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The super political action committee with ties to House Speaker Paul Ryan has opened a field office in Michigan’s 8th District to help defend the seat of GOP Rep. Mike Bishop of Rochester.

Bishop is facing a challenge from Democrats such as former defense official Elissa Slotkin of Holly, as well as Christopher Smith of East Lansing, a Michigan State University professor.

The Congressional Leadership Fund said last week it had expanded its national field program to 27 offices in “key” congressional districts across the country. The organization claims those office have made 5.1 million voter contacts since early last year.

CLF says each office is run by a full-time staffer assisted by interns and volunteers focused on “district-specific issues.”

“CLF is taking nothing for granted as we focus on our mission to maintain the House Republican majority. We have rejected the traditional model of super PACs and are doing things differently by operating a national, data-driven field program,” CLF Executive Director Corry Bliss said in a statement.

Whitmer rallies union workers

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Gretchen Whitmer returned to her old stomping grounds at the Michigan Capitol on Wednesday, rallying with hundreds of union workers fighting to preserve the state’s prevailing wage law.

The former state Senate minority leader championed worker rights at the rally organized by the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, which endorsed her in August.

“The state that built the middle class was Michigan. The people that built this state are you,” she said. “It is time that we elect a governor, that we elect a Legislature that recognizes that.”

Term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Snyder supports Michigan’s prevailing wage law, which guarantees union-rate wages and benefits on government-sponsored construction projects.

But GOP legislative leaders favor repeal and could eliminate the wage mandate without Snyder’s signature if petition signatures submitted last month are certified by the state.

Prevailing wage has become an early issue in the 2018 gubernatorial race. Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, frontrunners for the Republican nomination, both favor repeal.

Schuette accuses Calley of ‘gimmickry’

The GOP race continued to sizzle this week with Schuette saying he’ll sit out town halls organized by Calley and accusing his Republican competitors of “political gimmickry.”

Calley announced the town halls Monday and challenged other candidates to participate. Less than an hour later, state Sen. Pat Colbeck’s campaign issued a release saying he and Dr. Jim Hines would join Calley at the events.

“Those of us interviewing for this job should be able to appear before the people and answer the difficult questions,” Calley said in a fundraising email that jabbed Schuette.

Schuette was mostly quiet Monday but spoke out during a Tuesday interview on WJR-AM 760, telling host Paul W. Smith he was “almost amused by the political gimmickry and gamesmanship” of Calley, Colbeck and Hines.

“They’re behind and desperate and concocted this effort of political gamesmanship” Schuette said, suggesting his competitors ganged up on him.

There will be plenty of time for debates and panels in the future, he said.

“When I was in grade school, a buddy of mine and I beat seven people playing football,” Schuette added. “And right now it’s three against one. I’ll still win.”

Oprah for prez: ‘Are you kidding?’

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon is not jumping on the Oprah Winfrey for president bandwagon despite the entertainer’s rousing Sunday speech at the Golden Globe Awards that captured the imagination of some across the country.

“Are you kidding?” Dillon told Politico when asked about the Oprah speculation. “It was a great speech and she obviously has a huge following.” But “if that’s the standard for electing a president, it’s a low bar.”

Rather than speak at an awards ceremony, Dillon told the news website Oprah could visit places such as Detroit or Macomb County if she is seriously interested in running for president. He suggested she could also use her personal wealth to back a Michigan gubernatorial candidate.

“If somebody said Oprah can replace Donald Trump tomorrow, I’d say, ‘I’ll take it, put her in,’” Dillon said. “But I’m not going to take it seriously at this point.”

‘Serious issues’ raised about Trump

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow said Monday that “very serious issues have been raised” regarding President Donald Trump’s mental fitness after the release of an incendiary new account of Trump’s first year in office.

At an agriculture business conference in Lansing, Stabenow said the renewed debate over Trump’s mental fitness is not a partisan issue.

“Well I think very very serious issues have been raised,” said Stabenow, a Democrat from Lansing. “And I think this is not about party, it’s about the country. And I think people need to be very thoughtful and very serious about what is being said.”

Journalist Michael Wolff’s new account of Trump’s first days in office in a new book — “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” — have dominated national headlines since two outlets released portions of the book last week.

Trump is portrayed as being functionally illiterate, emotionally unstable and wholly unprepared and unfit to hold office.

Trump defended his sanity in a series of Saturday tweets in which he called himself a “very stable genius.”

“Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart,” Trump tweeted.

“I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star ... to President of the United States (on my first try),” the President continued. “I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius ... and a very stable genius at that!”

Contributors: Melissa Nann Burke, Jonathan Oosting and Michael Gerstein

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