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Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, already sitting on a $2.3 million war chest in his run for governor, is set to benefit from additional aerial support.

Former Republican Governors Association executive director Phil Cox and veteran Michigan strategist Stu Sandler this week announced formation of a new super political action committee to independently support Schuette’s gubernatorial campaign.

The Better Jobs Stronger Families PAC also includes legal counsel Charlie Spies, a Michigan native and Washington, D.C., attorney who helped run massive super PACs for former presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush.

In a press release announcement, Cox and Sandler praised Schuette and noted he’s already won endorsements from GOP leaders like President Donald Trump and Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller.

“The president wants a Republican that can win, and that Republican is Bill Schuette,” said Cox, who will serve as chairman of the new committee.

Sandler, of Grand River Strategies, will act as executive director and run the day-to-day operations. Other members include media consultant Russ Schriefer, media consultant Fred Wszolek, national finance director Cara Edmundowicz, Michigan finance director Bryce Sandler and pollster Gene Ulm.

Senate leader welcomes protest against himself

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof said he was unperturbed by a handful of protesters who took part in a “march against Meekhof” Wednesday over the Senate leader’s decision to strip fellow GOP Sen. Pat Colbeck of all of his committee assignments.

A half-dozen demonstrators mostly from Colbeck’s 7th Senate District milled around the Capitol wearing shirts that demanded, “Senator Meekhof, restore our voice!”

Meekhof, R-West Olive, appeared nonplussed.

“I heard there was gonna be some activity – tea party on the porch or something. Freedom of speech. It’s great. Great to be in America,” he said.

Colbeck, who is running for governor, has said he believes he was removed from committees because he attended a Right to Life of Holland fundraiser in Meekhof’s district without first letting him know. It’s customary for senators to inform colleagues if they will be in their districts.

Protestors accused the GOP leader of trying to “humiliate” Colbeck because of his past opposition to policies that the Senate leader supported, including Medicaid expansion and increased gas taxes for road repairs.

“It’s not a swamp in Lansing… It’s a chicken coop,” they claimed.

Julie McEvoy, a retired legal secretary from Livonia, helped organize the “March against Meekhof.”

McEvoy said Meekhof abused his power by stripping Colbeck of his committee assignments, arguing the move diminished his ability to represent constituents in Lansing.

“He still serves and he has a vote, but he has no input on the committees obviously if he’s not on them,” she said.

Epstein makes GOP  ‘On the Radar’ list

The National Republican Congressional Committee has added businesswoman Lena Epstein of Bloomfield Township to its list of 31 “On the Radar” candidates.

Epstein is seeking the GOP nomination in the 11th District, where U.S. Rep. Dave Trott, R-Birmingham, is retiring next year.

On the Radar is the first of three levels of the NRCC’s Young Guns program, which requires candidates to meet specific goals for fundraising and communication in their districts.

“These 31 candidates are formidable competitors against the liberal agenda of Nancy Pelosi and the left,” NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers.

Epstein noted she is the only GOP candidate running for Congress in Michigan to make the list.

“This is further evidence that we are running the best campaign and would be the strongest nominee for the Republican Party next fall,” she said in a statement.

Stupak alleges Bergman lives outside Mich.

Former U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, who represented northern Michigan in Congress for 18 years as a Democrat, says the district’s current congressman, GOP Rep. Jack Bergman, doesn’t live in Michigan.

“I try to not be a negative person or campaigner, but we all know our current congressman does not live in the congressional district,” Stupak said last month at a meeting of the Charlevoix County Democratic Party.

“The Constitution only requires you to be elected in the state in which you live, so you could live in Detroit and still represent the First District. Well, he does one better and lives in the state of Louisiana, and he’s our congressman.”

Stupak’s comments were reported by the Petostky News-Review.

Bergman, a retired Marine lieutenant general, said while campaigning that he spends winters at his home in Louisiana, but has lived in Watersmeet in the Upper Peninsula for decades.

“Having lived a life of service to our country, as many in Michigan’s 1st District have, Gen. Bergman has been stationed around the country and the world in uniform. I guess if a former politician-turned-lobbyist wants to criticize him for service to our country, that’s Mr. Stupak’s prerogative,” Bergman spokesman James Hogge said.

Stupak said Democrats have “some work to do” before they can retake the 1st District from Republican hands, noting the messaging of the national party diverges with concerns at the local level.

“It’s changed,” Stupak said. “I don’t think we’ve changed. I think the message on the national level for the party has not been a message that plays well in rural areas. You see it all the time.”

Stupak is promoting his new book, “For All Americans: The Dramatic Story Behind the Stupak Amendment and the Historic Passage of Obamacare,” which recounts his role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

DeVos plays school teacher

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos decided to turn Monday’s White House Halloween party into a teachable moment, dressing up as Ms. Frizzle, the public school bus driver on the “Magic School Bus” book and TV series.

DeVos, who hails from the Grand Rapids area, was one of the few members of the Trump administration to attend in costume.

DeVos wore a flaming orange wig and a planet-filled black skirt as Ms. Frizzle, who would often turn her bus into a spaceship or an alligator or whatever was visually required to drive home that week’s educational lesson.

The PBS series ended 20 years ago, but Netflix overhauled and revived the series this year with “Saturday Night Live” cast member Kate McKinnon as the voice of Ms. Frizzle’s sister Fiona. McKinnon has played DeVos in “Saturday Night Live” skits.

The Frizzle costume consumed White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who was photographed pointing out DeVos to other party goers.

Contributors: Jonathan Oosting, Melissa Nann Burke, Michael Gerstein and Richard Burr

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