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Outgoing Michigan GOP chairman announces he has cancer, gives emotional farewell

Beth LeBlanc
Detroit News
Outgoing Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser, right, chats with House Speaker Lee Chatfield, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, at the MIGOP State Convention at the Lansing Center.

Lansing, Mich. – Outgoing Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser fought back emotion as he presided over his last state convention Saturday.

Weiser, who is not seeking re-election to another two-year term, said he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“I ask you for your prayers as I fight the prostate cancer that has invaded me,” Weiser said. “Thank you for your advocacy, your passion. Keep fighting. I’ll be right there fighting with you.”

Weiser also will be working as the national financial chair for the re-election campaign of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and the financial chair for the state House Republican Campaign Committee.

Weiser thanked the party faithful gathered at the Lansing Center, noting that without them Republicans would not have been able to maintain their majorities in the state House and Senate.

"We did everything we could despite a very significant headwind blowing against Republicans," Weiser said, noting Democrats "should have swept everything as we did" in 2010.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, former chairwoman for the MRP, thanked Weiser and those who ran for office in 2018.

"Ron never retires," McDaniel said. "He gives everything to all that he does.”

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel addresses the crowd at the state convention, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, at the Lansing Center.

Weiser, a longtime political power broker and fundraiser, replaced McDaniel in 2017. He has served on the University of Michigan Board of Regents since 2016, and will continue in that that role through Jan. 1, 2025, according to his biography on the UM website.

He founded real estate investment company McKinley Associates Inc. in 1968 and served as its CEO and chairman through 2001. Weiser served as U.S. Ambassador to the Slovak Republic from 2001 through 2005 under former President George W. Bush.

Delegates on Saturday chose former state lawmaker Laura Cox of Livonia to replace Weiser and lead the party in the 2020 election cycle.


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