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Republicans Bring Shaken-Up Presidential Campaign to Southeast Michigan

Feb. 28 primary gains importance in fluid race; Santorum has Oakland event Feb. 16.

Next up on the calendar for the newly altered Republican campaign are Michigan and Arizona, sites of Feb. 28 presidential primaries. That means more political ads, more local media coverage and Metro Detroit candidate appearances.

Rick Santorum, freshly energized by three wins Tuesday, flies in next week for a Novi fund-raising dinner. Mitt Romney speaks at Ford Field in Detroit on Feb. 24 and surely will attend other events in the state where he grew up.

"We're hoping to do something with Romney here in Oakland," said county party chairman Jim Thienel, a Royal Oak business owner. "We would be thrilled to do a fund-raising dinner." He suggested that last week to David Fischer, a state campaign finance co-chairman, Thienel told Patch on Tuesday.

Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, the other two active candidates, haven't yet announced when they'll campaign here.

Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, won the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses and a nonbinding primary in Missouri on Tuesday – earning national headlines that say "upset," "stunning success" and "bounces back."

High-profile role

Because of that and Gingrich's win in South Carolina last month, "Michigan will play a bigger role in the selection of the nominee," said veteran political strategist Steve Mitchell of West Bloomfield. "Its importance comes because of where it is on the primary calendar."

Santorum, the first candidate scheduled here this month, is scheduled to speak Feb. 16 at the annual Oakland County Lincoln Day Dinner. The $75 event, also featuring Gov. Rick Snyder, starts at 7 p.m. in Novi's Suburban Collection Showplace. Seats can be reserved here.

"This should be our largest dinner in years," said county chairman Thienel, owner of . "Barack Obama is the best thing in the world to inspire Republicans."

The two Feb. 28 primaries come a week before a Super Tuesday bounty of 437 delegates get allocated in 10 states. That timing gives the last votes of February extra impact in the fluid contest.

Stakes in Michigan

The winner or winners will gain a sense of momentum, added credibility and a fund-raising edge. Moreover, Michigan's primary is the first in a Midwestern industrial state.   

To be nominated Aug. 29 at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, a candidate needs 1,144 delegates. Romney has 91, Santorum has 44, Gingrich gained 29 and Paul picked up eight so far.

At stake Feb. 28 in Michigan are 30 delegates, awarded proportionately based on primary vote shares. In contrast, Arizona's winner gets all of its 29 delegates that day.

A results-watching party organized by the Troy-Clawson Republican Forum begins at 8 p.m. primary night at restaurant in Troy.

Critical test

As the year began, "Michigan’s primary date was considered, by many, to be too late to be relevant," recalls election analyst Tim Kiska in a WWJ blog. That's because Romney was widely seen as the Republican candidate financially and politically.

Like Mitchell, Kiska says Romney's recent runner-up status in several states changes things. "All of a sudden, Michigan ... becomes crucial for Romney’s future," the Grosse Pointe Woods resident writes in his recent post. "Romney will need Michigan ... to prove that he’s got it, that he’s not a perennial second-place finisher, and that he can do well in a northern industrial Blue state – one that is up for grabs in November."

For his part, Mitchell – head of a research and public relations company in East Lansing and West Bloomfield – sees the former Massachusetts governor as a "favorite son" who should prevail here and "is on a path to win the nomination."

In the state's last Republican presidential primary, Romney earned 20 of the 30 delegates by receiving 39 percent of the 869,293 votes. (Runner-up John McCain later became the nominee.)

Romney's roots

Romney, whose father George was governor of Michigan from 1963-69, was born in Detroit and grew up in Bloomfield Hills. He remains "a Michigan guy" in many local Republicans' eyes, Mitchell believes, even though he moved away permanently after graduation in 1965.

"We all have friends and relatives who have left our state for jobs elsewhere," Mitchell explained, "but we still think of them as Michigan natives." He acknowledged that "Romney will appeal more to older voters because they remember his dad or his mom or his former sister-in-law, Ronna Romney. Romney will leverage his Michigan connections very strongly in the general election and it will be a positive for him."

Younger voters already are among "the strongest Ron Paul supporters, so if they don't support Romney it will be because of ideological reasons," adds the political consultant.

Romney speaks Feb. 24 at a Detroit Economic Club luncheon at 11:30 a.m. in Ford Field four days before the primary. Ticket details are here.

Need to know about Feb. 28 primary

  • When: 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Where: Your local precinct site (check with your clerk's office if you are unsure)
  • Absentee ballot: Can be mailed on request by Feb. 25, or cast at your municipal building by 4 p.m. Feb. 27.
  • Party selection: , voters in this "closed primary" must declare in writing which party's ballot is wanted. (The Democratic primary is uncontested.) The choice remains on a public record for 22 months, but doesn’t apply to the general election in November.    
Jordan Genso February 09, 2012 at 08:38 PM
I'm sorry. Do you really consider that a valid response or counter-argument to my comment? "you're a waste of my time." "you obviously have no kids..." As for now, I'm going to assume you are trolling, and proceed accordingly. If you want to engage in a logic-based discussion though, please feel free to write something more substantive, and I will happily consider your points. It's obvious that there are several commenters on this site that enjoy discussing politics. Some of those commenters are progressive, some are conservative, some would not want to identify with any label. Regardless though, we should all be able to recognize what is a valid approach to this forum and what is not. And a valid approach is one that establishes a point and defends it from rational criticism. An invalid approach is one made up of word-salad without any supportive reasoning beind the statements.
Jordan Genso February 09, 2012 at 08:54 PM
To answer the first part of the first question: President Obama agreed to several trillion in deficit reduction last summer that was made up of 80% spending cuts and 20% revenue increases. In addition, the public sector has decreased in size each month for pretty much the last two years. Also, the Democratic Party recognizes that there are spending cuts that could be made to our military that could match in size most of the spending cuts the Tea Party Republicans are proposing. If you really don't agree that the Democrats have been flexible on spending cuts, I could provid more examples. As to the second part of the question: when there is at least a trillion dollars currently not being invested due to the risky economy, the Democrats recognize that increasing taxes in a way where the only actual downside is that it slows the amount of money being added to that sideline, and that additional tax revenue could then be used as further stimulus to the economy (basically, the government would be making the investment that the private sector is failing to do, because the government does not need to worry about the risk as much), that is good policy. The Republican Tea Party has supported Paul Ryan's budget, where the spending cuts turn Medicare into a voucher program. I believe Medicare is a "vital program", but you may disagree. Making it a voucher program where the elderly have to buy their own insurance is a cut to that vital program.
Jordan Genso February 09, 2012 at 09:00 PM
The Tea Party Republicans are in favor of raising taxes on the "45% of Americans that don't pay federal income tax", as another commenter and I discussed above. Now you and I will disagree as to what the meaning of the word "fact" is, if you think "The government spends way too much money" is anything other than an opinion. As soon as "too much" comes into play, it immediately becomes opinion. You and I can agree to all sorts of spending cuts in the government, but I no longer buy into the idea that there are substantive cuts that can be made that wouldn't affect vital programs. If you point out proposed cuts, we can discuss those, but I'm going to disagree when it comes to those general 'spending cuts' that Republicans talk about without identifying. In the same regard, I will gladly identify any revenue increases I say I am in support of if someone asks. I would not expect Republicans to agree to general revenue increases that are not identified, but I've still not seen any Tea Party Republicans say that they are even open to the idea of any increase in revenue.
dk February 09, 2012 at 09:47 PM
It's really very simple. bin Laden's dead, and GM is alive - no thanks to any of the Republicans.
Plymouthtownshiptaxpayer February 09, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Don, Frank, Bryce and the other real Americans great job on the posts. I agree with you 100 percent. Unfortunately this post, as are most of them, are swamped by extreme liberal thinkers including the writers and Gate keeps such as Nancy Hanus who will shut you down if your too conservative. It's sad that this city with so many economic problems caused directly by democrates rule and management has such blind followers to the liberal causes. You can state all the facts about economic indicators, who does and does not pay taxes, and who's at fault, but their answer will be the same; Republicans and conservative thinkers. I've read how they view the auto bailouts and Obama care are the worlds saving grace. Even thougH it would have been painful letting GM and Chrysler go through a true bankruptcy would have provided a much more stable outcome. As it is now, they"ll be at the door of congress in short order with their hand out. And when Obama care starts up it will be realized that we just don't have enough funds to cover the program so we have no choice to raise taxes. And sooner or later even those who are "in the cart" rather than pulling it will be asked to contribute. Buy by this time out days as a superpower will be over. I am confident that this is the intent anyway. So thank you for your comments, it's been lonely posting to this bunch over the past couple of weeks.
Erin February 09, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Hi Janet - keep in mind we're all neighbors here. And ALL real Americans. A Republican that questions policy is not a liberal. A liberal that questions policy isn't a traitor. There are blue dog Dems, libertarians, moderate Republicans, and everything else under the sun. Who cares? We're all trying to get the facts straight and sift through both parties' spin. Making things better is what we should be about. The only way to get it done is together. Only way to do that is with civility.
Kay February 10, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Shocking comments except for the few who actually speak about the facts and have an open mind enough to listen to the candidates. What we need are more serious voters who do their OWN homework rather than repeating and regurgitating the same old points. Our country is in serious trouble. This is not a time for schoolyard name calling. Spend your time reading and studying history since history is our best teacher of what will happen, not what any of them, R or D, promise. I cannot believe the immature comments and frankly, it makes me sick with so much at stake.
Dale Murrish February 10, 2012 at 12:47 PM
It's ironic that Mr. Mitchell cites Romney's birthplace and family connections as reasons to support him. I thought we rejected aristocracy in 1776 and choose candidates by their philosophy of governing, not less relevant factors like that. Mr. Romney will have to make his case to the conservative base of the Republican party. So far most have endorsed him because he's "the only candidate who can beat Obama." I voted for him last time, but this year he's my second choice. I heard Dick Morris say yesterday that the political landscape is littered with presidential candidates who ran the general election before closing the sale with their own party. Romney has yet to do that. I prefer Rick Santorum this time around, for reasons I stated January 20 while he was still a dark horse: http://troy.patch.com/blog_posts/wanted-a-president-with-character-vision-ability-to-unify
Frank February 10, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Jordan, This becomes very frustrating if you can't quote me correctly, when I was commenting on a direct quote from you. As far as "The Republican Tea Party wants voters to believe that the government wastes money, making spending cuts necessary." That is your quote. I said "Well that is fact". Fact being that the government wastes money. Indisputable. But then you go on to compare fact to opinion of a statement I was not commenting on. You say it is opninon not fact that the government spends too much. agreed. But again I said it was fact that the government "wastes" money. When we can't even take the time to read what we are commenting on it all becomes useless babble. I find this very disheartening in the public debate. Also, just for clarification, there is no official group that has a leader that speaks for all,that is "Tea Party Republican". There has been no official group formed. It is just a collective mindset. I am neither Republican or a "Tea Party" Republican.
dan rice February 10, 2012 at 05:26 PM
"real Americans"? Please define an unreal American.
Erin February 10, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Dan Rice - my point exactly, thank you.
Jerry Grady February 10, 2012 at 06:42 PM
http://nbcpolitics.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/10/10371870-obama-to-address-contraceptive-policy
Jerry Grady February 10, 2012 at 06:47 PM
“The last couple of regimes have been putting us deep in the hole,” Clint Eastwood said. “It’s such a basic thing,” he continued. “Your parents always tell you … when you don’t have a dollar in your pocket, you don’t spend two dollars. And that’s a basic philosophy of life. People think you can just put if off. If you put it off you just print more money, and the money in your pocket becomes devalued, and it’s not worth as much, and eventually it comes down to zero.”
dan rice February 10, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Erin, agreed. you summed it up very well in your previous response. fascinating to me how the folks throwing out these 'line in the sand' definitions of patriotism don't understand exactly how un-American that behavior is(there is a distinction here i'm making between the behavior and the individual). i'm not a psychologist, but i think the clinical term is "projection".
Erin February 10, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Jerry – YAY! back to issues- Poor Tom Coburn (R-OK) has been out there alone this week waving his arms (figuratively) saying basically – Hello? Can we stop talking about social issues for 5 minutes and get back to the debt?
Brian Clark February 10, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Erin: Why do you think there are so few Republicans/conservatives/right-leaning moderates like you? Why does it seem the majority of conservatives have become the "You're burning in HELL, ANTIAMERICAN LIBERAL SOCIALIST ALL-CAP LIBTARD HUSSEIN OBAMACARE!!!" hate-filled, venomous malcontents who are more interested in hurling insults than discussing ideas? There’s no sign that the Republican Party objects to this quest to find the furthest reaches of the right wing. Any sign that Republican presidential candidates are even slightly moderate on any issue is targeted by the mob as though they contemplated the idea of eating babies. If more conservatives were like you, perhaps there would be more talking and less shouting; more progress and less use of ANGRY CAPS LOCK. We need to understand and respect each other even when we don’t agree.
Jerry Grady February 10, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Erin I preach it all the time, but too many people want to beat the dead horse and show they believe they are right and someone is wrong. At the end of the day, if you have a dollar you spend a dollar, not two. I watch what is going on in Greece and it scares me to death. There is no right or wrong party or answer. The real issue is how do spend only what you have and not go into debt more. I could care who put us there, just make it so my kids aren't footing the bill. Right or Wrong run it like a business and you will have surplus. It is amazing that Michigan after one year of being the worst state in the country, yes we were 50th, in budget issues and undewater, we have a surplus. And folks this was before the real tax dollars are being collected this year for those seniors who were effected. It's not that he is a R as many describe him, its because he is a business man. He is not interested in what side you are on, only that we hold everyone accountable and make sure the three areas, Education, Public Safety, and Roads are taking care of. Amazing he has stayed right on course and no one was doing any protesting this week. That's Progress.
Jordan Genso February 10, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Frank, I'm sorry for focusing on the sentence after "Well that is a fact" rather than the one before, but we're still going to disagree about whether the previous sentence was factual or subjective. The term "wasteful" is almost inherently subjective. You and I can both agree that there is wasteful government spending, but that doesn't make it objectively true. Because as soon as you point to a dollar of spending that you feel is wasteful, there may be someone else who thinks it is not, and there is no objective answer. This side-conversation about what is a fact and what is not is rather pointless though, so I will apologize for getting us off topic. As for the 'Tea Party Republicans', I was under the impression that it was something the Republicans were proud of, being in line with the Tea Party. And the Tea Party takes pride in their ability to influence the Republican Party, so while there are Tea Party members who may not self-identify as Republicans, I'm not aware of any elected Republicans that do not self-identify with the same goals as the Tea Party. So if I talk about a Tea Party organization, I will not combine them with the Republicans, but when I talk about elected Republicans, I often make sure to correctly note the other constituents they identify with. In my comments, I was not trying to label you as a Tea Party Republican, so I apologize if it came off that way.
Jo Nielson February 10, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Sadly, both parties have moved more towards their extreme ends. It's not just one party. A lot of people refuse to see that their party has contributed to the mess that we are in. Many people have left both parties and consider themselves "independent". There's a lot of hate going around and it's not all coming from Republicans. Members of the Democratic Party need to start calling out their members for the same hateful/angry rhetoric and cleaning their own house. It's not like one party has a monopoly on hate and anger. Is it any wonder that a lot of people have decided to go "independent?"
Frank February 10, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Don, I agree. Which country are you referring to? And a lot of $$$$, meaning exactly what? Jordan, No apology necessary. When I talk about government waste being a fact this link is just an example of what I am talking about. http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/government-waste-20-of-the-craziest-things-that-the-u-s-government-is-spending-money-on I agree with Daryl, I am interested to hear what the Republican candidates have to say, especially after they abandoned our state 4 years ago when McCain's people pulled out of here.
Peter Adair February 10, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Liquidation is your assumption. Bankruptcy would have been a viable option, the only real option. If they did liquidate, so be it, a BADLY run company over long periods of time doesn't deserve to still be in business.
Don Volaric February 10, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Hello Frank, Japan, Germany, even South Korea for starters. I'm not talking abandoning; I’m talking sharing in the expense. Why should you & I pick up the bill? Foreign aid to countries that don’t like us very much is a real problem. If they’re going to spend our hard earned dollars I want much better oversight with fiscal responsibility.
Jerry Grady February 10, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Here, Here !!
Randy February 10, 2012 at 09:16 PM
I'd like to thank the republicans and democrats who posted in this thread for saying what they say after every news article. It was very enlightening. <<<------Sarcasm intended
Michelle Dainus February 10, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I did not know that Myles, thanks for the info. I may not personally agree with everything Ron Paul says, but man, he is the only candidate the GOP has that is not a complete nut job.
Michelle Dainus February 10, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Well said, Erin, I was about to post the same thing myself. I just do not understand how people in this area could even consider voting for Romney because of his remarks about the auto industry.
Marty Rosalik February 10, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Don: you hit the nail on the head. We pay for about 30,000 troops in South Korea. Last time I looked they were in pretty good shape. They have a huge industrial complex for all sorts of heavy industry. Their car companies are doing well and even better. We pick up the bill on their defense. We pay more in taxes to make their taxes lower. This in turn allows their industry to make products cheaper. It is time for them to stand on their own. I resent paying taxes for their defense. That in-turn lowers the cost of their products that compete with my products. So how about we bring those 30k troops home and deploy them on the southern border?
Jordan Genso February 11, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Jo Nielson, in regards to "both parties have moved more towards their extreme ends". Another commenter made a similar statement a couple weeks ago on a different article. I asked them to provide examples of policies that the Democratic Party supports now that are more liberal than what the Democrats in the 1980s and 1990s supported. That commenter ignored my comment; I hope you don't do the same. There is one issue for which I feel the Democrats have moved to the left (equality for the LGBT community), but otherwise, I can't think of any others. And there are several for which they have moved to the right (President Obama's health care reform proposal was much less liberal than President Clinton's- it was basically the same as the Republican alternative to President Clinton's in 1993). Last time, I provided around seven examples of the post-2008 Republicans being against policies they used to be in favor of (or even created themselves, like Cap & Trade), having moved to the extreme right. If you would like though, I could provide them again.
Jerry Grady February 11, 2012 at 04:16 PM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46348348/ns/business-us_business/#.TzaUBbES1Qg Interesting Take on Tax Reform for Corporations.
Jerry Grady February 11, 2012 at 08:34 PM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46313519/ns/business-personal_finance/#.TzbQFLES1Qg If this is true, This provides many facts, but more importantly keeps the opinions flying.

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