September 20-22 was a very busy time for Michigan Republican and Conservative activists. It was the biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference. This event is traditionally the kickoff point for most campaigns for statewide office as well as an excellent time for activists to get together and fellowship. If you attended the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference, a couple of things were very clear.
1. Terri Lynn Land has overwhelming support from the party faithful.
Everywhere you went on the Island you saw a flood of red t-shirts with Terri's name and logo. She had excited volunteers who were getting petition signatures and handing out stickers. Terri was greeted like a rock star wherever she went and the party faithful was very excited about working to make sure Terri is our next US Senator.
2. The rest of the ticket is starting to shape up without much controversy.
The races for our education board seats are shaping up. Jeff Sakwa and Melanie Foster seem to be the consensus candidates for MSU Trustee. They had a large army of volunteers and their party at the Aubudon Wine Bar at the Grand Hotel was VERY well attended. Mitch Lyons, Dave Agema, and hundreds of activists watched the MSU/Notre Dame game with Melanie and Jeff. While Scott Schultz also had a small presence on the Island, his event was poorly attended and he was not nearly as well received.
Ron Weiser was the only candidate for University of Michigan Regent with a presence on the Island. Everywhere you looked you saw his Maize and Blue T-shirts and footballs emblazoned with his logo, "Playing offense to defend Freedom to Work". His party at Horns on Friday night was packed by excited activists and supporters eager to hear Senator Rand Paul and Governor Scott Walker. While other potential candidates for Regent were on the Island, Ambassador Weiser had the only real presence.
Brian Pannebecker, Gov Scott Walker, Ron Weiser and Scott Hagerstrom
Attorney General Schuette, Secretary of State Johnson, Governor Snyder and Lt. Governor Calley also had a large presence on the Island with signs, stickers, and supporters.
Straw Poll Results
Decider Strategies and Gongwer News took over the Straw Poll this year and the results were very interesting.
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley beat challenger Wes Nakagiri 86-14%, with 432 votes for Calley and 69 for Nakagiri.
In the presidential poll, Senator Rand Paul, who spoke at the conference Saturday, had 188 votes, or 36%, Governor Chris Christie, had 82 votes, or 16%. Next closest was former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, with 42 votes, or 8%. Following Bush were Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, each with 7%, Senator John Thune of South Dakota, received 12 votes, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, received seven votes.