Things are heating up behind the scenes for one of the major leadership races - RNC Committeeman. This is in fact, the earliest I've seen any campaign for party leadership position. The good news about that is that it shows that there is a lot of energy and people pushing for the job. The bad news is that things could get real negative real fast. I hope it does not go down that road, and barring a major unforseen circumstance or one or two individuals jumping in, I will refrain from going down that road here. I personally like all the candidates running, and do not have a reason to attack them on that level.
So far, there are rumors of three or four candidates jumping into this race. They are:
Chuck Yob - The incumbent. He's held this position for years. Also a candidate for Congress in 2000. He's taken a lot of heat lately, particulary related to his strong style of support of John McCain, but the Yobs have done a lot of good as well. Chuck took one for the team when he ran against Bart Stupak in 2000, being the last candidate to hold him under 60%. John Yob was one of the leaders behind Terri Land's campaign back in 2002 which was strong enough to cause the democrats to nearly abandon that race. He was also active in Jerry Zandstra's campaign, who I think would have been our best chance to win in 06.
Paul Welday - Oakland County Chair. I don't know all that much about him.
Andrew Rocky Raczkowski - Former state rep and US Senate Candidate. Rocky is a good guy who I think could have been a very good candidate in 02 if he had some support from the party. He's a strong speaker used to winning tough campaigns winning three in Farmington Hills. Since the 02 campaign, he was called up to service in the Army, and has been overseas fighing for this country.
Norm Shinkle - Ingham County Chair and former state senator. Norm's a good guy who has done a very good job from what I've seen as state chair. He's won tough districts when he was a state senator in Monroe County. He's now in the Williamston area and understands the difficulty of being chair in a county with Lansing, East Lansing, and Okemos. He's also done a good job at paying attention to the races at all levels of government, from the top of the ticket, down to the county commissioners and local levels, even the city councils.
One thing I like is that three out of the four have ran for office and know what it is like to be a candidate. All three ran in tough or long shot districts. Yob ran for Bart Stupak's seat in 2000 against very long odds. He gave it his best and at least held Stupak to under 60%, the last candidate to do so. Rocky was abandoned in his race against Carl Levin in 2002, something I really do not want to see again in 08. He knows that that's like and may avoid getting the party to chicken out of races before they even get started. Rocky has also won three times in Farmington Hills, not exactly an easy district to win. Norm Shinkle was a former state senator out in Monroe County. He now lives in Ingham County and has done a very good job out there as chair, despite being in a democrat stronghold.
One person blogging heavily on this race is Bay City's Joe Sylvester. Sylvester's site is the gossip site for Michigan Republican internal battles. I'll admit to cringing a time or two when I read it at times with some of the dirt that gets posted there, but I always go back and read it.
John Yob has started a blog as well. Great Lakes Report should be a good read on this race in the future.
If the race was decided today, Norm Shinkle would get my support. I probably know him the best of the three running, as Norm is in the 8th district. I also knew him from my time at MSU, and his work at getting MSU GOP active in the Ingham County events. He'll have a good balance of establishment support, as well as grass roots support, and we need the two to be on the same page. The gubenatorial race is open in 2010 barring a recall of the Matt Millen of governors. It will be critical for this state that we elect a competent governor, and that the RNC is working to help - not hinder (as the NRSC does) - the campaign. With his experience, I think Norm will do an excellent job for us.
With the RNC committeeman race gaining this much interest, there is one thing all four candidates for the job can do to enhance their resume - all work hard to win this state at the top of the ticket, take out Carl Marx Levin, take out Stupak, defend Walberg and Knollenberg and the rest of our delegation, and take back the state house. Then they can all campaign on "look what I did" and not go down the road about how much the "other guy sucks."
Balls in their court. Let's see what happens.