Schuette Scores Miller, Mackinac Straw Poll Endorsements

Polling shows him leading the Republican primary.

Sept. 25, 2017, 10:37 a.m.

“Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller, a former congresswoman who was encouraged to run for governor in 2018, is instead backing” state Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) “for the job.” (Detroit News)

Schuette also won the Mackinac Leadership Conference straw poll of 1,000 Republican activists, “garnering 56.1 percent support over Lt. Gov. Brian Calley’s (R) 23.4 percent and 18.4 percent support for state Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R). Saginaw doctor Jim Hines (R) received 2.2 percent of the straw poll vote.” (Crain’s Detroit Business)

PRIMARY TESTING. Schuette and former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D) “hold solid leads over their primary challengers,” according to an MRC poll (Sept. 13-18) released last week. “But there are still 48 percent of the GOP voters and 58 percent of the Democrat voters who are undecided.”

In the Republican primary (216 LVs), Schuette leads Calley 33-13 percent, with Hines and Colbeck following at 3 percent each. “Geographically, Schuette does well in areas like northern lower Michigan (44 percent) and the Flint/Saginaw Bay City (39 percent) areas where he used to serve as a Congressman and State Senator. But he also does well in Macomb County (43 percent) and West Michigan (39 percent). Calley does the best in Oakland County (20 percent) and mid-Michigan (19 percent) where he is tied with Schuette.”

In the Democratic primary (255 LVs), Whitmer came in at 27 percent with former Xerox executive Bill Cobbs (D), former Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed (D), and entrepreneur Shri Thanedar (D) trailing in the single digits. “Ms. Whitmer runs the strongest in her home town area of mid-Michigan (40 percent), but also does well in northern Michigan (44 percent). A majority of the Democratic voters in the rest of the state are still undecided, especially in areas like Oakland County (75 percent undecided) and Flint/Saginaw/Bay City (72 percent undecided).”

Both results were apparently a product of their name identification (600 LVs; +/-4%):

Schuette: 21-18 percent.
Calley: 9-8 percent.
Hines: 4-2 percent.
Whitmer: 10-4 percent. (release)

NO MAN IS AN ISLAND. “Schuette’s march toward the Republican nomination for governor may be smooth because it is now uncertain if his presumptive rival will even run. … Calley … is not a candidate at this weekend’s biennial GOP gathering on Mackinac Island, missing a prime opportunity to openly raise support among nearly 2,000 party activists. Calley could still enter the race, but the notion of him not announcing his candidacy by now seemed improbable last spring, when he launched a part-time Legislature ballot drive on the same island while teasing a future gubernatorial bid. … Schuette allies are openly questioning if Calley will run, while others in the GOP — including some of Snyder’s aides — are unsure.” (AP)

“Snyder hasn’t made an endorsement in the governor’s race but on Saturday called Calley ‘the best lieutenant governor in the country.’ The governor took an indirect shot at Schuette in a Saturday meeting with reporters, complaining that his criminal prosecution of state employees in connection with the Flint drinking water crisis is dragging on too long.”

“Republican consultant Stu Sandler, a Schuette supporter who has been highly critical of Calley and his problem-plagued ballot proposal for a part-time Legislature, which Sandler refers to as a ‘clown car,’ attacked Calley on Saturday after the lieutenant governor invoked the name of President Donald Trump when speaking at a lunch session.” (Detroit Free Press)

“Calley … he says it would be a mistake to count him out for 2018.” When asked, if “Schuette politicized the attorney general’s office,” Calley responded: “I’ve certainly heard people say that.” (Detroit News)

FEBRUARY FLASHBACK. “Schuette said the conversation [about an endorsement from President Trump] started in February, when he attended a National Association of Attorneys General meeting in Washington, D.C. He said he ended up walking into the Oval Office next to the president, and the subject came up.”

Schuette: “I shared with him some of my plans and how I fought to make sure the election was preserved and that Jill Stein didn’t steal it, and that I didn’t desert or jump ship. I stuck with our Republican team. “He said, ‘Well, when you get ready to run, let me know.’” (MLive)

“Republicans in Michigan, where Donald Trump triumphantly stamped the election last year, are giving the president mixed reviews nine months into his term in light of the all-but-dead effort to undo the Obama-era health care law. While Trump still remains popular with the Michigan GOP’s base, a number of state party loyalists attending a weekend conference expressed disappointment in the president’s administration and his demeanor.” (AP)

PRIME POSITION. “Schuette … advocated for a robust, but unspecified, incentive to entice Amazon and other big employers to set up shop in Michigan. … Colbeck … said beefing up Michigan’s tax-capturing incentive for Amazon is ‘exactly the wrong approach.’” “Calley also cautioned against a rush to impress Amazon with a big tax incentive check.” (Crain’s Detroit Business)

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