures of 8 of the 13 district chairs by a later deadline, according to a source.
The other three candidates, at this point, are:
- "Cool" Mike Firage, the president of the Grand Rapids Taxpayers Association, who led a successful effort to create term limits for the Grand Rapids City Commission. He's also run for several local offices in the Grand Rapids area.
- JD Glaser, an IT specialist who worked with the Kalamazoo Electoral Action Team to strengthen election integrity and election law enforcement.
- Kent Boersema, a Ravenna Village Trustee who once was the clerk in Sand Lake. He's a private security guard who once interned for former Sen. Dave Hildenbrand.
Three other people, including Epstein, have pulled papers for chair. As any as 10 have expressed interest.
Political pundit Bill Ballenger surveyed the crowded field and concluded, "It's a party in quasi disarray with different factions warring with each other. This is unprecedented to have this many candidates, [many of whom] are going to drop by the wayside."
The former state lawmaker and U.S. Senate candidate reflected that what the party needs is "somebody who can unite all the factions" by threading a needle that binds together the Donald TRUMP wing of the party and the "establishment and big-hitter fundraisers," who basically sat out the last election after being unmotivated to vote by candidates like DePerno and Karamo.
Ballenger said Hoekstra has "some shot" at the nomination if he files papers, but "he could be an early causality." Hoekstra also could be a player at the convention if he were to "throw his convention support to somebody else," who could unite those warring factions.
As for Hoekstra's request to Trump to not endorse in the race, Ballenger said, "Donald Trump generally takes advice only from himself . . . I don't think he accepts advice from anybody."
Ballenger concluded that the party is not united now.
"Trump is poison to a lot of people (and) we'll see if the Republicans can pull a rabbit out of the hat" and get that job done in February.
Rep. Jack O’Malley (R-Lake Ann) says he could support "Pete," but conceded that his chances of getting the nod may not be that good. O'Malley was defeated in the November general election and is looking for a job, but one job he will not be seeking is Michigan Republican Party chair.
"I wouldn't wish that on anybody right now," he confessed to the Off the Record panel today. That notwithstanding, he is still very concerned about the future of his party and feels "small thinkers" in the party need to "expand their horizons" to include more members who may have some different beliefs on certain issues.
O'Malley modified his stance on abortion in the new 103rd House District and he admitted it might have cost him his seat. Asked if he believed the party should have handled the abortion issue differently, he blurted out, "Hell yes" as he calls for an end to a "purity" approach to running the party.
"If we agree on 80% to 90% of the issues, but you're going to vote against me because of one issue, that's where you need to broaden your horizons a little bit and understand the game is bigger than that."
O'Malley said he sees the need for changes in his party adding, "I think the party in a sense has to burn itself down so we can rebuild it."
Is he fed up with the party as he knows it today?
"I am fed up with a big chunk of the party," said O'Malley, who conceded he is a moderate Republican. To some, that may mean he's a RINO (Republican In Name Only).
He believes the term is "stupid. It bothers me a little bit and when people just won't listen to any other point of view, it's very, very frustrating."
As for the Trump supporters out there, he observed their numbers are "shrinking" from a one-time majority to what he estimates to be 10% to 20%. "They are the most vocal. They are not paying attention to the greater world around us."
As for his next paying gig. He revealed there are some opportunities in town, but for the moment, with a freshly trimmed white beard, he's got a couple of Santa jobs to attend to. "I know where the suits are," he chuckled.
Asked what he was getting the OTR anchor, the chuckle got louder, "A ton of coal for you," which he recanted after the cameras were off.
Ho. Ho. Ho.