Chairman’s Corner by Scott McGraw

What an eye-opening experience the general election results gave us. I was very excited before the election thinking the Republicans were prepared better than we’ve been in a long time, but I was wrong. 

This cycle was certainly a shift in Kalamazoo County further to the left from what we saw in 2016. Although 2016 was considered a successful Republican year, it had mixed results in Kalamazoo County. We went with Hillary Clinton by a difference of about 16,000 – definitely not a Trump mandate. This election, we lost the countywide senate seat by more than 12,000 votes. We did retain Brandt Iden’s seat by 1,283 votes, not a mandate in any sense of the word; but nonetheless a victory. Congressman Fred Upton, who won the election in the six-county 6th District, lost Kalamazoo County by nearly 16,000 votes. Luckily, he made up that amount and won by almost 13,000.

I was hoping to make a difference on the Kalamazoo County Commission in this cycle, too. Alas, I lost my race as did Dale Shugars and the margin on the commission is now 8-3. I also thought we had a chance with Steve Carra to flip the Portage District 10 seat.

It was a perfect storm, I believe. A perfect Democrat storm. Not only did Prop 1 (recreational use of marijuana) turn out an incredible amount of young voters, but the passion and fervor over the top of the Michigan ticket did little to pull the downstream candidate up during the election. Bill Schuette lost in Kalamazoo by 22,840 votes for governor, Mary Treder Lang lost locally by 22,897 and Tom Leonard was closest in losing by just 13,470. I think the other two proposals on the voting issues (Prop 2 and Prop 3) also helped turn out the vote.

I’m going to miss having Margaret O’Brien call me at all hours of the day with an idea or concern about the Republican Party. I’m going to miss driving Margaret and Tonya Schuitmaker to different meetings, as they made calls or slept in the back of my car (I won’t say which one snores). Especially, I’m going to miss the Kalamazoo County Commission meetings and strategizing with my friend Dale Shugars.

It’s going to be a different Kalamazoo in the next few years. I pray that the Dems who will be in control will be able to manage the business of government without sacrificing the stability of our government. I also pray that our taxes to skyrocket out of control.

We must look forward, however; the values of the Republican Party may not be accepted by a majority of voters in certain areas, but they are still the right values for this country and its citizens. Kalamazoo’s voters may not recognize this either, but the Republican Party of Kalamazoo County is not going away! We will not let this election set us back from our mission to elect and support Republican candidates for office. The words of Abraham Lincoln never were so true as in this county and with this election “… that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”