U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee recently compared Gov. Rick Snyder to segregationist George Wallace for the state’s continued enforcement of a ban on same-sex marriage — despite multiple federal court rulings overturning bans in Michigan and other states.
“This governor stands in the shoes of governors who have stood in the doorway of a schoolhouse and denied minority children access,” Kildee said Aug. 7 at an event in Bay City, according to Mlive.com.
On Wednesday, Kildee launched an online petition calling on Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette to drop a lawsuit defending Michigan’s constitutional ban against gays and lesbians marrying.
In an interview this week, the Flint Township Democrat did not back down from comparing Republican Snyder to Wallace — the former Alabama governor who stood in a doorway in June 1963 and blocked two black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama. Wallace also won Michigan’s 1972 Democratic presidential primary.
Kildee said Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette’s pursuit of an appeal of a federal judge’s ruling overturning Michigan’s voter-imposed gay marriage ban is no different than the segregationist policies Wallace promoted during the Civil Rights era.
“My warning to public officials who oppose LGBT rights and full equality is that history will not treat you well,” Kildee told The Detroit News.
Snyder and Schuette have said they’re bound to uphold Michigan’s constitution, though the attorney general has been more forceful about that duty than the governor. Supporters of the ban also note the U.S. Supreme Court passed last year on an opportunity to call such bans unconstitutional by declining a California case.
“I suppose that Gov. Wallace and many others thought they were upholding their state laws,” Kildee said.
The comparison to an scorned racist drew outrage from Snyder’s re-election campaign, especially after gubernatorial opponent Mark Schauer’s communications director, Zack Pohl, said on Twitter that Kildee dropped a “truth bomb” on the governor.
“That kind of divisive rhetoric has no place in any gubernatorial campaign,” Snyder spokeswoman Emily Benavides said. “Michiganders deserve better.”
Cruz quietly travels to Michigan for events
Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz made a quiet visit to Michigan Sunday and Monday, meeting with Republican Party activists in events that were kept hush-hush until photos of the tea party stalwart and potential 2016 presidential candidate surfaced on social media.
Cruz appeared at four events over the two-day period organized by Ron Weiser, the Ann Arbor developer and national Republican fundraiser with connections throughout the country.
Weiser is seeking the GOP nomination at the Aug. 23 state convention to run for the University of Michigan Board of Regents in the November general election.
The meetings were held in Detroit, Novi, Grand Blanc and Utica over the two days as seen by some party insiders as a way for Weiser to woo delegate voters for his UM regent nomination.
Weiser would not comment directly on the nature of Cruz’s visit, but submitted this written statement to The News: “I am proud to have Senator Cruz’s support and enjoyed meeting with precinct delegates about the future of our party.”
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley was among those who attended a Sunday dinner with Cruz at Detroit’s Book-Cadillac hotel.
Wendy Day, a tea party activist from Howell who lost a GOP House primary last week, attended the Detroit and Novi events after being invited by Weiser.
Cruz spoke in general terms about the “great strides Michigan has made becoming a right-to-work state and with our economy improving,” Day said.
“He did not come across as someone who was stumping for president,” Day told The News. “It wasn’t really ‘vote for Ron Weiser.’ It was really let’s talk about America, let’s talk about the future of Michigan.”
Huckabee follows Cruz at Lansing event
As it turns out, Cruz made another unannounced stop in Michigan.
On Monday night, Cruz spoke to a convention of 450 pastors and spouses at a Lansing hotel hosted by the American Renewal Project, an initiative of evangelical Christian leader David Lane.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ran for the Republican nomination for president in 2008 and has been mentioned as a possible 2016 contender, followed Cruz’s act with a speech Tuesday morning before the gathering of pastors, Lane confirmed in an email.
Brown campaign committee created
After four months and a week of campaigning to be Michigan’s next lieutenant governor, Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown finally has formed a campaign committee.
Brown officially filed Monday to create a campaign committee with the Bureau of Elections, but back dated the formation to April 3 — the day Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mark Schauer named Brown his running mate.
The committee, which was named “Lisa Brown’s Committee to Elect Mark Schauer,” was formed after the Bureau of Elections opened an investigation into the Michigan Republican Party’s complaint that Brown was breaking the rules. A state law requires candidates to form committees within 10 days of becoming a candidate for office.
Most lieutenant governor candidates in recent history have formed a committee within a month of being named to the No. 2 spot on their party’s statewide ticket.
Just 2 Duggan primary endorsements fail to win
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan had a successful Aug. 5 primary election when six of his eight endorsed Democratic candidates won.
Former Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans won the Wayne County executive race, while almost all of Duggan’s endorsed candidates in the state House were victorious. The lone loss in the House races was in District 7 — where Nicole Wells Stallworth of Detroit lost to union-backed LaTanya Garrett of Detroit, whose favorite campaign tactic was to decline interviews with most media for alleged fear of having her positions distorted.
Duggan’s big strikeout was when he ventured into suburban Senate District 13, where his endorsement of 26-year-old Birmingham attorney Ryan Fishman was soundly defeated by voters who preferred United Auto Workers union-backed Clawson teacher Cyndi Peltonen. Fishman’s 18-1 spending advantage and the Duggan endorsement didn’t work magic in the Oakland County district.
Contributors: Chad Livengood and Richard Burr