I sent many of you an email early on Friday morning about my interest in running for state party chair. The response has been overwhelming. Hundreds have already written back and nearly everyone has been encouraging.
The Republican Party in Michigan is hurting. Since I took office in January of 2003, we have lost 20 House seats, three Senate seats, two Congressmen, a Supreme Court Chief Justice, and countless township and county officials. We failed to regain the governor's mansion in 2006 and we missed on US Senate seats in 2006 and 2008. We have consistently lost the debate in the battle of ideas.
It is time to make an evaluation of the situation and resolve to make some significant changes. There is no point in dwelling on personalities or looking back. What is important is that we right the ship before it sinks.
In my letter from Friday, I mentioned that I was waiting on Chairman Anuzis. My expectation was that his decision regarding party chair was imminent. I was inclined to wait for his decision before announcing mine. He has since let me know that it may be "a week" before he decides. So after much evaluation, I have decided to go forward and announce that I will be a candidate for Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.
I would like to share with you some of the things I believe we need to do:
- We need to unify the party around the core principles that define who we are as Republicans. The Number One priority is reducing the size of government.
- We need to identify the key issues that identify Republicans and which will win at the ballot box.
- We need to begin working with local county leaders to identify strong candidates for House and Senate who will grasp the issues and commit to supporting them.
- We must organize our ground game to build strength in the high schools, universities, and grass roots organizations.
- We must improve communication between state leadership, the districts, the counties and the membership.
- The party has lacked transparency and accountability. We need to audit the books and become a lean, efficient operation. Vendors need to earn their business through a bidding process.
- It is time for the party to go on offense, to engage the voters in an issue-based campaign.
Over the last three years, I have traveled all around Michigan and gotten to know many of you. I have heard your concerns as well as your ideas about how to once again win elections.
Too many times, the message coming from Republican leadership has been that we need to moderate, compromise, be bi-partisan. I can tell you that in the House, the message for six years was one of compromise, conciliation, and moderation. Instead of going on offense, we played defense; we surrendered our principles to the point that we went from a 63-47 majority to a 67-43 minority. And yet, the voices of "reason" continue to say that we keep losing because we are too far right.
I can tell you from experience that the voters and taxpayers of this state feel differently. Republican and independent voters want to see us take the bold steps of leadership that we have been unwilling to take. There are many examples. Whether it is keeping taxes low and spending under control or giving parents choice in education or protecting private property rights, we have missed many opportunities to lead.
I pledge to you that as your chairman, I will work to bring the core principles to the forefront and in so doing, help us win back the majority for the Republicans so we can once again bring real conservative leadership and a strong economy back to the great state of Michigan. As we move forward in this process, I will be communicating ideas on how we can regain the majority in the legislature and elect a Republican governor in 2010.
I will be calling you soon to answer your questions and ask for your support. Meanwhile, please feel free to send me an e-mail or call me at 269-806-4626.