Political Insider: Ryan PAC aids Upton with $400K in ads

President Donald Trump dimmed the chances of a bipartisan deal on immigration reform when he reportedly bashed Haiti and African countries last week, Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Upton said Tuesday

The super political action committee endorsed by House Republican leadership says it has reserved $400,000 in television airtime in southwest Michigan to help defend U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph. 

The Congressional Leadership Fund, which has a field office in Upton's 6th District, said the reservations are part of a $13 million round of television advertising reservations for the fall, bringing its total to $85 million. 

Upton faces Democrat Matt Longjohn of Portage in November. The district is among those Democrats have targeted to flip in the midterm elections.

Upton, who took office in 1987, chaired the influential House Energy & Commerce Committee until he termed out in 2016.

Schuette pushes Kavanaugh vote

Michigan gubernatorial hopeful Bill Schuette on Monday urged the U.S. Senate to hold a confirmation vote this week on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh despite sexual misconduct allegations.

Schuette, a Republican who is endorsed by President Donald Trump and previously called Kavanaugh’s nomination a “home run,” spoke on the Supreme Court controversy after reports surfaced that a second woman is accusing Kavanaugh of wrongdoing decades earlier without corroborating witnesses.

“I’m going to let the United States Senate determine this,” Schuette said when asked about the allegations. “There should be a hearing and then a vote. Have a hearing, let every voice be heard, and then the senators should vote.”

Attorney General Bill Schuette talks with reporters at the Kent County GOP headquarters in Grand Rapids on Sept. 24, 2018.

Schuette declined to weigh in on the allegations themselves, repeatedly telling reporters senators should hear testimony on the accusations “and then go and vote up or down.”

Kavanaugh and one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, are set to testify Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Democrats have called on Schuette to drop his support for Kavanaugh, pointing to his claim to be a “voice for victims” as the state’s sitting attorney general.

“He needs to side with survivors, stand up to the Republican chaos in Washington, and drop his support for Brett Kavanaugh immediately,” Michigan Democratic Chairman Brandon Dillon said in a statement.

Bush praises Betsy DeVos

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is far from Trump’s biggest fan, but the former GOP presidential primary candidate is a staunch supporter of controversial U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

“I’m a big fan of hers and a friend,” Bush said Monday in DeVos’ hometown of Grand Rapids after speaking at the West Michigan Policy Forum.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush

“Education policy is really state-driven,” he said. “Legislatures and governors drive the policies and their implemented at the local level. We have a Secretary of Education that really gets that.”

Bush is the founder and chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, whose nonprofit board DeVos previously sat on. They’re both school choice advocates and have worked together on reform efforts.

“She’s a strong advocate of a bottom-up approach to this and empowering parents,” Bush said. “I think she’s done a great job on that. The people in the reform community aren’t asking for the federal government to do much but get out of the way.” 

El-Sayed forms lefty PAC

Former Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed , who finished second in Michigan’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, isn’t content to sit out the general election.

El-Sayed on Tuesday launched Southpaw Michigan, a “progressive” political action committee that aims to “organize for down ballot candidates and causes” ahead of the November election and beyond.

Michigan Democratic gubernatorial  candidate Abdul El-Sayed at Cobo Center.

El-Sayed announced the PAC in an interview with POLITICO, saying he wanted to build on momentum from his own campaign, which peaked late with visits from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  

“That energy did not go away with the conclusion of our campaign. In fact, it’s grown: Michiganders are ready to take back our politics and build a more just, equitable, and sustainable future for our children,” El-Sayed said in a statement.

Southpaw is initially supporting Democratic attorney general candidate Dana Nessel, Democratic Michigan Supreme Court nominees Sam Bagenstos and Megan Kavanaugh, and statewide ballot proposals for marijuana legalization, a redistricting committee and voting rights.

Contributors: Jonathan Oosting and Melissa Nann Burke