GONE, NOT FORGOTTEN
Don’t shed any tears for Eric Esshaki. The state party is not just knocking a pawn from the playing board. We are told that Esshaki will likely turn his attention to the newly drawn state Senate 9th District, where former Republican state Representative Michael Webber (R-Rochester, Rochester Hills) has already announced his intention to run, having served the Greater Rochester area in the state House until he was term limited as of December 2020. The new Senate district includes all or parts of Rochester and Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Auburn Hills, Troy and Birmingham, along with Shelby and Sterling Heights in Macomb County – most of it the old Oakland County stomping grounds for Webber, who some claim did not have to be a strong campaigner in past runs for the state House. Then there’s the money aspect of any race. Esshaki has in the neighborhood of $412,000 ready in his federal campaign account. Webber reported just over $50,000 cash on hand at the end of December. Some say the GOP primary could expand out to include Oakland GOP chairperson Rocky Raczkowski, whose name had been thrown around and then discarded for the race in the 10th District of Congress. Rocky reportedly met earlier this year with party members in Lansing and may well join this state Senate race. He had a tour of duty in the state House from 1997-2003 (Farmington, Farmington Hills), where he had a reputation as an ultra conservative, which might sell with the MAGA faction of the county party, but his several failed attempts at elective office since leaving Lansing could suggest his candidacy will prove more of a spoiler role in this primary. Plus, in the quid pro quo of politics, the GOP would probably owe it to Esshaki to keep the field cleared of as many candidates as possible.