10th District GOP panel demands Courser’s resignation

Detroit News staff

GOP panel demands Courser’s resignation

The executive committee of the 10th Congressional District Republican Party sent embattled state Rep. Todd Courser a terse letter this week demanding the Lapeer Republican’s immediate resignation over his “deception” involving his romance with Rep. Cindy Gamrat.

The letter by district Chairman Stanley Grot told Courser he has “brought dishonor and embarrassment to the people of Lapeer County and Michigan’s 10th Congressional District.”

Courser had been considering a run for Congress in the 10th District next year before The Detroit News revealed Aug. 7 the existence of audio tapes showing Courser plotting to smear himself with a phony homosexual sex scandal in an effort to conceal his relationship with Gamrat.

“You demonstrate a selfish attitude by invoking God’s name while quietly working to promote your devious agenda,” Grot wrote. “... By your own actions you have proven you’re a hypocrite.”

Courser hasn’t disagreed that his extramarital behavior was hypocritical to his pro-family agenda.

“Instantly I have been shown to be a hypocrite in my life, a liar, a laughable joke; much if not all of that is presently justified,” Courser wrote in a Facebook confessional last weekend.

Grot’s letter echoed the scorn U.S. Rep. Candice Millerunleashed on Courser the day the scandal broke. Miller, R-Harrison Township, called Courser a “moralist” who “never passes on an opportunity to preach about his supposed morals and his close relationship with God.”

“Instead of resigning to begin the healing process for all parties involved, you decided to double down and continue to embarrass us,” Grot wrote. “Your actions have deeply harmed the Republican family brand.”

Courser claims to be the victim of a political hit job by the “Lansing mafia.”

‘Lansing mafia’ blamed

Rep. Todd Courser describes the “Lansing mafia” as a shadowy wing of the Republican Party establishment that establishes whether GOP lawmakers are succesful in Lansing.

And this “mafia” — or perhaps “cartel” is the word — apparently is to blame for Courser and Rep. Cindy Gamrat having among the worst campaign fundraising drives this year of any freshmen lawmakers.

Courser reported raising $1,845.16 from Jan. 1 through July 20, with $300 coming from his own pocket. Courser, an attorney, also lists more than $46,000 in debts.

Gamrat said she raised $2,220.16 during the first seven months of the year and has no debt, according to an amended campaign finance report filed Wednesday.

By comparison, freshmen in the Democratic minority have raised more than Gamrat and Courser combined. Detroit Reps. Wendell Byrd, Fred Durhal III and Stephanie Chang raised $9,370, $8,700 and $8,150, respectively, during the reporting period, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Courser and Gamrat’s conservative freshmen counterparts have massive campaign warchests by comparison.

Midland Rep. Gary Glenn, who started the year closely aligned with Gamrat and Courser but has since called for their resignations, raised $48,681 in less than seven months in office. GOP Rep. Lee Chatfield of Emmet County raised $42,081. During an event in Allegan County last month promoting GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz, Gamrat blamed the powerful forces that control the flow of campaign donations on her lackluster fundraising.

“There is also a Lansing cartel,” Gamrat said. “It takes a certain amount of money ... to get your message out. It’s just a reality.”

GOP presidential hopeful Rubio to speak

Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio will become on Thursday the latest GOP candidate to use a speech to the Detroit Economic Club to tout his White House plans.

The first-term Republican senator from Florida “will describe how his pro-growth, pro-innovation policies can transform the economy and change the lives of families by helping them achieve the American Dream. Rubio will hold up Detroit as a symbol of both America’s great past and the extraordinary possibilities that await us if we embrace a new generation of leadership,” according to the Economic Club.

The speech is expected to begin after 12:30 p.m. at the Westin Book Cadillac hotel.

The Cuban-American lawmaker also plans a meet-and-greet event at the Livonia Victory Center in Livonia at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Rubio is expected to do fundraising while in town.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush made a speech to the Detroit Economic Club outlining his vision for a “right to rise society” in February, tying it to Detroit’s emergence from bankruptcy. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky also have addressed the business group during the past two years.

Chad Livengood and David Shepardson contributed

“I really didn’t think my life here would be like an episode of ‘House of Cards.’ ”

Former House aide Ben Graham in a recorded May 21 meeting with GOP Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat before their office romance and Courser’s attempted cover-up was revealed