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Five Incumbents On Republican Floor Leader Shortlist

August 30, 2016

The Republican caucus competition for leadership spots next session is off to the races. Rep. Rob VerHeulen (R-Walker) and Rep. Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) are long known to be vying for the top slot as Speaker, but MIRS has learned at least five members are looking to fill the Republican Floor Leader position currently held by term-limited Rep. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton).

Sources say candidates for the spot include Reps. Dan Lauwers (R-Brockway), Gary Glenn (R-Midland), Lana Theis (R-Brighton), Daniela Garcia (R-Holland) and Michael Webber (R-Rochester Hills). That makes three candidates from the Leonard camp and two candidates reported to be supporting VerHeulen.

Lauwers, firmly planted in the Leonard camp, has been seen alongside Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) spearheading reform of the Civil Service Commission — a top Republican priority. “I’m hoping to be considered for it, but whenever I speak to other members, my focus is winning the November election . . . and we can speak about floor leader interests after the election in November,” Lauwers said.

Garcia, who confirmed her interest in Floor Leader, is currently assistant Majority Floor Leader and has substituted often for Nesbitt on the House floor.

Following the August primary, Garcia sent a letter to Republican primary candidate winners aligning herself with VerHeulen. “Team Garcia in conjunction with Team VerHeulen worked hard this summer to ensure candidates like you prevailed in this election,” the letter read.

Though Garcia references VerHeulen in the letter, “in no way has he made any promises for any position that I am pursuing,” Garcia said. ” He is encouraging everyone to pursue their own interests.”

Glenn confirmed to MIRS that he is “seriously looking at” the floor leader spot. “My only regret would be if I failed to apply my abilities and experience in such a way as to maximize the impact I could have in advancing the limited government, free enterprise principles on which most Republicans run for office,” Glenn said. “My motivation would be to do as much as personally possible to ensure my Republican colleagues have the opportunity to move legislation consistent with those principles and establish a record of accomplishments that fulfill the commitments they’ve made to the people who elected them.” Glenn has actively promoted Leonard for Speaker. Theis is also supporting Leonard.

Webber and Tedder, both supporting VerHuelen, are stumping for leadership positions as well. Tedder said he is “tendering the idea of running for pro tem,” Leonard’s current post. “First and foremost, I’m focusing on winning the majority,” Tedder said.

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