Several items of interest to report in Michigan’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign this afternoon.
First, another poll out today shows Mark Schauer in a statistical dead heat with incumbent Republican governor Rick Snyder. This poll, by Vanguard Public Affairs, has Snyder up by just 3.2 points with a margin of error of 4 points. In the same poll, Gary Peters is ahead of Terri Lynn Land in their U.S. Senate race by a full 7 points, Godfrey Dillard trails Republican Ruth Johnson for Secretary of State by 3.6 points with nearly a third undecided, and Democrat Mark Totten down by 8 points against incumbent Attorney General Bill Schuette with more than a quarter of the respondents still undecided.
The race between Schauer is clearly heating up with Rick Snyder ready to blanket the airwaves with ads. Yesterday, Snyder told WOOD-TV that he wanted to avoid negative campaigning:
Association of Michigan/Michigan Center for Assisted Living Annual Conference and Expo.
He told 24 Hour News 8 he wants to keep the campaign positive.
“I’m trying to set a bar for what we should expect out of our public servants and I believe that bar is too low today in too many ways,” Snyder said. “There’s some wonderful public servants, that’s not a comment on them, but our citizens, we’ve dropped that far too far in terms of negativity and misrepresentations.”
That lasted less than 24 hours when Snyder’s campaign manager told the Detroit News, “Mark Schauer lacks the intelligence to keep up with him in a format like a town hall”.
Good grief. So much for “setting the bar higher”, Governor.
Snyder has also agreed to 10 “open forums” and said that Mark Schauer is “welcome to show up”. These are not moderated debates that voters have come to expect. Mark Schauer’s campaign issued this pointed response:
It’s a shame that Rick Snyder is unwilling to debate Mark Schauer in televised debates that would allow the most voters to see the candidates side by side discussing important issues that affect them. A carefully scripted town hall with a partisan Republican audience is not the same as a statewide televised debate. We’ve reached out multiple times to the governor’s campaign to negotiate debates, with no response. Mark Schauer would be happy to do a televised town hall with Rick Snyder. But let’s be clear, what the governor proposed today is a political stunt.
Anything to distract from the fact that Snyder’s imploding over scandal after scandal in his administration, I suppose. Even Jack Lessenberry is starting to pile on:
Aramark Correctional Services has been an embarrassment ever since they were hired to run the newly privatized prison food service. And now one of Aramark’s food service workers has been arrested for smuggling illegal drugs into the state’s St. Louis prison in Gratiot County.
A spokesman for the Corrections Department said they included marijuana, heroin and cocaine.
When asked about this, the governor said, “Those are concern points. There are a number of issues in the past, and the issue is how do we make sure those aren’t continuing issues.”
That’s the kind of language politicians use when they want to avoid tough issues. However, these ARE continuing issues. And you have to wonder, what part of “cut your losses” doesn’t the governor understand? […]
I’d hope the Snyder administration has been feverishly looking around for an alternative to Aramark.
Yesterday, Snyder said “The critical issue is that we are solving the Aramark problem.”
Well, sorry sir, but there’s no sign of that yet.
And in a world where many decisions are very hard, in this case, it seems relatively easy to see what the state should do.
Speaking of Aramark, one of the four members of the state Civil Service Commission said today that he feels like Snyder’s Department of Corrections misled the Commission:
“I feel misled,” said Robert Swanson, who sits on the four-member Civil Service Commission that oversees state employee compensation and must approve state government privatization initiatives such as the Aramark deal, which eliminated about 370 state jobs.
“Why we were not informed?” Swanson asked [Corrections official Russ] Marlan at Wednesday’s commission meeting. […]
Swanson, a Democratic appointee to the commission, pointed out that the commission received a further update on the Aramark contract in late April and had informal discussions with the department as recently as July, but he didn’t learn the fine had been waived until he read about it in the newspaper.
“I don’t feel like I’ve been dealt with forthrightly by the department,” he said.
Marlan told the Free Press he learned the fine had been waived “probably a month ago” and saw no need to go back and tell the commission.
I’ll bet the emails flying around the Snyder administration are pretty spicy just about now…
Finally, the Democratic Governors Association has released another ad featuring Mark Schauer. In this one, he takes Governor Snyder to tax for allowing tax breaks to continue for companies that take their businesses overseas:
The DGA is making a “multimillion-dollar” broadcast and cable buy on behalf of Schauer.
[Photo credit: Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]