GOP fields four candidates in Michigan House District 43 primary

Four candidates are trying to break through to Republican voters in Michigan House District 43 and win their support: Nevin Cooper-Keel, Phillip Joseph, Lindsay Kronemeyer and Rachelle Smit.

Most candidates are running with a strongly anti-establishment message, telling voters they will bring genuine conservative values ​​to Lansing and repeating claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” or fraudulent.

Rachelle Smith

Smit, Martin Township’s clerk-elect, said she was inspired to run for office after seeing what she described as “countless irregularities” in the 2020 presidential election tally.

Though a Republican-majority Michigan Senate committee investigated allegations of fraud in Michigan’s election administration and found no evidence of fraud, Smit calls for a ‘forensic audit’ of the 2020 election in Michigan. She also wants to prioritize electoral reforms such as mandatory voter identification and banning ballot boxes.

Candidate Phillip Joseph, a resident of Orangeville Township, also calls the 2020 election “stolen” in blog posts and said in an interview that he supports electoral reforms similar to Smit’s.

“No matter where you stand on the issue of the 2020 election, voter confidence is down, and we need to do something about it,” Joseph said. “I am not in favor of same day voter registration, drop boxes should be illegal and I would like photo ID to be required. But at the same time I want it to be clear that I would like voting to be easy and accessible to people.”

Philip Joseph

Joseph said he was a lifelong Republican, but felt the Republican politicians he had voted for had fallen short. “I’m angry with the party, because I don’t feel they represent us well.”

Joseph describes himself as “a normal guy running to represent normal people” and said voters he speaks with are frustrated with the political establishment on the right and left. “They want honesty. They want simplicity. And I just want people to be able to live their lives without government intrusion.”

“Government is more the problem than the solution in many cases,” he said.

Smit, who owns a second-generation dairy farm with her husband, said she is also focusing on anti-abortion legislation, increasing parental control over child rearing and helping farmers prosper through deregulation of the agricultural industry.

“We don’t need co-parenting with the government,” Smit wrote on his campaign website, citing “Critical race theory and woke ideology” as causes for the failure of Michigan’s public education system. “Parents should have a choice of where their children are educated.”

Lindsay Kronemeyer

On the issue of education, mother and charter school board member Lindsay Kronemeyer, who describes herself as a “common sense conservative,” said she is focusing on three areas: transparency, accountability and flexibility.

Parents should be able to see what their children are being taught in schools, Kronemeyer said, and schools should be held accountable for the literacy rates they provide.

Lindsay Kronemeyer, Republican candidate for Michigan House District 43, speaks during a candidates forum hosted by the West Coast Chamber of Commerce at Boatwerks Restaurant on Monday, June 20, 2022.

Kronemeyer also said there should be more emphasis on financial literacy and skilled trades in school.

“We have an aging workforce in construction and manufacturing,” Kronemeyer said. “If we can’t build and manufacture our own things in this country, we’re going to be in a world of suffering.”

Kronemeyer supports the same electoral reforms as his opponents, including requiring photo ID, saying “we all know there has been voter fraud over the years” and that citizens must regain confidence in the electoral system.

Republican candidates’ focus on allegations of fraud in the 2020 election was an issue that pushed Democrat Mark Ludwig into the race, and it’s why he’s trying to call on Republican voters to “rehabilitate the red” and change parties this year.

Mark Ludwig

“I’m quite overwhelmed by the fundamental break from reality that so many people in this country have had, following Donald Trump down this utter den of madness,” Ludwig said. “And I felt compelled to say that was a bunch of lies from the Republican Party.”

Ludwig, of Fennville, admits electoral reforms may be needed to restore voter confidence in the election after so much talk of fraud and said he would work with Republicans on the legislation.

He said he was reaching out to Republican voters who “see there’s a whole bunch of lies out there” and acknowledges that voting for him, as a pro-choice Democrat passionate about the issue of climate change, “could be a hard pill to swallow.”

“But as a Democrat, I’m pretty moderate. I have a lot of guns,” he joked. “I’m willing to listen to anyone’s point of view, and I’m much more concerned that we’re reinforcing our fundamental principles of ‘small-d democracy’. Everything else is secondary.”

Bail serf Allegan Nevin Cooper-Keel challenged state Rep. Mary Whiteford in 2020. He is running in 2022 as a Republican in the crowded District 43 primary.

Cooper-Keel wrote on Facebook that he was running on parental rights issues, rooting out corruption and removing the power of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to issue lockdown or mask orders.

“Our state has suffered massive violations of the law by our state government against its people and we need to send someone out there who is willing to do the job of restraining the government,” he wrote, explaining that he had filed because he did not believe the other three candidates were “qualified” for the position. “One thing you can 100% count on me to do is strip the health department of any emergency shutdown authority without prior legislative approval.”

Cooper-Keel, who did not respond to multiple emailed interview requests, unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Mary Whiteford, R-Casco Township, in District 80 in a 2020 primary, a campaign which he says was inspired by the 2020 stay-at-home orders from the first pandemic.

Cooper-Keel manages Atwater Bail Bonds in Allegan and was the Monterey Township Supervisor for several years.

He sued Allegan County judges over the way his divorce proceedings were handled and recently sued Allegan County 48th Circuit Judge Roberts Kengis and the State of Michigan in federal court. , saying his freedom of speech was violated when the court’s official Facebook page deleted the comments. he did.

The primary election is August 2 and the general election is November 8.

— Contact journalist Carolyn Muyskens at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @cjmuyskens.

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Raymond I. Langston