Politico examines the turmoil within the Michigan Republican Party as divisions over "election fraud" persist ahead of the 2022 gubernatorial race against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The state party's executive director resigned this month, a reported casualty "of Trump’s efforts to spread the lie that Biden stole the election," and it has no communications director following Ted Goodman's departure for the James Craig campaign, the site reports.
Those in charge of the party say the divisions are a non-issue and that defeating Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is doable.
Others, however, disagree:
“From a staff and leadership perspective, I don’t know that top-notch professionals would want to go into this quagmire,” said Jeff Timmer, a former Michigan GOP executive director who opposed Trump. “Unless you’re going to talk crazy talk, they don’t want you there.”
“They’ve gotta offer something other than their wish that we could somehow redo the 2020 elections,” said Bob LaBrant, a GOP strategist and former general counsel at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. “I think there’s a strong segment of the party that are convinced that the only thing we need to do is do a forensic audit and somehow that will uncover all sorts of fraud.”
Jason Watts, a former Allegan County GOP official who was ousted from his post as Sixth District treasurer this year after telling The New York Times that he didn’t vote for Trump in 2020, said the party is dwelling on the 2020 election when it should be prioritizing winning back the once-reliable suburban voters it has lost in recent years.
“We’re not focused on 2022, and I don’t see that changing,” Watts said. “Until we get beyond that, we’re going to suffer the consequences and lose in the next couple of cycles because we just can’t get off this circular firing squad of remorse, and somehow feeling that the other side cheated, when the evidence doesn’t show that at all.”
“It’s a near-toxic environment,” Watts said, “and I don’t think you see any signs of that dissipating.”
A Trump-aligned state GOP consultant hit back hard at the nay-sayers, in further confirmation the divide runs deep. Dennis Lennox called Timmer and LaBrant "washed up, has beens," adding that Timmer's "only paycheck is from the pedophile-enabling Lincoln Project."