Let’s go to the tape, Mark…
Mark Ouimet rode the 2010 Republican wave to replace Democrat Pam Byrnes as the Michigan State House Representative of the 52nd District. In a dirty campaign with hideous robocalls against his Democratic opponent Christine Green (listen to them HERE, HERE, and HERE), Ouimet appealed to voters with a claim of being moderate and willing to work across the aisle with Democrats. Two years have passed and just how many times has Ouimet voted against the majority of his own party?
- On laws limiting a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion? Ouimet voted with the Republicans.
- On laws stripping rights of workers to collectively bargain and diminishing the ability of labor unions to function? Ouimet voted with the Republicans.
- Raising taxes on the middle class by reducing the Homestead Property Tax Credit by $200 million? Ouimet voted with the Republicans.
- Passing the anti-democratic Emergency Manager Law – Public Act 4? Ouimet voted with the Republicans. In fact, Ouimet was the Chair of the Committee that passed it to begin with.
- Giving corporations a $1.6 billion tax break? Ouimet voted with the Republicans.
- Increasing taxes on seniors and lower income Michiganders? Ouimet voted with the Republicans.
- Stripping $1 billion from our schools? Ouimet voted with the Republicans.
Time after time after time, Mark Ouimet, the so-called “moderate”, voted with his extremely conservative Republican House colleagues. In other words, as I warned in 2010, Ouimet’s “nice guy” image is a complete facade. Once he got to Lansing, he became just another cog in the far-right Republican machine that has set out to crush our labor unions, restrict women’s access to reproductive services, and lower taxes on businesses on the backs of the middle class and our kids.
Here’s what I wrote in 2010:
In Michigan this year, it appears to be the Year of the “Nice Guy” Republican™. We have Rick Snyder running for governor, an Ann Arbor native, and we have Mark Ouimet, a Washtenaw County Commissioner, also from Ann Arbor. They are viewed as “Nice Guys” by many Ann Arbor-area Democrats to the point that many of these Democrats will be splitting their ticket next week to vote for them.
I am not.
Why? Because I have scratched the surface of the campaign’s of both men and found them to be typical Republicans. And if there’s one thing you can say about the Republican Party it’s that they do not let their members go “renegade” and begin working with Democrats once they get into positions of power. They do not. This, in large part, explains why we have such intractable gridlock in the state legislature right now.
In Ouimet’s case, he’s already capitulating to his Republican Party bosses. Despite saying last spring that he would work across party lines, it’s clear that Ouimet has no ability to say “no” to his party. While Ouimet runs a radio ad saying how much he “hates negative campaigning” and a television ad saying he’ll work with Democrats to get things done in Lansing, his party is running a series of the most offensive smear mailings and robocalls that I’ve ever seen
It turns out, sadly, that I was 100% correct.
Ouimet is being challenged by Saline Mayor Gretchen Driskell (my interview with her is HERE.) AnnArbor.com reports that he has raised more money than she has and contributed significantly to his own campaign. According to the article, a significant amount of his money has come from PACs like Business Leaders for Michigan PAC, Rental Property Owners PAC, Eli Lilly and Company PAC, Michigan Farm Bureau PAC, Michigan Credit Union Fund, DTE Energy Company PAC, Meijer PAC, BCBS PAC, Michigan Banker’s Association PAC, CMS Energy PAC, Michigan Townships Association PAC, AT&T PAC, Auto Dealers of Michigan PAC, Ford Motor Company MI PAC, GM PAC, MEDCO Health PAC, Fifth Third Bancorp PAC and United States Steel PAC.
Oiumet is using his bankroll to pay for billboards and to blanket the district with yard signs including this one in Chelsea. You can find it just south of town in front of an abandoned manufacturing building, complete with broken out windows and overgrown weeds, which bears the ironically appropriate company name of “Federal Screw Works”.
Mark Ouimet sign in front of the Federal Screw Works Building
In fact, Ouimet seems to have made arrangements with many of the real estate companies in the district as there is hardly a single vacant lot for sale that doesn’t have one of his signs on it. This is likely because Ouimet has very little grassroots support. Sources tell me he has almost nobody knocking doors or phonebanking for him. Unlike Driskell who has a significant ground game going, Ouimet appears to be taking a “campaign by yard sign” approach.
In 2010, I warned the voters of the 52nd District not to be fooled by Mark Ouimet’s phony moderate persona. It is a lie and we now have proof of it. Once Ouimet got to Lansing, he voted as reliably with his party as any ultra right wing tea partier while boasting about his work to enact the anti-democratic Emergency Manager law.
When you go to the polls, I ask you to remember this number: 0.8%.
In the 52nd District, we have a terrific candidate with a proven track record of leadership and fairness. ON NOVEMBER 6th, I ENCOURAGE YOU TO VOTE FOR GRETCHEN DRISKELL FOR STATE HOUSE.