LANSING — Today marks the start of the MIGOP’s annual convention on Mackinac Island where party insiders will gather to kick off the 2022 cycle in earnest and hash out which issues should dominate it. But before they do that, they need to “prepare for what could be a bitter year of campaign fights” amid a messy primary climate that has already spiraled out of control.
The Republican gubernatorial field continues to gain more candidates by the day, all eager to challenge the insiders’ push to coronate James Craig. Kevin Rinke has pledged to put $10 million into his own campaign’s coffers and Garrett Soldano has referred to Craig as a RINO multiple times. Both Rinke and Soldano are skipping the island and Tudor Dixon prematurely withdrew herself from Sunday’s straw poll, all citing the rigged nature of the primary so far and highlighting just how messy and divisive things will get over the next year.
Who can best display their commitment to stoking extremist culture wars at the expense of addressing actual issues specific to Michigan and continuing to politicize public health crises will remain the singlar driving force of this primary as it exposes the fault lines among Michigan Republicans. As a clear proof point of just how divided this field is, Soldano is holding his own Mackinac counter-programming event in Antrim Country, the infamous epicenter of the baseless election fraud crusade.
And if this conference’s public schedule is any indication, the MIGOP’s top priorities aren’t far off from that going into next year.
Today’s program features panels titled “All In on Election Integrity” and “All In on Good COVID Policy.” Most of the GOP candidates cite the 2020 general election as the catalyst for their candidacies and they continue to reject the science that has kept our communities safe in the midst of this pandemic.
Additionally, they’ve either remained silent as access to abortion rights come under attack and increase the probability that Michigan women and families are impacted by draconian century-old laws or have actively welcomed the sequence of events that will criminalize reproductive health care.
MDP spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite issued the following statement:
“The idyllic backdrop of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island will do little to mask the already brewing bitter primary that is on the MIGOP’s hands. Political insiders like Ron Weiser and Meshawn Maddock can’t even get the field into the same room because even the candidates can see that they are trying to treat this gubernatorial primary like a foregone conclusion. It’s not the makings of an environment that can be expected to coalesce around whoever emerges from this primary and put up a united front against Governor Whitmer’s strong leadership next November. Going ‘All In’ on extremism comes at a cost, most of all to the issues Michiganders care about that won’t get addressed by those vying to lead the state.”