The mailing that hit homes in the 42nd state House District on Wednesday attacking a Democrat — “paid for by the Livingston County Republican Party with regulated funds,” and “not approved by any candidate or candidate’s committee” — is of a sort that hasn’t been done before, at least directed at a Livingston County Democrat, according to my expert source on all things Republican.
While the mailing may signal a departure in strategy, it also shows that county Republicans are very, very afraid that Democrat Mona Shand is giving Republican Ann Bollin more than just a run for her money.
In a piece from early in the campaign, Buddy Moorehouse nails it. But it came before the campaign really got underway.
This mailing comes after the local GOP became witness to how fierce a foe Shand is. They’ve seen the campaign she’s running. The amount of money she’s raised frightens them. They’ve noticed how many doors Shand’s knocked on, and how many house parties she’s attended, and how many events she’s been at, and how she’s showed up for each and every forum and debate to which she’s been invited, even the ones the local Republicans “skipped.”
Livingston County hasn’t seen a campaign as far-reaching and energetic as Shand’s in a long, long time.
But the mailing raises more questions for me. At first blush, I thought the local Republicans were against exercising, as well as eating vegetables.
Let me explain: The “hit piece” features this star-spangled quote from Bollin: “I love this county and all that it stands for. God Bless America.” It quotes Shand as saying Michelle Obama is someone she considers a role mode, “in terms of both policy and personality.”
Really? That’s what’s got the local Republican party wringing its hands? That Shand admires the woman who (just barely) topped Oprah Winfrey on this year’s list of most-admired women in the world?
Then I thought about it a bit more: Why that quote? Why the focus on Michelle Obama? Is the local GOP really against exercising and eating vegetables they’ve grown themselves, or does conjuring up the image of the country’s first African-American first lady serve as a Trumpian dog whistle on race?
I am not sure. And that this mailing creates that kind of uncertainty is, to me, not a good thing.
You need to know that I don’t live in the 42nd district, but I must disclose that Shand is a friend of mine. Together we’ve co-produced The Mommologues for several years, an event just before Mother’s Day that features readings and other pieces about motherhood that raises funds for LACASA, the organization in Livingston County that works with and advocates for the victims of child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence.
It’s too bad this mailing didn’t focus on the issues that have a profound and immediate effect on our lives. If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time cussing about the awful state of our roads, worrying about the PFAS polluting our waters, and volunteering to keep our kids safe. I don’t vote in local elections on the Republican cultural touchstones of abortion and guns.
Rather than focusing on what matters most to people, the county GOP instead chose to close the campaign for the 42nd state House district focused on cultural issues that state legislators have little to no control over.
NOTE: The 42nd district includes the townships of Genoa, Green Oak, Hamburg, Putnam and Brighton, as well as the city of Brighton and the Village of Pinckney.