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Birmingham, Michigan

Oakland County political gossip

CONSERVATIVE LABELING

June 1, 2017

The American Conservative Union (ACU) Foundation has released its ratings for the 2016 Michigan Legislature and found the most conservative lawmaker from Oakland County was Rep. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake), based on his voting record of key conservative legislation. According to the ACU, which ranks state and federal lawmakers across the country and hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Runestad voted in favor of 91 percent of legislation that supports the ACU’s definition of a “conservative.” Only two legislators in the state received higher rankings than Runestad, who was followed by representatives Jim Tedder (R-Clarkston) and Joseph Graves (R-Holly), both receiving 87 percent rankings. The lowest ranked Republican by the ACU was Troy Rep. Martin Howrylak, with a 65 percent ranking for 2016 and a 71 percent lifetime ranking. Slipping in the ranks this year was state Senator Marty Knollenberg (R-Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Rochester, Rochester Hills), whose ranking went from 91 percent in 2015 to 75 percent in 2016. Senator  (R-Bloomfield Township) received a 74 percent ranking. Other Oakland County lawmaker rankings included Reps. Mike McCready (R-Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township), 71 percent; Kathy Crawford (R-Novi), 74 percent; Mike Webber (R-Rochester, Rochester Hills), 78 percent; and Klint Kesto (R-West Bloomfield, Commerce Township), 78 percent. State Senator Mike Kowall (R-White Lake) received a 65 percent ranking for 2016. The rankings, however, may further muddy how many people may define a “conservative” in today’s political atmosphere. “There is no ironclad definition of what a conservative is,” said Michigan political analyst Bill Ballenger. “It’s gotten a little more complicated. Are Libertarians conservatives or not? You could say they are more liberal. It comes down to how individual legislators vote on certain issues, but still after everything, the old fashioned conservative-liberal split that the public sees as dividing still exists.” 

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