CONSERVATIVES WIN IN NOVEMBER (Post-election Update)
Republicans won a big victory in November in Michigan. They held all their statewide offices and Congressional seats. They also held all their current state legislative seats, gaining one in the Senate and four in the House. They now have at 27-11 supermajority in the Senate and a 63-47 majority in the House. More importantly, conservatives gained seats within the Republican caucus. All eight candidates endorsed by Madison Project Michigan won in November. Congratulations to Pat Colbeck, Lana Theis, Jim Runestad, Jason Sheppard, Tom Barrett, Cindy Gamrat, Gary Glenn, and Triston Cole. Please visit the Candidates page to learn more about the candidates and races.
One key test of how conservative the new Republican caucuses are is the leadership elections held two days after the election. The new Senate majority leader will be Arlan Meekhof, who is more conservative than previous leader Randy Richardville. The new Speaker of the House will be Kevin Cotter, the more conservative of the two candidates, who opposed Medicaid expansion and Common Core. This victory was made possible thanks to conservatives winning key primaries.
Of course, we can't rest easy. The legislature may still try to raise gas taxes or discriminate against Christian businesses. Candidates who ran as conservatives may be tempted to 'grow in office' or compromise for the sake of political expediency. We will do our best to hold them accountable if they do.
Thanks to everyone who supported the Madison Project Michigan! We hope that you will support our efforts again in 2016.
CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATES NEED YOUR HELP!
Are you sick of Republican politicians who run for office as conservatives, but don't vote that way in office? So are we.
Over the past few years, the Republicans in the Michigan legislature have achieved some real conservative victories, including Right to Work, a balanced budget, and a streamlined corporate tax system. However, they have also passed the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, implemented the Common Core education standards, and voted for corporate welfare spending and tax credits big and small. They have also failed to pass much achievable conservative legislation on issues from abortion and gun rights to cutting unnecessary spending and regulations. They are even seriously considering raising gas taxes and passing legislation to discriminate against Christian businesses that don't what to participate in homosexual marriage ceremonies.
What can be done? We need to elect solid conservative candidates--people who will vote based on conservative principles rather than political convenience. The good news is that there are many people running for Michigan legislature who fit that description. The bad news is that for the most part, they are being opposed by the Republican establishment, which has the advantage in organization, name recognition, and fundraising.
That's where we come in. The Madison Project Michigan PAC raises money for conservative candidates through our network of grassroots conservatives. We provide our members with campaign profiles of selected candidates, and contributions to the PAC are used to support those candidates.
Our values are Pro-Life, Pro-Family, Limited Government, Defenders of Religious Freedom. We only endorse candidates who clearly demonstrate their conservatism. We evaluate every House and Senate race in Michigan, and our endorsements are only extended to key competitive races which have a strong conservative candidate with the ability to win.
For the most part, grassroots conservatives can't count on financial support from special interest groups like the Chamber of Commerce. They need your help. Talk is cheap. Michigan conservatives need to put our money where our mouths are.
Please DONATE to the Madison Project Michigan PAC to help us elect solid conservatives in Michigan. Just click the button at the top right.
LESSONS FROM THE PRIMARY ELECTION
Conservatives can learn much from the results of the August primary about what it takes to win elections.
They don't call it the establishment for nothing Establishment candidates won many races. They have the inside track on fundraising, endorsements, and organization. Notably, several winning conservatives, including Lana Theis, Jim Runestad, Jason Sheppard, and Triston Cole had some establishment support.
Be the establishment One answer to this is to become the establishment. Lana Theis and Triston Cole are both former county party chairs. It takes time to build political connections, but it pays off eventually.
Experience counts Elected experience is valuable for winning candidates. Lana Theis, Jim Runestad, Jason Sheppard, and Gary Glenn have all been elected to local office.
If at first you don't succeed Tom Barrett, Todd Courser, and Triston Cole have all lost elections before, but gained valuable experience in the process. This time, they won their primaries. Candidates who lost this time should look for opportunities to run again in the future.
Build a brand Lana Theis, Gary Glenn, Cindy Gamrat, and Todd Courser are known across Michigan for advocating conservative causes. This provides a larger fundraising base to tap when you run for office.
Don't Ignore Social Issues In recent years, conservatives have shifted much more emphasis to fiscal issues. While these issues are vitally important, conservative candidates should not ignore social issues. Notably, three conservative victors, Todd Courser, Gary Glenn, and Lee Chatfield, are all known as strong defenders of traditional marriage.
Don't split the vote In several districts (45, 47, 58, 73, 104), several conservative candidates split the vote and allowed a more moderate candidate to win. Conservatives who care more about the cause than themselves should meet and agree on one candidate to support.
Money doesn't buy elections Self-funding candidates have a bad electoral track record. Notably, Paul Mitchell and Brian Ellis, who both spent millions of their own money trying to get elected to Congress, lost handily. Self-funder David Trott did win, but that had more to do with Kerry Bentivolio's weak campaign.
Money is essential This does not contradict the previous point. Money does not guarantee victory, but it is essential to get your message out. This is particularly true in local elections, which are often decided by name recognition.
Look at how much winning conservative candidates raised. Lana Theis raised 80K. Jim Runestad raised 82K. Jason Sheppard raised 36K. Tom Barrett raised 55K. Cindy Gamrat raised 39K. Gary Glenn raised 171K. Triston Cole raised 37K. The only Republican to defeat a state house incumbent, Lee Chatfield, raised 74K.
The candidate who raised the most money won in 18 of 21 primaries in open Republican seats. With one exception, the lowest amount raised by any successful Republican primary winner in a winnable district was Todd Courser's 27K. A Republican candidate for state house who isn't willing to raise (or self-fund) at least $30,000 is usually only going to waste everyone's time.
Exceptions are exceptional There is one huge exception to the above points. In district 59, Aaron Miller, a 27-year-old Christian conservative teacher with little political experience who raised only 11K won with 38% of the vote in a four-candidate field. So it is possible for a candidate who works hard to catch on with voters without the usual advantages. But it definitely isn't the way to bet, and it shouldn't be an excuse to ignore the usual path to victory.