July 3, 2014 at 1:00 am

Political insider: Campaign committee worthy of thy name

Hagerstrom )

As the election season starts to fire up, the Insider has found its favorite Michigan legislative campaign committee name so far.

It was created to back Democratic state Senate 4th District candidate Howard Worthy of Detroit: “God Jesus Elect Howard Worthy State Senator” with the accompanying acronym of TGBTG (“To God Be The Glory”). The committee’s statement of organization includes hand-drawn images of crosses.

“The reason I had to do that is because of Proverbs 3:5-6: acknowledge him in all thy ways,” Worthy told the Insider. “I place that on all documents.”

Worthy, a perennial candidate for state and local offices, is the third wheel of sorts in an Aug. 5 Democratic primary battle featuring incumbent Sen. Virgil Smith and state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, both of Detroit.

This isn’t the first time the self-described traveling “evangelist” has invoked a higher power in his bid for an elected office.

In 2012, Worthy came in third in a four-way Democratic state House primary in the 35th District in the Southfield area.

The name of his committee then: “(God Elect) Howard Worthy.”

That year, Worthy listed Bible verses for the campaign committee’s phone number, fax, email address and website.

Disappearing Conyers signs

The re-election campaign for Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, can attest that some people are particularly aggressive about trying to clean up Detroit.

Early last week, four blue Conyers signs were posted outside the congressman’s home in the city, and nearby houses had the signs as well. By Friday, they were gone.

The Conyers family didn’t do it, campaign spokesman Ron Scott said.

“It’s that time of the year — taking signs time of the year,” Scott said, adding his suspicion that political opponents likely stole them.

Ads shift focus

Americans for Prosperity spent $4.34 million in the first six months of this year on television ads attacking U.S. Rep. Gary Peters’vote for “Obamacare” — also known as the Affordable Care Act of 2010, according to spending data compiled by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Now the conservative political group is turning its attention to state House and Senate races.

AFP plans to spend more than $1 million this summer “educating” voters in state legislative primaries, state director Scott Hagerstrom said.

The group will use radio ads, billboards, robocalls and mail literature to inform voters on which candidates and incumbents support expanding the Medicaid health insurance program for low-income residents, the Detroit “bailout” for city pensioners and Common Core education standards, Hagerstrom said.

“We really want to drive the debate on these issues,” Hagerstrom said.

“We believe these are issues that will continue to be at the forefront of the Legislature for the next couple of years.”

Hagerstrom said AFP will be active in 23 House primaries and one Republican Senate primary in the 37th District in the Traverse City area featuring state Reps. Wayne Schmidt and Greg MacMaster.

Hagerstrom would not disclose the group’s exact budget for trying to influence state House and Senate primaries, but said it’s “seven figures” and less than $2 million.

Capitol parking lot patch-up

Lawmakers may be gone from the Capitol for now, but the skirmishing over failed road repair funding legislation goes on.

Democrats noticed workmen doing some patching in the lawmaker parking lot on the north side of the Capitol on Wednesday and made that part of their campaign to keep the heat on the Republican majority. The work, they said, was around the spot reserved for Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger of Marshall.

“Speaker, Lansing Republicans Caught Fixing Their Own Reserved Parking Lot While on Summer Vacation” was the overheated heading on a Democratic news release pointing out that, meanwhile, there’s not enough money to fix all the potholes on roads taxpayers use.

The Detroit News investigated and did find some orange cones in the lawmaker parking area.

But they didn’t appear to be at Bolger’s spot; they were closer to the parking spaces of House Clerk Gary Randall and Rep. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford.

Politics and baseball polls

While testing the strengths of politicians, the North Carolina-based Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling always asks Michiganians some lighter questions about their favorite sports teams.

In PPP’s June 26-29 statewide survey, registered voters were less optimistic about the Detroit Tigers winning their first World Series in 30 years than they were in an April survey as the season started.

Prior to a slump in May, 88 percent of Michiganians surveyed said the Tigers would make the playoffs and 42 percent were confident they would win the World Series.

But last weekend’s poll found faith in a World Series title has dropped to 29 percent for a team that remains in first place in the American League’s Central Division.

Contributors: Chad Livengood, Richard Burr, Gary Heinlein

Hagerstrom )
Conyers (Daniel Mears / The Detroit News)