Chairman’s Corner by Scott McGraw

The start of a new year and the start of a new election cycle can be an exciting time. The beginning of something new usually gives us an opportunity – wiping the slate clean and starting over. There are new possibilities as you think of the possible outcomes of what the new year and the new cycle will bring. It’s time to dream and to plan. I think that is appropriate for us as Republicans in Kalamazoo County to do. We need to rethink our strategies, our goals and our 

This past election was a brutal one. I understand how Notre Dame feels after losing to Clemson in the college playoff game on Saturday. To go undefeated all season and have high expectations for the outcome only to have such a disappointing loss end their season – I think I can relate to that. 

Kalamazoo County has been a Republican dominated county for a long time. Even though the demographic has shifted in recent years, we have had a strong showing in elections. The pollsters have shown us that we were 52 Dem to 48 percent Republican in the past decade. That started to slip to 56 percent Dem in the last election cycle. Well, we’re now about 42 percent Republican in this past election.

The KGOP has been proud to have been over-performing in the past several elections. We have held four of the five Legislative seats in this county with a minority of voters in the county. The only crack for us was in the Kalamazoo County Commission, where four years ago we lost majority with a 6-5 margin. 

That crack widened with this election. We lost our senate seat and two more seats fell on the county commission giving the Dems an 8-3 margin. The good news is we have retained the 61st District seat in the state House. Brandt Iden’s victory was hard-fought and I am proud that he was able to get across the goal line.

But what do we do now? I think this is the time to re-thing and strategize for the next cycle. Brandt Iden will be term-limited, creating another vulnerable situation that we have to step up and address. The county commission majority is very achievable. We need to pick up three seats and I think we can do that.

This election had a huge Blue Wave attached to it. Will that carry over into 2020? I sure hope not, but we must be prepared. Republicans must stick together and get out the vote.

Your Executive Committee will meet and strategize about the future. We already have a lot of ideas that show tremendous promise. We will come up with a plan and be ready for the 2020 elections.

This is a time for us to begin our comeback in Kalamazoo County. The work begins now, not next summer or next spring. The time is now. It’s time to take Kalamazoo back!