To the extent that tea partiers in Allegan County dominate the electorate, things are looking very good for Cindy Gamrat to regain her seat in the state House. I’m not kidding:
In her first candidate forum since announcing her candidacy for her former 80th District House seat, expelled Rep. Cindy Gamrat won in a straw poll against her eight GOP competitors.
All eight Republican candidates were invited, but only six participated in the Tuesday forum hosted by the Allegan County Tea Party, where candidates where each given an opportunity to speak and answer questions from the audience, according to a news release. One Democrat is also running.
Gamrat took 35 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s straw poll. The next closest vote-getters included Bill Sage, Jim Storey and Shannon Szukala with 29, 16 and 10 percent, respectively.
Kevin Travis, Mary Whiteford, Eric DeWitt and James A. Siver rounded out the bottom of the list. Travis and Whiteford received 7 and 3 percent, respectively. DeWitt and Siver did not receive any votes.
According to the Allegan County Tea Party’s Facebook page, Mary Whiteford, who came in second place behind Gamrat in the 2014 GOP primary, is “a Democrat, running as a Republican.”
So, this could very much be a winnable election for Cindy Gamrat if the tea party movement there plays a significant role.
Meanwhile, although the state Secretary of State’s office has found no reason that Gamrat can’t legally run for the seat, House Republicans are giving serious consideration to not seating her if she wins. They, apparently, will have the last word on the matter since the House makes its own rules.
“This is a nightmare that won’t go away,” Cotter told reporters over the weekend at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference on Mackinac Island. “We have spoken clearly, by a convincing margin, that these two are unfit to serve. It’s unfortunate, they’re just continuing to press on.”
He also cast some doubt on whether either would be seated in the House even if they did win.
“We’re going to look over options,” he said. Asked if voting among the House membership to not seat them was one of those options, Cotter said: “Yeah, I’d say we’re going to look at all possibilities. Other possibilities that exist, too.” […]
[Secretary of State spokesperson Fred] Woodhams said the question of whether either Gamrat or Courser is eligible to be seated is something for the state House to answer.
Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser: the gift that keeps on giving.