Watching the Republican primary for Governor

This morning, while at the gym, I saw the following attack ad against Republican candidate for Governor, Pete Hoekstra. I particularly liked the part about that “tax funded abortions” that Hoekstra seems to be in favor of. According to the small print, the ad was “paid for by Michigan Business United.” Furthermore, it says it’s “not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.”

But, the third man in the Republican race for the nomination, Rick Snyder, came out this afternoon suggesting that Cox might be coordinating these attacks. The following video, according to the Snyder campaign, shows one of their volunteers seeking to question Mr. Gust Ghanam, the man behind Michigan Business United. (Ghanam is the Superintendent of Sanitation for Warren, Michigan.) I know that video can be misleading, as we saw earlier this week with Shirley Sherrod, but it certainly looks as though this fellow has something to hide. Snyder is asking for an investigation, but it seems unlikely as candidate Cox is presently Michigan’s Attorney General.

According to the polling data, it’s a three person race at this point, with Cox in the lead by less than one percentage point. Here’s a graphic from the Detroit News showing the breakdown. The accompanying article also contains the following, which may go toward explaining why the above Cox ad plays up abortion so heavily. (I love it when it comes down to a competition as to who wants to kill babies less.)

…Though Cox has the Right to Life of Michigan endorsement, Hoekstra has a slight advantage over him among voters who are anti-abortion advocates. Cox trails Hoekstra among anti-abortion voters 29.1 percent to 26.5 percent, but he leads Hoekstra 28.7 percent to 17.9 percent among Republican voters who favor abortion rights…

Seems like a big gamble, though, if I’m reading this right. Cox, it would seem, wants to come out as more pro-life than Hoekstra, in hopes of picking up some of those anti-abortion voters currently in the other camp. But, if this is correct, Cox might have a lot more to lose than he does to gain by doing so, as he currently leads Hoekstra by over ten points when it comes to Republicans who favor abortion rights. Of course, that population might be quite a bit smaller. (I wonder how many pro-abortion rights Republicans there are in Michigan, percentage-wise.) Still, it seems as though coming out as the “real” pro-life candidate might cost him some votes too. At any rate, I think it’s interesting.michigan_governor_race_poll

And, to further complicate things, it looks as though Hoekstra just joined the lunatics of the Tea Party Caucus.

And, it’s because of all this, that a number of progressive friends are planning to cross the line come August 3, to vote for Snyder in the Republican primary. As most people seem to think that a Republican Governor is a given come November, due to the less than stellar performance of Jennifer Granholm these past eight years, I can see the logic in it. I’m concerned, however, that there might be an adverse affect on the Democratic primaries further down the ticket. For instance, in Ann Arbor, might more people opting out to vote for Snyder, help Democratic mayoral challenger Pat Lesko in her run against incumbent John Hieftje? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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  1. Tim
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Cox comes across like a thug.

    Here’s the full text of the Snyder letter:

    For Immediate Release
    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    Snyder Campaign Raises Concerns About Coordination Between Michigan Business United And Cox Campaign On Negative Attack Ads

    Snyder Campaign Urges Macomb And Wayne County Prosecutors To Investigate

    Ann Arbor, MI — Yesterday, Rick for Michigan Campaign volunteers and young staff members attempted to lawfully and respectfully question Gust Ghanam, the registered agent of Michigan Business United, about potential coordination of false, negative attacks ads with the Mike Cox 2010 Committee. They were met hostilely and Mr. Ghanam aggressively approached a young volunteer attempting to ask legitimate questions. This incident seriously raises into question the issue of illegal coordination between Mr. Ghanam and the Cox Campaign.

    For a video compilation of the incident, please click here.

    To watch Michigan Business United’s false, negative attack ad, click here.

    “While the legal ramifications of this incident are still pending and cannot be discussed, it is obvious from Mr. Gahanam’s aggressive behavior that he has something to hide from the citizens of Michigan,” said campaign spokesman Jake Suski. “We urge the Macomb and Wayne County Prosecutors’ office to fully investigate this matter and ensure that state laws are being abided by. Just yesterday Mike Cox was talking about transparency – he has a chance here to walk the walk. Yet it would be an ‘urban legend’ to expect the Attorney General to investigate this incident and the likely coordination between his campaign and Michigan Business United.”

    Mr. Ghanam is a public servant, serving as the Superintendent of Sanitation for Warren, Michigan. It appears that a large portion of his time has been spent in mud-slinging politics rather than service to the citizens of Warren.

    Gust Ghanam filed Macomb Business United as an independent political action committee with the state on July 14, 2009. Macomb Business United lists its address as 2 Crocker Boulevard, Suite 202, Mount Clemens, Michigan (48043). As it happens, this is the exact same address used by the Michigan Civic Educational Fund on February 5, 2010, when it purchased advertising time on station WJR-AM. This advertising time was used to run attack ads against Rick Snyder from February 8 through 12, 2010.

    According to the Macomb Daily (02/10/10): “A newly created nonprofit organization that has launched a campaign that’s bashing two Republican candidates for governor is associated with notorious Macomb County political consultants and local political activists who are supporting GOP front-runner Mike Cox The MCEF was formed in November by attorney Cecil St. Pierre, attorney Mike Greiner and Warren Assistant City Attorney Jeff Schroder, according to state documents. They have hired political consultant Joe Munem.” (

    On July 31, 2009, Macomb Business United was served notice that it had failed to file the necessary campaign disclosure reports as required by the Michigan Campaign Finance Act. On August 20, 2009, Macomb Business United was sent a notice for its failure to file, and on October 9, 2009, was sent another notice, but apparently, the group continued to laugh at the law.

    Macomb Business United filed a financial disclosure report with Macomb County for the period ending December 31, 2009. It shows that the group raised $21,100.00 and spent $16,502.24. $9,500.00 of that amount went to “Mike Cox”, who was listed as the candidate and committee contributed to.

    Unfortunately, no address was listed, or office sought. The contribution was listed as an independent expenditure in support of “Mike Cox”, but the type of expenditure wasn’t given. This contribution to “Mike Cox” was made within 24 hours of a donation of $10,000 to Macomb Business United from the Commanders Majority Fund.

    This disclosure was filed with Macomb County, but not with the Secretary of State’s office (

    For 2010, Macomb Business United changed its name to Michigan Business United. On January 13, 2010, the group received its final notice concerning its failure to file. On April 20, 2010, the group paid a fine for failing to file. As of that date, the group reported to the Secretary of State that it had no funds.
    American’s for Job Security (AJS) recently launched similar false, negative attack ads and Michigan Truth Squad suspected coordination then:

    “AJS’ address listed on its 2007 federal tax return is 66 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 555, Alexandria, VA 22314. That is the same address as WWP Strategies, a consultant for Mike Cox for Governor, according to the Hoekstra campaign, as confirmed by Cox spokesman Nick DeLeeuw and reported in a May 3, 2010, Gongwer story that lists WWP consultants Katie Packer, Fred Wszolek and Lori Wortz as advisers. However, WWP oddly does not list any contact information on its company website. The ads are produced by Crossroads Media, which also has the same address as AJS.” ( Michigan Truth Squad story )

    Michigan Business United also used Crossroads Media to purchase their ads.

  2. Jules
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Completely off topic, but Mark, since I first learned about goatse from your site, I thought of you when I saw this. V=

  3. Kim
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    No, Jules, I think that’s very much on topic. It pretty much sums up how I feel as a voter.

  4. Katie L.
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    The best Hoekstra video ever:

  5. Knox
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I like the shot of the Hoekstra stand-in drinking champaign as the Dems are voting tax-payer-funded abortions into law. Maybe next week they’ll have video of him gnawing on a fat baby leg.

  6. Edward
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been thinking about all the Democrats, especially here in Ypsi and Ann Arbor that will be crossing the line to vote for Snyder, and I do think it helps Lesko/Murdock, as their proponents come across as quite a bit more angry and energetic. The supporters of Hieftje and Schreiber in contrast are much more laid back about the whole thing and complacent, at least at a local level. I think there could be upsets.

  7. Bob
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I can’t put my finger on it exactly but something about Snyder gives me the creeps even more. At least you know what Cox is about. It’s going to be painful if any of them is the next gov.

  8. Tyrell Bottom
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Snyder pissed me off when he came out as “pro life,” but there’s no way to win as a Republican in Michigan if you’re not. The fundies on the west side of the state are a little less crazy than usual at the moment, which is one nice unintended consequence of having such a bad economy, but they still vote pro-life, even if the economy is more of a pressing concern. So, he did what he had to do. I just hate bullshit game playing like that. On the whole, though, I think he’s a pretty solid guy.

  9. Posted July 23, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the goatse. I’ll get it up on the front page just as soon as I can. And, for what it’s worth, I’m certain that Snyder is the best of all the options, at least on the Republican side.

  10. Robert
    Posted July 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    A few weeks ago, threats were made against the life of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. As state attorney general it was Mike Cox’s responsibility to investigate, but Instead he passed the buck to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s office to look into it.

    Cox won’t investigate his masters in organized crime. The leash they have on him is tight, and he thinks it’s cute to set up those liberal prosecutors in Ann Arbor to bash their heads into that brick wall.

    He thwarted the state police investigators investigation into the Manoogian Mansion party and the contracted hit of Tamara Greene. He was serving his real bosses then too.

    When Cox becomes governor of Michigan you can be sure the most organized criminals in the state will have a field day with your tax dollars.

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