Political Insider: A Cowboys fan in Lions territory

Detroit News staff

With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced as the keynote speaker for the Macomb County Republican Party’s Lincoln Dinner fundraiser March 27, a little ribbing about football loyalties might be in order.

“We understand the important role Michigan will play in the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and the important role Macomb County plays in winning any statewide contest, and so do the contenders for the nomination,” Linda Torp, chairwoman for the county party, said about the event.

But, no doubt, some attendees at Palazzo Grande Banquet and Event Center in Shelby Township will be devout Detroit Lions fans harboring keen memories of Christie’s jubilant celebration with owner Jerry Jones in the Dallas Cowboys owner’s private box, which was beamed on national TV Jan. 4 when the Cowboys edged the Lions 24-20 in a first-round playoff game.

Primary battles

Michigan Republicans’ 2016 presidential primary election promises to be a hot topic at the state party convention Saturday in Lansing, especially considering the can of worms the Legislature has created.

Bowing to national party demands, the state Senate’s GOP majority passed a bill that would move the Michigan’s current Feb. 23 state presidential primary date forward three weeks to March 15. The party wants to end the scramble among states to get the jump on traditional early presidential candidate tests in Iowa, New Hampshire and a couple other states.

But the House, also with a Republican majority, amended that bill to set the date for March 8. The reasoning had something to do with property tax boards of review being held on March 15 each year.

Meanwhile, there’s a school of thought within the party that the GOP should dispense with the current “open” primary format, in which any Michigan voter could cast a ballot for a Republican presidential contender, in favor of a closed primary. It could be discussed at Saturday’s convention.

The business of scheduling primaries clearly has become a bumpy ride. Watch out, voters.

Oakland fight may emerge

Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner, a Democrat, is considered in some Democratic and Republican circles as a potential challenger next year to L. Brooks Patterson’s 24-year reign as county executive.

The 76-year-old incumbent has indicated he intends to seek re-election to a seventh four-year term, but Meisner’s candidacy remains to be seen.

Still, Meisner used his time on stage at last Saturday’s Michigan Democratic Party convention to take a shot at Patterson while arguing for more taxpayer investment in creating a mass transportation system in Metro Detroit.

“Two words and an initial: L. Brooks Patterson,” Meisner said.

Patterson famously opposed a $600 million regional subway envisioned by the late Detroit Mayor Coleman Young.

“We have not had the leadership in this region to take a stand and fight for and win the sort of smart investments that make sense for our region,” Meisner said.

Patterson pointed out last year that he has many pro-Detroit achievements, including support for a Regional Transit Authority as well as a regional authority for Cobo Center that improved the facility and cleaned up corrupt contracts.

Bipartisan boot wearing

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, hobbled on to stage at last Saturday’s Democratic Party convention sporting the same kind of boot Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is wearing on his right leg from an ruptured tendon.

Kildee suffered a hairline fracture in his leg while exercising last month.

“The governor’s not the only one wearing one of these — and it’s the only thing he and I have in common,” Kildee said.

Contributors: Gary Heinlein and Chad Livengood

“This guy said right-to-work was not on his agenda. You saw clearly he was only half-decided. He’s saying now that (repealing) prevailing wage is not on his agenda. Well, friends, I think we’ve heard that one before.” — Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner on Gov. Rick Snyder not supporting a repeal of the state’s prevailing wage law.