politics

GOP governor hopeful Schuette files for public funding

Attorney General Bill Schuette
Attorney General Bill Schuette
Anthony Lanzilote / Special to The Detroit News
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Attorney General Bill Schuette is the latest candidate for Michigan governor to request public funding for his primary campaign.

The Midland Republican filed an application on June 25 requesting $211,329.36 in public funds, which the state provides as a 2-1 match on small contributions from in-state residents.

Schuette listed $105,664.68 in contributions that might qualify for the double match, according to Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams. The state is reviewing the application.

“We are proud of our broad grassroots small-dollar support,” said Schuette campaign strategist John Sellek. The funds will help Schuette talk to more voters about issues like high car insurance rates, he added.

Democrats Abdul El-Sayed and Gretchen Whitmer were the first candidates to request public funding ahead of the Aug. 7 primary, but Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and state Sen. Patrick Colbeck have indicated they may file applications as well.

The public funding, provided through an optional $3 check-off on income tax returns, generally comes with strings attached in the form of a $2 million spending cap.

But that cap was waived in both the Republican and Democratic primaries because of personal spending by Saginaw obstetrician Jim Hines and Ann Arbor chemist entrepreneur Shri Thanedar, who are largely funding their own campaigns.    

Granholm: Schuette's ‘unhealthy obsession’

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm isn’t taking an active role in the state’s gubernatorial election but jumped into the fray this week as Schuette continued using her name in attacks against Democratic and GOP opponents.

Schuette, who has repeatedly compared Whitmer to Granholm and attacked Calley for working with the former governor on the ill-fated Michigan Business Tax, on Monday channeled her name in comments about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“Imagine if those who abandoned (Donald Trump) succeeded in defeating the president in October 2016,” Schuette said on Twitter, referencing Calley’s decision to revoke his endorsement after audio tapes surfaced of Trump bragging about grabbing women by the genitals.

“Instead of attacking Justice-to-be Kavanaugh on CNN right now, Jennifer Granholm could have been Hillary Clinton’s nominee for the United States Supreme Court.”

The tweet prompted a retort from former Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer, who asked if anyone thinks Schuette has an “unhealthy obsession” with the former governor.

Granholm weighed in with a brief reply: “I do.”

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm speaks during the final day of the Democratic National ...more
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm speaks during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 28, 2016.
Mark J. Terrill / AP

Granholm bashed Schuette later in the week as a “Trump clone,” posting comments Calley made about the attorney general using staffers to witness and notarize multimillion-dollar real-estate deals. Schuette’s office has called requests for an investigation a “phony attack.”

Matt Maddock, a Republican candidate for the state House in District 44, was endorsed by Duane ...more
Matt Maddock, a Republican candidate for the state House in District 44, was endorsed by Duane Chapman, aka Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Matt Maddock

Bounty Hunter endorsement

Duane Chapman, better known as Dog the Bounty Hunter, has endorsed Matt Maddock, a Republican candidate for Michigan House District 44.

"You like Mr. Trump — some of the things he does? So does he. This is a man after Trump's own heart. Please. Vote for Matt," Chapman says in a video with his arm around Maddock with palm trees behind them. 

"You don't — I'm going to hunt you down." 

Maddock and Chapman got to know one another through the Professional Bail Association. Beth Chapman, Duane's wife, is the group's president, and Maddock is a former president of the Michigan Professional Bail Agents Association, according to the campaign.

Maddock of Milford is among five Republicans seeking the GOP nomination in the state House race. 

“Like Dog, I will fight for the little guy, too," Maddock said in a statement. 

“I’m going to Lansing to represent the people to lower auto insurance rates and lower the cost of government.  I won’t be making many friends with the lobbyists and special interest groups."

Amash wary of Kavanaugh

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township, has some doubts about Brett Kavanaugh — President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, calling him a “disappointing pick” on Twitter.

The libertarian-leaning Amash told Fox Business Network that Kavanaugh has “a lot of bad decisions on the Fourth Amendment.” But only U.S. senators get to vote on the choice.

Amash, an attorney, highlighted a 2015 case in which Kavanaugh wrote that national security needs outweigh the impact on privacy raised by the government’s bulk collection of Americans’ metadata. Amash has crticized the program and fought its reauthorization in Congress.

“This is not a well-developed area of case law,” Amash said of government surveillance in the digital age. “Judge Kavanaugh will take us backwards.”

Amash said it would be difficult for others on the court to persuade Kavanaugh to vote differently on such Fourth Amendment cases “because he’s already on the record.”

“You’d almost rather have someone with at least a blank slate who can come in and be influenced and isn’t biased by their own prior opinions,” he said.

Contributors: Jonathan Oosting and Melissa Nann Burke 

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