It’s all apologies after Paul Junge, one of five Republicans vying for the chance to take on Democrat U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin in November, ignored instructions and instead delivered a “highly charged political message” that landed with a big thud at the Jan. 31, 2020, Livingston Sunrise Rotary Club weekly breakfast meeting.
In the wake of Junge’s appearance, Sunrise Rotary Club President Jim Gilmore issued an apology to members on Facebook, saying that though Junge was “briefed extensively” before the meeting on what he could and could not say “in accordance with … Rotary standards,” Junge ignored the rules.
“Rotary is not the place for politics, and we, as an organization and as a club, go to great lengths to keep at arms length … anything that would keep us from our goal of service above self,” Gilmore said. “Usually those things involve politics and/or religion.”
What Junge said during the meeting is unknown; whatever it was, though, it clearly kerfuffled the Rotarians.
“I attempted to stop him without being rude,” Gilmore said. “But he carried on until he got out his message.”
Despite his reportedly extensive briefing, Junge said that he “misunderstood the rules prohibiting any political comments.”
“I am running for Congress,” Junge said. “… I apologize to the Club.”
Club President Gilmore reiterated his apology for the controversy to Sunrise members: “I … commit to you that we will continue to work hard to keep our club non-political and non-religious so that we can do the work that as Rotarians we have committed to do, serve others in our community and the world.”
ABOUT THE RACE
U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a moderate Democrat, flipped the 8th District seat held by Republicans for almost two decades by beating U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, in 2018.
Candidates in the Republican primary include Mike Detmer, a Howell Realtor; Alan Hoover, an Iraq veteran and entrepreneur from Ortonville in Oakland County; Paul Junge of Brighton, a former prosecutor and TV news anchor; Kristina Lyke of Fowlerville, an attorney at Lyke Law in East Lansing; and Nikki Snyder, a member of the state Board of Education who doesn’t live in the district, but said she’d move in if elected.
The 8th Congressional District includes all of Livingston and Ingham counties, and northern Oakland County.