GOP has more problems than the lack of a quality candidate


As mid-Michigan Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin grooves a path toward the Democrats’ U.S. Senate nomination next year, it’s only natural to scratch your head and wonder, “Whom do the Republicans have?”

Not much of anyone. 

It is only May of the off year. If you’re a Republican, not having a quality candidate at this point shouldn’t rattle you. John James announced his run against U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in July 2017, and he mounted a quality campaign.

James’ primary opponent that year, Sandy Pensler, announced her run months later.

Self-funded Republican candidates grow on trees. Like Kevin Rinke or Perry Johnson, they can suddenly appear and become instantly viable the second everyone realizes how wealthy they are.

Republicans should be rattled for other reasons. For starters, why doesn’t anyone in office or recently out of office want to run for one of the most highly sought positions in government?

On the Democratic side, nearly every elected official from lieutenant governor down to state representative gave it a sniff.

On the Republican side, the only elected official of note to toy around with the idea was former Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, now a state senator, and her goal was to blow up her successor, Jocelyn Benson.

It’s like 2020 again, when a larger-than-necessary grab bag of self-funders and quixotical ideologues ran with either no money, no base of support, or both. The candidate the “establishment” picked, former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, was so lazy and in over his head, he didn’t even make the ballot.

Where was Candice Miller? Bill Schuette? Mike Cox? Fred Upton? Mike Rogers? Anybody who had actually won something before? Nowhere to be found.

Where are they in 2023-‘24? Nowhere to be found.

Craig is allegedly back with a group of D.C. consultants, but he starts with nothing but a trail of political disappointment and rumors of personal vices that allegedly caused his consultants to leave him. Craig doesn’t even have Tucker Carlson around to give him primetime air on Fox News.

Lisa McClain, a congresswoman from Macomb County, isn’t positioning herself for anything. Schuette is cheering for his son, state Rep. Bill G. Schuette. U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga has his eyes on a House chairmanship, and his House colleagues are, likewise, working their way up the seniority ladder.

Former U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, taken out by the “grassroots” for a carpetbagger and Donald Trump put-up, announced Tuesday that he has “officially started the next chapter” of his life. He’s a dad.

There’s state Board of Education member Nikki Snyder, I suppose. She figured out how to fail at getting valid signatures as a congressional candidate before COVID was an excuse.

Have you ever heard of Michael Hoover? He has the touch and feel of Ralph Rebandt or Jim Himes. If those names aren’t familiar, you get my point.

The new name is John Tuttle, the vice chair of the New York Stock Exchange, a Southeast Michigan native who served in George W. Bush’s administration before joining the world’s largest stock market in 2007.

According to Politico, he’s interested in running for the U.S. Senate. He has kept a home in Michigan. He splits his time between here and the East Coast. 

Does he sound like someone who can relate to the hand-to-mouth, working-class, Trumpian grassroots who now run the Michigan Republican Party?

Sounds like someone who’s bound to be labeled a “RINO,” to me.

Then again, everyone is a RINO in the fractious Republican Party nowadays. The Kristina Karamo/Matt DePerno split is so deep that people are coming to blows. Did the Ryan Kelley/Garrett Soldano split ever heal?

Former MI-GOP Chair Ron Weiser wants nothing to do with any of it anymore. Traditional Republican donors are giving directly to legislative caucuses now.

When you get down to it, the fact that Republicans don’t have a quality U.S. Senate candidate at this point is the least of their problems. 

This is a rudderless ship with a crew that’s turned on each other so many times, it’s hard to even know who is on board.

If you’re a Republican, that should have you rattled.



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