Yesterday, my opponent in the Attorney General’s race, Tom Leonard, sent an email titled “Desperate campaign attacks” and denounced “the negative campaign being run from my opponent.”
For him to tell people he opposes negative campaigning is quite a shock, because as he’s traveled the state, he criticizes fellow Republicans, and the day I announced my candidacy, a so-called “news” website attacked me and ran Facebook ads promoting the fake news story. Who owns this website? Tom Leonard’s political consultant. Tom Leonard is clearly comfortable with negative campaigning, but only if it suits his political interests and especially when he can hide behind others.
Why is Tom Leonard suddenly against “negative campaigning”? Because my campaign is letting Delegates know that he donated repeatedly to a liberal Democrat’s campaign. This liberal Democrat was endorsed by Planned Parenthood and was weak on illegal immigration. In fact, when the Attorney General’s seat was last open, in 2010, Tom Leonard donated to liberal Democrat David Leyton, who Bill Schuette defeated in the general election.
Tom Leonard says, “I didn’t recently become a conservative because I wanted to pander to delegates.” If he’s been a conservative for such a long time, why did he donate over and over and over to a liberal Democrat? The Attorney General’s Office is very important in Michigan and Delegates deserve to know this information; Tom Leonard is certainly not sharing it as he campaigns around the state.
In yesterday’s email, my opponent specifically accused me and my campaign of “trying to go further and attack my family”, “requesting personal information about my wife”, and “clearly looking for something to attack my wife”. He added, “my wife and daughter should be off-limits to personal attacks” and that he feels “awful” for his wife.
So, what supposedly caused these comments? A Freedom of Information request was made to find out the taxpayer-funded salary and benefits of the Head of the Film Office, the entity that distributed film tax credits until its core function was eliminated in 2015. Yep, that’s it. The Mackinac Center requests this public information on a regular basis and our campaign is doing a standard check to see the latest information as we review his record.
Strong American Campaigns
American campaigns are about a vigorous exchange of ideas, sharing your vision and differentiating with the opposition. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson fought it out, along with Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, George W. Bush and John McCain, and we all witnessed the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary. Abraham Lincoln would have never won the Republican nomination for president if his team had avoided differentiating himself from the other Republican candidates. In Michigan, the Gubernatorial candidates are mixing it up, just as they do every time the seat is open, and elections all across our state will contain disagreements among candidates, but the people will sort it out and our democracy will go on as it always has.
Since our country survived the strong campaign tactics of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Donald Trump and our Michigan candidates, I suspect we will survive some back-and-forth in the Attorney General’s race. I believe the biggest shame would be to keep information hidden from Delegates during the nomination process, and then we find out a candidate’s vulnerabilities in a general election against the Democrats, or if elected, people are surprised by the newly elected official’s actions. Our party is most definitely intellectually strong enough that we can have fact-based discussions in elections throughout our state, so the Delegates and voters can make informed decisions.