WHO'S ON SECOND


The next big “who dunnit” in election circles is who will be the Tudor Dixon running mate as lieutenant governor? On Friday, August 19, per party rules, Dixon named former state Rep. Shane Hernandez of Port Huron for the post. But that may not be the last we hear on this issue because her choice has to be confirmed at the GOP state convention August 27. Prior to last Friday, names swirling included former member of Congress and state Senate Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester), former Speakers of the House Jase Bolger (R-Kalamazoo), who told a top Republican he's not interested, and Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt), who lost out to Matt DePerno as attorney general candidate. Those in the know doubted Bishop would take the job, both recognizing the writing on the wall running against a strong incumbent as well as “it's hard to see Mike take a job that is a number two, that is titular.” “Why would he waste three months of his life,” asked another. But non-legislative names were also running rampant, including former Piston Vinnie Johnson, who said he's definitely not in play, and ex-NBA player Willie Burton of Bloomfield Hills. But big donors had made it clear they will not write checks if she chooses Burton. The final decision at the state convention at which party delegates can reject Dixon's choice up to two times, and if there is not a consensus, the task will be turned over to delegates, according to Michigan GOP convention rules. While it's never happened before, one Republican strategist thinks it could this year. “You have the far right wing of the Republican party having outsize influence of what the Republican party will be in November. If they pick someone far, far right, it minimizes their success in the general election.” “The point of a political party is to win elections and if the GOP does not straighten out quickly, they will never win a statewide election in Michigan after this,” said a Republican political consultant. “There's no one I've talked to in the party who thinks we can win this year,” said a top GOP honcho. “DePerno is bringing down the party and raising no money.”

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