Question 1): Still another Republican last week announced his candidacy for governor — he’s Michael Markey, a Grand Haven business owner. That brings the total back to a baker’s dozen candidates for the GOP nomination, which is a record. Who is Michael Markey? Will his candidacy make a difference leading up to the Aug. 2 primary election?
Answer 1): Markey is a co-founder of Legacy Financial Network, a financial advisor, author, motivational speaker and radio host. He also is a member of Mensa, a self-described “high IQ society.” Markey graduated from Eastern Michigan University, where he played college baseball.
In an interview with MLive, Markey said he’s focused on improving economic opportunity and reversing a trend of slow population growth.
Markey said he wants to build consensus in a polarized political climate and increase education funding. He told MLive: “I’d like to say that it was a strategic decision as we watched candidates declare their candidacy, but, for me, it was more prayer and talking to people around me. The more I talked to people, the more I prayed about it, the more I felt that this was something I needed to do.”
Depending on how much personal wealth Markey possesses, and how much of it he is willing to spend, he will find himself in a race with previously-announced candidates Perry Johnson and Kevin Rinke in the “Big Bucks” category among the 13 announced candidates who are still in the race. Based on what Markey has said so far, it sounds like he’ll be attacked by the more conservative, underfunded candidates in the field as a ‘RINO,’ because he indicated he seeks to unite moderate and conservative points of view within the GOP. Most of his opponents don’t care about that and are suspicious of anybody who wants to do it. One thing Markey has in his favor is that he’s from West Michigan, whereas the so-called
“big hitters” in the race except for Tudor Dixon are all from the southeastern sector oft he state. That gives him a “lane,” but it hardly looks like a winning path at this point.
What is truly remarkable about this race so far is that never before have there been so many candidates of the opposition party from that of the sitting governor who have announced they are running to take her (or him) on in the general election. Almost all of them have little money, and last week’s campaign finance reports showed that what little campaign cash they’re raising can’t even pay for what they’ve been spending. All this tells us two things — 1) Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is a flawed, controversial, and largely unpopular governor (her job ratings are underwater) whom many Republicans and Independent voters really detest. That inspires a lot of conservative/Republican citizens to think that if they can just get the GOP nomination, she ought to be easy pickin’s in the general election. They’re naive, to be sure, but that’s the way they think; and 2) The reason various newly-minted candidates keep announcing they’re running, even at this comparatively late date, is because they look at who is already supposedly in the field, and they think: “Is the best the Republicans can do? These people are WEAK (only one has ever been elected to any office before, and that was far down on the food chain). Hell, I’m better than they are, and I have as good a chance to win. So, guess what? I’m running.”
At this point, we have no idea who will come out of the woodwork in coming days as a candidate, but the only credible possibilities among the candidates NOW to win the Aug. 2 primary, assuming they’re on the ballot (and that’s still a question), are Perry Johnson, Kevin Rinke, James Craig, Garrett Soldano, Tudor Dixon, and MAYBE Michael Markey, simply because we don’t know yet how he is going to perform. The others are hopeless, if they even go through with it.
Question 2): The four white female justices on the Michigan Supreme Court last Thursday dismissed a lawsuit against the state’s new Independent Redistricting Commission that alleged new maps illegally dilute the power of Black voters.
Plaintiffs, including state lawmakers who are part of the Legislature’s Detroit Caucus, failed to prove a violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, justices wrote in a 4-3 opinion, rejecting the first of several legal challenges against the maps that are set to take effect next month.
In oral arguments week before last, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys argued that new legislative and Congressional districts drawn by the independent commission would significantly reduce the number of Black elected officials in Michigan.
Michigan currently has 17 majority-Black districts — two in Congress, five in the state Senate, and 10 in the state House. But in the 10 proposed maps released by the commission last month, only one district would have a voting age population of more than 50 percent African-Americans.
But the four female high court justices, including three of four Democratic nominees, said a reduction in majority-Black districts alone is not a violation of the Voting Rights Act, which guarantees a chance for minority voters to elect candidates of their choice. The decision wipes out decades of legal precedent and, in effect, consigns the federal Voting Rights Act to the ash bin of history unless another court, probably at the federal level, scuttles the four women’s opinion.
The court cited expert analysis prepared for the commission that suggested “significant white crossover voting for Black-preferred candidates (Ed. note: Of course — is this a surprise?) … had the effect of affording Black voters an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice even in the absence of 50%+ majority-minority districts” (Ed. note: “equal opportunity” only if you’re ignorant about politics).
That evidence of “white crossover voting” went “unrebutted” by the plaintiffs, according to the majority opinion. That may be because the inexperienced lawyers for the plaintiffs weren’t up to speed, and presented weak and incomplete arguments on behalf of their cause.
Democratic nominees Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, Megan Cavanagh and Elizabeth Welch were joined in their dismissal by Justice Elizabeth Clement, a Republican nominee.
So, is that it? Can we expect all of the Commission-designed maps to remain in place and withstand any further legal challenges?
Answer 2): Not so fast. Three judges nominated and appointed by a Republican president (although one of the judges is clearly a Democrat) will decide the fate of another, separate federal redistricting lawsuit filed by conservative activists, Michigan residents, and at least one sitting member of the state House of Representatives.