Now Come the KINGMAKERS
According to the local papers, the main candidates for the 97th District are me, Robert Townsend for team Democrat, and Jason Wentworth for team Republican.
Looking at the race, the Republicans have a slight edge in the district based on voter pool but it is nearly 50/50 (they had excellent turnout in the primary though). I have far more support with Republicans than my opponent has with the Democrats, my positions are also better developed and I have an edge with life experience. Between the two of us, I feel I have a slight edge but it will be a close and well fought race.
Unfortunately, I am not really running against Jason Wentworth. That is because there is a Kingmaker at play. An outside influence, who is pumping huge amounts of money into this race to tilt the scale in the favor of his selected candidate. I’ve spent about $8,000 total in the primary. 93% of that money was raised right here in the 97th District. The remaining 7% came from outside the district, generally from people like family, friends and supporters I’ve known for YEARS.
Out of District Money
The Kingmaker gave my opponent over $14,000 alone, representing around 45% of his entire war chest. This has little to do with what is best for the 90,000 people of the 97th District, it has to do what is best for the Kingmaker, his ‘Friends’ and their Conservative Agenda/Voting Block in Lansing.
Looking at my opponent’s direct contributions we see a lot of different names: Elisabeth, Pamela, Douglas, Helen, Richard, Suzanne, Richard Jr., Maria, and Daniel. What isn’t different is the last name- DeVos.
Nor is the amount, $1,000 apiece, the maximum an ‘individual’ can contribute. Apparently maxing out individual contributions to assure their candidate’s election is a common practice for the DeVos Family. It worked to defeat Proposition 2 (the constitutional guarentee to collective bargaining), pass Right to Work, support Charter Schools (through the Mackinaw Center), and a host of Conservative, Fundamental Christian, and Republican Causes. It is their little way of shaping Michigan to their will.
Why the 97th District?
The short answer is that it really doesn’t matter. Not at all. The DeVos family cares nothing about the 97th, and for that matter, I am willing to bet they don’t care anything about my opponent, as long as he plays ball.
What does matter is the numbers of seats filled with ‘their’ candidates. In the House (or Senate or Congress) the only thing that seems to matter is the shear number of votes on the floor they can muster to pass ‘Right to Work’ or whatever legislation they want passed. The individual districts don’t matter, the size of the voting block does. The 97th is just one of their targeted districts and they want ‘their man’ in that seat.
The DeVos money won’t make you, the voters of the 97th District, vote for their candidate. But you can be sure that their money will mean you will receive MANY mailings from him, you will hear him on the radio, you will see him on TV. When the election gets closer, people will call you about him, and someone will knock on your door to tell you about him.
The political philosophy and ideas a candidate supports is important in an election. Equally important is WHO is supporting the candidate and WHY. For the 97th, the choice is clear. Only one candidate draws support almost exclusively from within the 97th District. Only one candidate clearly will represent the 97th District. That candidate is Dr. Robert Townsend. He is the one your friends, family and co-workers support. He is the one asking for YOUR support.