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For eight years, Republicans held complete control of the government in Michigan, a state that has significantly more Democratic voters and overwhelmingly supported that party's presidential candidates during the same period.

Give much of the credit to Ron Weiser.

The just retired chairman of the state Republican Party put together a slate of candidates, a campaign strategy and a fundraising machine that paved the way for a series of Republican victories.

In 2010, Weiser led the state party to perhaps its biggest triumph, turning a sizeable Democratic majority in the state House into an equally significant Republican majority. And this was before redistricting gave the GOP an edge in the make-up of legislative districts.  

After that election, Weiser effectively managed the tension between tea party and establishment Republicans, holding the party together. 

During his two tenures as chairman -- 2009 to 2011 and 2017 to 2019 -- Michigan Republicans were never short of the money they needed to win Legislative and state Supreme Court races.

The Ann Arbor developer, who ranks as one of the richest people in the state, also helped fill the coffers of former President George W. Bush, Arizona Sen. John McCain and other national candidates. He's served as the national Republican Party's finance chair.

Weiser wasn't just involved in politics; he was focused on policy as well. He orchestrated the passage of Michigan's Right to Work Law, which gives workers the choice of whether to join a union and has improved Michigan's competitiveness for jobs and investment.

In 2016, Weiser ran for office himself, winning a seat on the University of Michigan Board of Regents, a body he now chairs, and on which he is the lone Republican.

Over the past decade, few individuals have had as much influence on Michigan's political landscapes as Ron Weiser. 

The 73-year-old Weiser, who told last weekend's state GOP convention that he is being treated for cancer, pledges to remain active in Republican politics both at the state and national level. He's currently raising money for Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

That's good news for Republicans. Ron Weiser's counsel and his fundraising prowess would be hard to replace. 

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