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Schuitmaker launches run for Michigan attorney general

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — Michigan state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker on Tuesday launched her campaign to seek the Republican nomination for attorney general, setting up a potential convention showdown with House Speaker Tom Leonard.

Schuitmaker, a 49-year-old Lawton Republican, has served in the Michigan Legislature since 2005. A private practice attorney before working in politics, she is the president pro tempore in the Senate and chairs the appropriations subcommittee on higher education.

“As a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, law-and-order conservative who achieves results on life touching issues, I am running for attorney general to protect what is important,” she said in a letter to supporters announcing her run.

The attorney general’s responsibilities are “wide and ranging,” she said, including “pushing back against federal government overreach, holding criminals accountable and helping victims, tackling challenges such as drug addiction, punishing voter fraud and defending our values and the Constitution.”

Leonard has not formally declared for the race but recently told The Detroit News he is discussing the possibility with his family as supporters encourage him to run. The 36-year-old DeWitt Republican worked as an assistant attorney general and in the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office before winning election to the House in 2012.

Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette cannot seek re-election in 2018 due to term limits. He announced his campaign for governor last week.

Schuitmaker filed paperwork with the state Tuesday to establish her attorney general campaign committee, meaning she’ll enter this weekend’s Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference as a declared candidate for the post.

Dana Nessel, an attorney who led a successful fight against Michigan’s gay marriage ban, is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general. Other potential candidates include former U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles of Grand Rapids, state Sen. Steve Bieda of Warren and Rep. Tim Greimel of Auburn Hills.

Separately, Eastern Michigan University regent Mary Treder Lang on Tuesday launched her campaign for the Republican nomination for secretary of state. The 57-year-old Grosse Pointe Farms resident is a certified public accountant whose campaign says she has led teams focused on computer security, finance, sales and government relations.

She’s running on a platform of election security, optimization and stability.

“I believe that I have the professional background, both in the private and public sector and executive level, to provide the skills necessary in order to move the Secretary of State’s Office forward,” she said.

The Michigan secretary of state, held currently by term-limited Republican Ruth Johnson, is responsible for overseeing statewide elections and running motor vehicle licensing and registrations.

Treder Lang joins a GOP field that includes Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot and Michigan State University Professor Joseph Guzman. State Sen. Mike Kowall, a White Lake Township Republican, filed paperwork to run for secretary of state but is now considering a campaign to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Dave Trott, R-Birmingham.

Potential Democratic candidates for the post include former Wayne State University Law School Dean Jocelyn Benson and Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum.