As Lee Chatfield Resigns In Controversy From New Job, Michigan GOP Still Stumbles On Finding Candidate to Take on Whitmer
Since Michigan Republicans lost their top recruit for governor in 2022, Candice Miller, prominent Republicans continue to stumble and the party has been struggling to find someone to take on Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Potential GOP candidates are dropping like flies, and the members of the MI GOP left standing are allying themselves with out-of-touch extremists.
Most recently, former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield, who was floated as a potential GOP candidate in 2022, resigned as CEO of Southwest Michigan First following backlash over his discriminatory positions on LGBTQ equality in the workplace, housing and more. City leaders and nonprofits severed ties with the company over Chatfield’s hiring, saying his extremist views would hinder local job growth. That doesn’t bode well for a potential run for governor – or any candidate who takes on the mantle of the Michigan GOP’s extreme and unpopular positions.
The MI GOP has a bleak crop of gubernatorial contenders. So far, the announced candidates are Allendale Township official Ryan Kelley, who is facing calls for removal from his position after he was spotted at the U.S. Capitol insurrection, and Austin Chenge, who was with Kelley in supporting the violent mob at the Capitol. And one of the more prominent faces of the MI GOP, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, has been under fire for cozying up to militia groups and spreading debunked conspiracy theories, like the capitol riot was a “hoax.”
Also looming over the MI GOP – Cook Political Report has rated Michigan as “lean Democrat” and warned Gov. Whitmer “won’t be as easy to knock off as some Republicans had initially hoped,” as demonstrated by her consistently high approval ratings.
“Since losing their top prospect for governor, Michigan Republicans have fallen even further,” said DGA Deputy Communications Director Sam Newton. “The state’s most prominent GOP politicians are in the news for all the wrong reasons and they’ve failed to find a unifying nominee for 2022 – all they’ve got is a bleak crop of laughable candidates who are too extreme for Michigan. Luckily, Democrats don’t have to stress – we’ve got Big Gretch.”