In a disappointing development, disgraced former lawmakers Cindy Gamrat (Plainwell – 80th District) and Todd Courser (Lapeer – 82nd District) have filed to run in the upcoming special election to fill the seats that became open when Gamrat was expelled and Courser resigned following an embarrassing extramarital affair and botched coverup. The entire saga consumed the political process for several weeks and stalled progress on several critical issues. Currently, the matter is also under investigation by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.
Filing deadline for the November 3rd Primary Election was last Friday, September 18th, but the field will not be finalized until 4pm today because candidates have a short window to withdraw. While withdrawals commonly happen, we do expect both districts to choose their next Representative from a crowded field of candidates. The General Election will be held March 8, 2016.
Unfortunately, Michigan taxpayers are being handed a big bill for this election. Local officials are estimating the cost of accommodating the special election will be expensive because previously printed ballots for the regularly scheduled November election are not usable. Lapeer County is eyeing increased costs of approximately $100,000 while Allegan County is bracing for $30,000 in replacement costs.
At the Michigan Chamber, we are doing our homework and the Political Action Committee Board will seriously consider becoming involved in both races. We are in the process of carefully listening to our members and researching all the candidates who have filed to run. At this time, no endorsement decisions have been made; however, we do agree with the many individuals who have stated that the residents of both Lapeer and Allegan County deserve better representation. The entire Michigan Chamber will work aggressively to ensure that the newly-elected representatives will be strong supporters of free enterprise, economic freedom and our agenda to make Michigan the most economically competitive state in the nation.