Mark Ouimet is running for the state House of Representatives in the 52nd District, facing Democrat Christine Green. I have written before about accusations regarding Mark Ouimet’s financial misconduct with regards to tens of thousands of dollars of reimbursements for travel and per diems during his time as Washtenaw County. I have also written about the near slanderous attacks on his behalf against Christine Green in the form of detestable and anonymous robocalls and mailers from the Michigan Republican Party.
This caused me and some others to take a closer look at how Mr. Ouimet is running his campaign. We found some very interesting and rather disturbing claims on his endorsements page.
As of about two days ago, his endorsements page looked like this (from the Google cache, dated October 7th):
If you look closely, you will see that Mr. Ouimet lists four different school superintendents along with the Washtenaw County Intermediate School District as having publicly endorsed him.
- Dexter Schools Superintendent
- Saline Schools Superintendent
- Ann Arbor Schools Superintendent
- Chelsea Schools Superintendent
- Washtenaw County Intermediate School district
The Chelsea superintendent was contacted about and was dismayed to learn of this. He contacted the other three superintendents and, after they complained to the Ouimet campaign, their names were scrubbed from the page in the past two days.
A Green campaign official also contacted the Washtenaw County Intermediate School District (ISD) superintendent, Dr. William Miller. He gave two responses to the inquiry:
“Please be assured that the Washtenaw Intermediate School District has not endorsed any candidates for public office, nor is it the practice of the WISD Board of Education to do so.”
“I have requested that the reference to WISD be removed from the web site and received a message that it was put there in error and will be removed as soon as possible. Thank you for contacting me about this error.”
This correspondence took place yesterday but, as you can see from this screenshot taken at about 10:00 a.m. this morning, the Washtenaw County ISD is still listed as one of Mr. Ouimet’s endorsements.
UPDATE: As of this afternoon, the Washtenaw County ISD no longer appears on Ouimet’s endorsement page.
You’ll also note that Mr. Ouimet claims that he is endorsed by the “Dexter Area Fire Department” and the “Ann Arbor township Fire Firefighters”.
I have contacted both fire departments. Fire Chief Loren Yates of the Dexter Area Fire Department (DAFD) assured me that the DAFD has not formally endorsed Mark Ouimet. This is entirely appropriate given that they are a taxpayer-funded government agency.
I have not yet heard from the Ann Arbor Township Fire Department but I suspect the situation there is the same and, while individuals or perhaps the fire fighters’ union may have given Mr. Ouimet their support, the department itself, a taxpayer-funded body, has not.
I received an emailed response from Chief Rick Ericson who says:
The Washtenaw County Chief’s have endorsed Mark Ouimet and I am a member of AATFD [Ann Arbor Township Fire Department].
However, when you read the list on Mark Ouimet’s endorsement page, you get a completely different impression. In this case, rather than being endorsed by the AATFD, Ouimet was endorsed by the Fire Chief there but included the entire department on his endorsement page.
Mark Ouimet’s smiling face appears on billboards all around the Ann Arbor area these days. He’s seen by many as a “nice guy” and an upstanding member of the community. I do not question his service to Washtenaw County residents. However, Mark Ouimet is running a deceitful, if not shameful campaign. His endorsement list should stand on its own without him having to shade the truth or, in the case of the DAFD, the four superintendents, and the Washtenaw County ISD, outright LIE about it. And, since he is lying about his endorsements, it begs the question of what else he is concealing.
Why lie about something that, in the scope of a campaign, is rather unimportant?
If he’s willing to lie about his endorsements, what else is he lying about?
Given the smear campaign being run against his opponent Christine Green on his behalf, I would suggest that these are very fair questions.
I’m just sayin’…