Rep. Walberg hits Romney, but won’t endorse
U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, is one of the few members of Michigan’s congressional delegation who hasn’t endorsed a candidate in the Republican presidential primary.
But Walberg last week criticized Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee, who spoke out against Donald Trump’s candidacy and called Trump a “phony.” Walberg said he thought Romney’s anti-Trump remarks in Utah would help Trump, rather than hurt him.
“When a candidate can take on the pope and come out on top, and you hear the anger of people out there against the so-called establishment, I don’t understand where Romney was at,” Walberg told the radio station WKHM-AM.
Walberg also said he had changed his mind on who he’d vote for, following last week’s GOP debate in Detroit.
“I’m not going to do an endorsement publicly because, frankly, we’ve seen very clearly that the people don’t want to hear from elected officials on who they should vote,” Walberg said.
“Yesterday, Mitt Romney made a big mistake. Even though I like Mitt Romney — I worked hard to get him elected — the people are making this decision, and they’re making it for various reasons, whether it’s attitude, anger, frustration, worry, concern or policy. But I changed my mind on who I’m voting for after last night.”
Miller keeps options open
Retiring U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, still hasn’t made up her mind about whether she will run for public office again. Miller is widely viewed as a potential candidate for Michigan governor in 2018.
“I’m looking forward to whatever comes next. I’m not sure what,” Miller said last week at a Women’s History Month event at the Library of Congress.
“I might run for office again. I might not. I might go back into the private sector.”
Miller recalled running for office for the first time as a single mom in her 20s and not being able to afford a babysitter while campaigning. So she pulled her daughter along in a wagon as she went door to door around the township.
Apparently, she made an impression because she was elected, becoming the first female supervisor in Harrison Township, she said.
Miller later became the first female treasurer to serve Macomb County and the first female secretary of state in Michigan. Currently, she is the only woman chairing a House committee in Congress, heading the Administration Committee.
She lamented that certain subject areas are considered “women’s issues,” such as health and education.
“All issues are women’s issues,” she said, noting she is vice chair of the Homeland Security Committee.
“We need more women involved in politics — whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, whether you’re running for Congress or your own school board.”
Miller said the culture of Congress would be different if women made up a larger percentage of membership — namely, there would be more consensus building. Her advice for young women entering politics is to seek a balance between family and professional life “because you have to.”
Forlini joins Congress race
State Rep. Anthony G. Forlini, R-Harrison Township, is running for Congress to succeed Candice Miller, who is retiring at the end of the term.
Forlini, first elected to the Legislature in 2010, is a certified financial planner who has lived in Harrison Township since 1987. He previously served as a township supervisor from 2004-11.
Forlini joins a Republican primary race that includes retired businessman Paul Mitchell of Dryden Township; state Sen. Phil Pavlov of St. Clair Township; and former state Sen. Alan Sanborn of Richmond. State Sen. Jack Brandenburg announced in January that he would not run.
Miller said in March 2015 that she would retire at the end of 2016 after seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. The 10th Congressional District, which is solidly Republican, includes northern Macomb County and St. Clair, Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac and Lapeer counties.
Benishek aide seeks office
A former spokesman for Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, Philip Christofanelli, 26, is running for the state Legislature in suburban St. Louis.
Christofanelli is a Republican candidate in Saint Charles County’s 105th District. He won his first election at age 21 to serve on the Missouri Republican State Committee, according to his campaign biography.
Previously, he worked for Benishek as press spokesman starting in January 2015, and as a legislative correspondent and intern starting in 2013. He is a 2011 graduate of the Washington University in St. Louis.
Contributor: Melissa Nann Burke