Aug 18 2014

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Age Old Human Condition Rears its Ugly Head -County Convention Aftermath


“What good does it do to have the ear of the Governor if you don’t have anything to say except ‘Okay’? Deb O’Hagan,  grassroots Constitutional Conservative activist



An age old human condition reared its ugly head at MIGOP County Conventions across the state Thursday evening. The condition I am referring to is the clinging and gasping and lust to retain power, position and money at any costs.

I have received first hand reports from Constitutional Conservatives and platform Republicans from County Convention across the state.

My own personal experience was at the Ingham County Convention.

The method chosen to select delegates was by slate as usual and the nominating team Linda Lee “Dollface” Tarver, Brian Beauchine was headed by “Big Norm” Shinkle the former and still the current de facto Chair, despite someone else having the title. He is also the 8th District Chair. They came in with their own slate of 43 prior to the meeting.

The pre-chosen slate included Calley chief of staff Nathaniel Forstner (won his race and is an alternate) MIGOP director of administrative services Marsha Quebbeman (won her race with six slots and five running) Ruth Johnson staffer Lindsay Esson (hw rule) who lost her precinct delegate race, Meagan Danielson (hw rule), former MIGOP Finance  Director who now works for…Wait for it…Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) (would someone like to volunteer to make a six degrees of Kevin Bacon-type chart with the Devos?) who lost her race.

Scott Greenlee (hw rule) whose LinkedIn profile lists him in Grand Rapids (which is in Kent County not Ingham) and who currently works for Attorney General Bill Schuette in Macomb County (per “Big Norm”) and did not run nor was he in attendance.

got votes?These people where chosen solely as Calley voters using the so called “hard working” rule.

Of course they are not the only Calley supporters state wide to run for precinct delegate. Some “big names” got in the act also.

“Snyder senior adviser Dick Posthumus of Alto, the Republican nominee for governor in 2002, and “transformation manager” Rich Baird of Bath are among executive office employees running for precinct delegate positions,…Senior strategy advisor Dennis Schornack of Williamston, (he won with seven spots but was not on the slate, perhaps he is just too busy to do lit drops, man phone banks and deliver yard signs?)

There’s certainly nothing stopping Snyder staffers from running for precinct delegate posts, but the large number is surprising, according to Bill Ballenger of Inside Michigan Politics, who was especially interested to hear that a big name like Posthumus would run in such a small race.

“That has got to be unique,” Ballenger said, noting that various Republican groups have been recruiting precinct delegates for months in what he called the latest front in Michigan’s “tea party versus establishment” battle.”


I guess some do what they do to keep a job.


However, Rule 8 states:
“In order to recognize hard-working Republicans, who may not be precinct delegates, a county convention, acting as one body, may authorize the election of eligible individuals (not to exceed 10% of the number of State Convention delegates allocated to that county or congressional district portion or up to two individuals, whichever is greater) not subject to this preference, as though they were, to attend the State Convention as delegates or alternates.”

Nevertheless, duly elected precinct delegates who expressed the desire to go and were considered Wes Nagrikri voters were left off. I bet you can guess right now that would include myself. And this was repeated at County Conventions across the state.

The rules also state: In order to recognize the importance of precinct delegates, a precinct delegate duly elected at the August 5, 2014 primary election; shall be given preference (over a non-precinct delegate) to be elected as a delegate or alternate to the State Convention. Between two or more such precinct delegates, no preference shall be given

Because the rules could be interrupted different ways and duly elected precinct delegates were deliberately left out, disenfranchised and the voters who elected them I filed a Credentials Challenge with MIGOP

My contention is not with the hard working rule per say, properly applied instead of abused.  However, hardworking is not defined. What does it mean to “hard working”? It is just being a donor? An employed  fundraiser who has done the job he/she is being paid to do?  A insider political hack? There needs to be a definition to provide parameters as apparently now it is left up to the nominating/anointed Committee to abuse.

got ethicsSecondly, in is my contention that “The “hard working ” option according to the rules as stated does NOT supersede a DULY ELECTED precinct delegate.”

If not than why bother to run or vote for the person of your choice?

When the method of choosing delegates is a slate the only way to be considered if you are not on the slate is to challenge one of the chosen. So I, as a duly elected and hard working (you know long time precinct delegate worked phone banks, did lit drops, delivered yard signs and made donations to the GOP candidates of my choice) challenged Robin Naeyaert. Robin is the wife of Gary Naeyart, (chosen as an alternate). Gary Naeyart happens to be the executive director for the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP).

The board of directors for the Great Lakes Education Project includes Betsy DeVos and Michigan Freedom Fund (MFF) president Greg McNeilly,  (“Big Norm” Shinkle is employed part time by McNeilly’s (MFF) and members of the DeVos family have made large contributions to the group according to campaign finance records.

GLEP is a strong supporter of the Common Core

However, once again with a roomful of status quo GOP Calley supporters, my challenge was quickly shot down.

The bottom line was our whole meeting was a setup from the opening gavel to the end.

New delegates were immediately disillusioned.

And some are very aware of what is happening and know that it was unprincipled but chose to remain silent as to not rock the boat or perhaps diminish their chances for promotion. Silence is complicity

However, this just wasn’t an attempt to stack the State Convention with Calley voters. It is an attempt to drive a stake in the heart of the limited government movement. The status quo MIGOP is attempting to rid itself of us “trouble makers.” The trouble makers who helped GOP candidates to historical wins in 2010. The troublemakers who were at first embraced when it was thought we would be convenient yes men and woman propping up anyone with an “R” by his or her name despite any policy they might push. The trouble makers whose only crime is assistance on adherence to the Constitution.

Well it hasn’t worked.

Reformation2There were other County Conventions across the state where principles prevailed and Constitutional Conservatives made gains.

What it has done is made us more determined.

What it has done is created more who will NOT be the worker bees nor vote for those “R” who push and promote Liberal policies

What it has done is given a boost to the Liberation Party and the 3rd Party movement

What is has done has clarified the fact that money can buy politicians and non-profits but it can’t buy our votes.

And it won’t



First hand accounts of what happened at County Conventions across the state:

Oakland County

My 14th went well.  we amended the proposed rules to provide preference to delegates present at the county convention.  that process allowed  many of the proposed slate to be dropped as many of the “party” proposed slate did not bother to attend the county convention.  so the finally approved slate was much improved.

Screenshot952014-07-19-19-13-41The only procedural issue in the 14th was the chair did not allow discussion on the motion to  approved the slate (see 2 above as the no shows had already been changed).  This allowed Max rohbart2Max Rothbart (who was on the Michigan Advocacy Trust  flier as a “TRUE CONSERVATIVE”) to stay as a delegate as he was in attendance.  We could have/should have challenged the chair’s decision, but no one did.


Hmm do “TRUE CONSERVATIVES” endorse Liberal Democrats??


Oakland County

The chair person was not qualified to run a Lionel train let alone the delegate process. The nominating team came in with their own slate of 47 prior to the meeting. When motions were made from the floor were willfully derailed and only one made it to the floor for a vote.

Rules for the meeting were being twisted to fit the desired outcome when desired. Ignored when it would not fit the desired outcome.

No motions for changes to their slate were accepted. As soon as their slate was approved someone moved for adjournment before any motions to amend the slate could be made.

A lot of new delegates were immediately disillusioned.

In Oakland they did not even have printed copies of their slates for delegates, but we saw Calley whips (like the Orion Twp. Supervisor) with folded and printed copies in their pockets. This whole dirty primary and railroad conventions are the worst I have seen in 50 years of involvement. Despite their huge staffs, money and dirty tricks, we had great victories tonight for the conservative movement. After all this they will try to pull the “unity” and “we all have to support the ticket”, and expect people they royally screwed to carry their water, make the calls and door knocks. It will be an interesting fall.

Arenac County

The good ole boys have done well in Arenac County Convention, putting out a new set of rules. Then the County Convention votes for a nominating committee on slating delegates. The new permanent Convention Chair then is presented a motion to support the nominating committee’s slate for delegates to the 2014 State Convention. What committee? This is so ugly and corrupt, it presents to you the very nature of the MRP. Such a vote of creating such a committee is not allowed to extend to the current meeting nor can the slate be entered as it’s product.

Antrim County

Of the 25 delegates, we took 15 for sure 5 moderate 5 establishment.  Plus we were working against Dennis Lennox. All in all a good night. Our organization brought in 18 members from the Church of Philadelphia.   There is still some life in a few of the churches

Clinton County

On Thursday evening Clinton County held its GOP county convention with the “anticipation of issues” with “newly elected” precinct delegates pre-positioned for the sole purpose of being elected to the state GOP convention on August 23rd to re-elect Lt. Gov. Calley. 

Chairman Steve Willis held steadfast with integrity and chaired a very well organized and methodical convention.  While he requested names prior to the convention of those that wanted to be on the ballot, he allowed attendees to submit their names to be added if they were present.  With 54 names appearing on the ballot, a majority of precinct delegates in attendance were  “not regular attendees”  what so ever!

Many of the elected delegates who have done the work, donated large amounts of time, money, sweat equity, studying the issues, attending meetings, events and conventions for years upon years were dumbfounded on who these people were? 

If you were familiar with the downtown Lansing political scene, you would have recognized the numerous lobbyists and republican support staffers who had just recently and out of nowhere submitted their names and won their precinct delegate races.

Tom Leonard, the current Clinton County State Representative and his wife, Jenell Leonard, who is a Calley staffer, orchestrated this whole coup d’état  by carefully recruiting their new found friends, colleagues, underlings and so-called Christian brothers and sisters to be in on this overthrow to secure Calley’s reelection since he cannot obviously get reelected on his own merit and character.

The true conservatives were the steadfast individuals who have toiled over the last four years (actually decades) to make Clinton County a force to be reckoned with, and a thorn in the side of the state party.  Not because of defiance but for standing up for principle, legislative issues and ethics that have been severely lost by the MRP. 

These hardworking conservatives were outnumbered two to one over the RINOS that appeared like phantoms to elect their slate of delegates, elect Jenell Leonard as their state convention chair and then disappear into the night again, never to be seen or heard from when in actuality the real work has to be done by those involved at the local level.  These so called delegates are not!

The so called “true conservatives” won the night but the fight is not over.  The establishment will continue to work to dominate the process behind the scenes to get Tom Leonard into a leadership position in the caucus and pose as the nice guy who is working for his constituents. 

The reality is that he is a puppet for the Governor’s office and is too close to the Governor’s agenda which will continue to be implemented if he and his wife are able to fool / seduce more conservatives in the process. Clinton county deserves better ! 

 Eaton County

Our Eaton County convention went well.   We had a slate for the tea party people and some people came to vote even when sick and postponing vacations, etc.  Therefore, I will be a voting delegate next Saturday. :)

Grand Traverse County

Pretty well. About 60-40 mix of limited government to establishment

Just in from St. Clair County

In St Clair County the conservatives were the majority and the slate was filled for both the regular and alternate positions.

Kent County

Patriots maybe have 1/4 -1/3 of the voting delegates in kent. Establishment came out in force.”  The thing was rigged from the get go, and almost all the delegates selected are Calley supporters.”

Livingston County

It went on without any drama or shenanigans (which seems to be the word of choice now).  Though there were clearly two lists being promoted by certain factions, there were no outward displays of angst, irritation or anger.  The Wes supporters checked their names off from their white list and the Calley supporters checked off their names from their blue list.  And as we stood in line to cast our votes we chatted quite nicely with each other.

It was a long night as no slate was presented at the beginning.  It was decided in order to be very fair about the voting process that each delegate would vote their choice from a complete list of those that had submitted names stating they wanted to the state convention.  Once the votes were tallied and the names read off of those who won, new lists were printed off deleting the ones already elected and we proceeded to vote for alternates from those remaining.

As far as candidates attending – Ron Weiser, Lt. Gov. Calley and Wes (his county) were there and given an opportunity to speak.

We started at 7:00 PM and left the building at 12:30 AM.  The alternate ballots were not counted that night as we had to leave the building but it was voted on and agreed due to the time limitations, that the ballots would be counted at the Victory Center the next day.  We trust our committee and appreciate them being fair in all aspects when it comes to the TEA Party and the GOP.

I also heard of at least one case where Norm Shinkle promised someone if they ran for PD and agreed to support Calley that he could both ensure they won their election and go to state.  The person was in a contested precinct and made the postcard but still lost their election…  That is second-hand, however...

Wes Nakagiri said he’s confident 37 of Livingston County’s 57 delegates will vote for him this month. He based the numbers on results he gathered at last week’s Livingston GOP convention . Livingston GOP Chairman Dan Wholihan said Nakagiri’s figure was in the ballpark.

West Oakland County

Our founding fathers would be proud of us tonight. We made a significant step towards bringing our party closer to the principles and values our forefathers intended our party to represent. Each and every one of you should be proud of what YOU accomplished. I was humbled and motivated to witness such support from all of you. Each day I pray that God directs my steps and places the right people in my path. Thank you for being there to support what we all stand for. I am most pleased so see the smiles and cheers of victory on all of your faces! We needed that didn’t we? And we DESERVE it.

The progressive establishment and state party officials may challenge your decision and your vote as a body to elect the delegates and alternates. They might call another convention because they didn’t get the results they anticipated and attempted to orchestrate. If they call another convention to “redo” what has already been done, we will have to show up and do it all again. Stay tuned.


BTW The Oakland County Chair had some dramatic and untrue things to say to the media that somehow got changed overnight?


Oakland county Chair BIG

Willow Run TP (Washtenaw County)

These results are unofficial, but I believe we were able to elect 52 delegates to state convention who will be voting for Wes Nakagiri for Lieutenant Governor as well as an excellent number of alternates to provide much-needed back-ups.  I also believe we only lost 2 seats to delegates who would vote for Brian Calley.  This tremendous achievement could not have been accomplished without your help to get our members elected as precinct delegates and without our precinct delegate members working together as a team to be successful at county convention.


 Oh and don’t forget to SAY YES to WES!


Permanent link to this article: https://grassrootsmichigan.com/?p=4250


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  1. max rohtbart

    I made a dumb mistake at 1:00 am in the morning, I am extremely pro-Israel and I am disappointed we have candidates who claim to be pro-platform but ignore the Israel question.

    1. Joan

      I am pro-Israel too. but why did you endorse Liberal Democrat Sander Levin?

      1. max

        I withdrew my endorsement in the morning, it was a “heat of the moment thing”. I am sure some of us get carried away sometimes with issues we care about.

  2. Bill

    I was not in attendance at the Wayne/12 Convention. I did submit my Letter of Intent (LOI) to the Secretary per Rule 8 to be considered as a Hard Worker and/or Alternate. Due to health reasons I was unable to walk my precinct and knew my chances were slim to win as Precinct Delegate.
    I was put on the slate for HW. Later I was told that several of my colleagues had to argue with the chair to add me as an alternate. After it was brought to light that I had submitted my LOI to the Secretary I was moved up to #8 alternate.
    I will see you at the Convention.

  3. Dawn Sherman

    The Clinton County Convention was a farce, just as described in your article. Did you know that Tom Leonard’s wife, Jenell, works for Lt Calley? The queen held court surrounded by all the big wigs from Lansing to help her keep her job. It was all surreal to see the King and Queen holding court, and my husband and I campaigned for them two years ago when we were brand new delegates and didn’t know any better. Now we barely get the time of day from them. I feel like I’ve lost my virginity to a rapist.

  4. Lee Rogers

    I found it very curious, at the Oakland County Convention, that the party chair had ‘forgotten’ to include in notice to delegates the sub-caucus function that should have taken place during the convention. In place of the sub-caucus function, the county GOP provided an arbitrary slate and initially attempted to pass it without a lot of discussion. The 8th district was not disruptive, but somewhat poorly organized and run. Cynic that I am, I found the process rather amusing. As I left the convention [just 10 minutes before we were obligated to vacate the building], the 11th district was absorbed in a shouting match over procedure. Been 20 years since I last took part at the delegate level. Things haven’t changed much.

    Spouting the “big tent” concept during primary and election seasons [and only then], the GOP has been quick to castigate and denigrate their Tea Party peers in favor of protecting their grip on party machinery….and money. Apparently, the tent is only big enough if one has money to contribute or if one is willing to blindly follow the party line….whatever that is.

    Further, Republicans in Washington have proved to be a party of cowards unwilling to take the fight to the Dems…. unwilling to get their figurative hands dirty, but more than willing to get their nose bloodied. They have been gutless. The GOP rarely mounts counterattacks to the constant flow of progressive propaganda flowing from the DNC and a complicit media. To the Dems and much of our country, the Republican Party has become a laughing stock easily trampled with a flurry of threats and shameful name calling and advertising.

    1. Joan

      In America, the “50-50” nation is more like a 30-30-30 nation; last month, a Pew survey found that “independents” at 37% outnumbered either Democrats or Republicans.

      1. Matthew Crockett

        Thank you for putting that out there. In a lot of places it’s even bigger.

  5. Joni

    I sent a resolution to the Issues Committee for consideration at State Convention. It is a resolution against reconsideration of a state health insurance exchange, as I am convinced that Governor Snyder, Jase Bolger and Randy Richardville will resurrect the issue soon, on the heels of the Halbig vs. Burwell DC Court of Appeals decision. I thought it would be good to go on record that “we” duly elected delegates continue to oppose a state exchange, regardless of the fact that no subsidies are allowed for individuals who purchase their insurance through a federal exchange. (If all 34 states hold fast to their federal exchanges, Obamacare will not be able to sustain itself and will die on its own.)

    According to the rules, I could not submit the resolution unless I was elected to go as a delegate to the state convention. Immediately on Thursday evening, after winning a delegate slot, I prepared 14 copies of the resolution (as required by the rules) along with a brief analysis of pros and cons (also required). The rules specify that any new issue for the Aug. 23 convention must be received by the Issues Chair (Stan Grot) no later than 7 days before the convention…… which gave me exactly one day to get it to him. (I live almost 3 hours away.) I FedEx’d the documents the next morning and they were received in time to meet the deadline.

    A conference call meeting of the Issues Committee took place last night at 6:30 p.m. I was allowed to call in, but obviously could not participate in the deliberation or voting. I was there to answer questions or provide additional information if requested. The “meeting” lasted all of about 10 minutes and its outcome seemed to be a done deal from the beginning. Norm Shinkle immediately stated that there was not sufficient time to study the resolution and motioned to have it on the committee’s agenda for the September State Committee meeting. Norm said that he had talked with several legislators and that this issue is not on their legislative agenda. (Seriously? Any thinking individuals knows exactly why they don’t want this brought up at the convention.)

    While I’ve never been a supporter of a third party, I have come to the belief that there may be no other way. There are irreconcilable philosophical differences within this party.

  6. rabman13R Al Bain

    Senate Majority leader Randy Richardville (and I use that term loosely) was at the Executive committee meeting last week of the Monroe County Republican Party and someone mentioned a challenge to Dale Zorn and Jason Shepard. Richardville said he holds the coffers to the Republican campaign dollars. Hmmm… Both are his “yes men”

  7. Jeff King

    John, as I mentioned to you in a private e-mail, with regards to your state party credentials challenge, you missed the part in the rules where it said “not subject to this preference”. This is referring to the “hardworking” rule in that this is an exception to the only “duly elected” preference. It’s limited to 10%.

    Read it again. You listed it out of order here. It’s pretty clear.

    That said, I’m not agreeing with it or saying you don’t have a beef here. But the issue is slates, and that’s what we need to be fighting. The nominations need to come from the floor.

    1. Joan

      I didn’t miss it. However I thought this was an important enough matter to be given some attention
      Many people were not even awre of the rule or the change to bump up the percentage that just happened this year

      Now many are. First step…

  8. Chris

    Most of the conventions are just pro forma anyway. When I was a PD in 2010 and 2012 for Kent county, and they put out the call to convention, we “duly elected” PDs would show up. The local GOP had their plants in the audience set up and ready to go. Most of our convention was what I call “fill in the blanks.” The chair would read off the names. The chair would hardly be finished when Scott Greenlee would make a motion to accept, a side kick would second the motion and within 45 seconds, the business part was done. And things would proceed as normal. I’ve been involved in Republican politics off and on since 1978 when I manned the phone banks for Hal Sawyer. I knew politics was a dirty business back in 1978. It has only gotten progressively worse as the election cycles go on. My husband and i are giving some really serious consideration in regards to our vote come November.

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