LANSING — As MDP laid out in a state of the race memo released last week, Republicans just can’t seem to recruit a single viable candidate to compete in the primary for governor after “dream candidate” Candice Miller passed. In fact, the past few days have reinforced that the severely out-of-focus MIGOP is occupied with absolutely everything else but 2022, giving those on the fringes huge openings to sully this still non-existent race.
Here’s where things stand for the distracted and extreme MIGOP as yet another month of the “sweet spot for jumping on in right now” gets wasted:
MIGOP’s 6th Congressional District’s executive committee’s 26 members voted unanimously to eject its treasurer Jason Watts. His crime? Speaking publicly about his bout with COVID-19 — believed to be contracted at a committee meeting — that landed him in the hospital as a cautionary tale to take the pandemic seriously. Additionally, he called out committee meetings for being maskless and over social distancing capacity. Watts aired his frustrations on the way out: “It used to be a party of ideas and coming together for limited government and lower taxes and a strong national defense. Now it’s how strongly did you support Trump.”
The party continued to eat its own over the weekend as it launched a campaign to censure and oust MIGOP executive director Jason Roe for exhibiting a brief moment of clarity in laying 2020’s presidential loss where it belongs — squarely at the feet of Donald Trump, not voter fraud. “Frankly, continuing to humor him merely excuses [Trump’s] role in this,” said Roe. “The election wasn’t stolen, he blew it.”
And now this morning, the Republican primary for governor welcomed its latest fringe competitor: Garrett Soldano, another lockstep Trump supporter. His most recent failures include using bogus signatures and lying to the public to wage a failed battle against long-standing Michigan state law, being questioned by the FBI for extremism, and getting banned by Facebook for ‘advocating the spread of COVID-19.’ There is no path to victory for Garrett, a literal snake oil salesman that pushed juicing as an alternative to seeking medical treatment for coronavirus.
“To the question of whether this is the best Republicans can offer in this primary, entries like Garrett Soldano prove that it can always get worse,” said Rodericka Applewhaite, MDP spokesperson. “Historically, this race would’ve gotten off the ground months ago, and party members are starting to notice. When there are as many fringe candidates as total candidates competing for the top of the ticket, something is gravely wrong. Not only are more credible candidates independently determining that challenging Gov. Whitmer’s strong record isn’t worth the effort, the MIGOP is too consumed by petty infighting and pushing far-right conspiracies to convince them otherwise. With days to go until May, this recruitment multi-car pileup in progress shows no signs of stopping.