Longtime Michigan pollster Steve Mitchell went out on a limb several times Friday, predicting that President Donald Trump will nominate federal appellate judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday and then, next fall, shut down the U.S. government in a budget battle with Congress.
Mitchell, who is president of Mitchell Research & Communications, said he thinks the high court pick will come down to Kavanaugh and another appeals court judge, Michigan’s Raymond Kethledge, but that Kavanaugh will get the nod. Indiana’s Amy Barrett and Michigan’s Joan Larsen won’t make the final cut, he said, even though it would be a smart political move for Trump to appoint a woman.
Mitchell says he thinks the president — any president — always wins in a government shutdown battle with Congress, and that this is one way for Trump to finally get the support from Congress he needs to build a wall across the U.S. southern border, thereby firing up the conservative base that Republicans need to turn out at the polls in the Nov. 6 general election.
Talking on “The Political Insider” syndicated radio network that will be aired this week-end on at least 10 stations throughout Michigan, Mitchell said he thinks Attorney General Bill Schuette will hold off Lt. Gov. Brian Calley for the Republican nomination for Governor in the Aug. 7 primary, and that former state Senator Gretchen Whitmer will win the Democratic nod on the same day.
Mitchell says he finds it hard to believe businessman/Iraq war veteran John James can overcome the huge financial advantage that multi-millionaire Sandy Pensler has enjoyed with his prolific TV ads for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. And even if incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow starts out with a big edge over the GOP Senate nominee, the presence of Super PACs and various independent issue-oriented spending groups means that she can’t take anything for granted — the Republican nominee may well be able to match her dollar-for-dollar in a chaotic, unpredictable political climate.
Because she enjoys the same kind of advantage in campaign spending in the 11th Congressional District that Pensler enjoys in his race for the U.S. Senate, Lena Epstein should win the Republican nomination in that CD, says Mitchell. He also believes Suneel Gupta is the likely winner of the Democratic primary in the same district, for the same reason.
There is no question Democrats “are really fired up” this year and will turn out in November if it’s for no other reason than to “send a message” to Trump, Mitchell said. “The question is whether the Republicans will turn out with equal intensity.”
“The Political Insider” is carried by WFLN (1480 AM) in Flint; WJIM (1240 AM) in Lansing; WJRW (1340 AM) in Grand Rapids; WYPV (94.5 FM) in Mackinac City; WKLQ (1490 AM) in Muskegon; WWMN (106.3 FM) in Thompsonville; WJML (1110 AM) in Petoskey; WJNL (1210 AM) and WJML (101.1 FM) in Traverse City); and WHAK (960 AM) in Alpena/Rogers City.