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Mysterious 527 giving GOP boost in updated top 15 most likely to flip

November 1, 2016

House Republicans not only have $2.25 million in cash on hand going into the Nov. 8 election, it has Gov. Rick Snyder’s PACs, the Michigan Republican Party and now a secret 527 called the “Reinventing Michigan and Better Michigan Fund” (RMBMF) pumping out mailers and robocalls against Democratic candidates.

In at least six districts — the 23rd, 71st, 91st, 99th, 101st and 106th — this unknown group has paid messaging against Democratic candidates. Parody websites have been purchased against Dem candidates in 15 districts. 

There’s no proof that RMBMF is working in coordination with House Republicans or any other entity for that matter, and nothing to indicate what RMBMF is doing is illegal. 

However, one RMBMF robocall forwarded to MIRS against Robert Kennedy in the 106th featured the unmistakable voice of House Republican spokesman Gideon D’Assandro, although he declined to confirm he did the call. 

“As a matter of policy, the (House Republican Campaign Committee) does not discuss internal strategies or activities,” D’Assandro said. “However, we have clearly been investing in the race for the 106th District, as have the Democrats and numerous independent groups. That race is on everyone’s map. 

“Any questions about the activities of those independent groups should be directed to the groups in question.” 

However, no information exists about who is involved in RMBMF. 

The phone number that accompanies the robocall goes to a recording that simply says, “This line is being used for polling” with no option to opt-out or complain about the calls. 

The fake websites against the Democratic candidates include every candidate in the following Top 15 Most Likely To Flip list with the exception of Dana Camphous-Peterson, which is shockingly drifting away from the Dems’ grasp given the dirt the Democratic Party had on GOP nominee Steve Marino. 

1. 30th District (R to D) — *1 
Republicans aren’t giving up on Diana Farrington and she’s not giving up on them. But Democrats have a history of getting their voters to the polls in this Sterling Heights-based district. And absent a 2010-like GOP wave, turnout makes all the difference in an open seat. 

2. 91st District (R to D) — *2 
Democrats are pouring a lot of money and resources into Muskegon to make sure the biennial changing of the guard happens. That’s the bad news for Republicans. The good news is its taking away spending from other parts or the state. 

3. 99st District (R to D) — *3 
Republicans and nominee Roger Hauck are showing some late signs of life in Mt. Pleasant, but Democrat Bryan Mielke is playing with house money with 10 days to go. 

4. 106th District (R to D) — *4 
Robert Kennedy is wishing he could turn back time on his decision to remove Sue Allor yard signs out of public right of ways. Above-the-fold lead story in the Alpena News? That hurts. Lucky for the Democrat he had a 10-point lead before that story broke. 

5. 61st District (R to D) — *12 
It may be time to push the panic button on Trump delegate Brandt Iden (R-Portage). Republicans opened their wallet this week with new ads in this district, the 99th, 62nd and 71st amid scuttle that Trump’s unpopularity could sink the first-term incumbent. 

6. 23rd District (R to D) — *6 
The Democrats’ sure thing nine months ago isn’t looking all that sure with Trump playing well Downriver and Bob Howey showing the type of work ethic that got Rep. Pat Somerville (R-New Boston) elected three times. 

7. 101st District (R to D) — *8 
How tight is this race? The TV ad tracker the Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) updated that Dan Scripps has spent about $59,581 in television ads. Republicans have spent $59,120. When both Republicans and Democrats are saying a district is still a toss-up, it’s a toss-up. 

8 .62nd District (R to D) — *7 
Republicans started spending more on TV to match the triple digits Jim Haadsma is putting up in Battle Creek. If only Democrats could inspire their urban Battle Creek voters to the polls, Rep. John Bizon (R-Battle Creek) would be in the type of trouble Democrats thought he’d be in last January. 

9. 108th District (R to D) — *9 
Just as Democrats and Scott Celello cranked up the spending in this Upper Peninsula-based “sure thing,” Beau LaFave comes back with an ad that links Celello to the assault weapon ban legislation liberal Dems in Lansing introduced last week. Ouch! 

10. 24th District (R to D) — *5 
Returning to the football analogy of the last ranking, this Democratic touchdown is now in serious jeopardy. Either the ball isn’t being caught or the receiver isn’t quick enough. Maybe it’s just as simple as never underestimating Macomb County voter apathy to their public officials saying out-of-place thing. 

11. 71st District (R to D) — *14  
Democrats aren’t giving up on Theresa Abed and maybe we shouldn’t either. She doesn’t always poll well, but she over-performs on Election Day. Maybe that’s why both sides are still pouring a ton of money into this district. Democratic continuous claim that Rep. Tom Barrett (R-Potterville) is a tool for insurance companies certainly doesn’t help him. 

12. 66th District (R to D) — *13 
The Herald-Palladium reported that Republican Beth Griffin was the president of a chapter of ACT! For America, which the Southern Poverty Law Center claims “has eagerly tapped into a groundswell of anti-Muslim rage and done what it could to fan the flames.” ACT! For America claims its focus is on “national security” and protecting America from terrorism. 

13. 57th District (R to D) — *15 
The map is expanding to Lenawee now that Democrats see a path to victory for Harvey Schmidt. Republicans may have not counted on spending the campaign’s last few weeks stumping for Bronna Kahle, but with the 57th featuring a 56 percent base, they’ll take it. 

14. 39th District (R to D) — *10 
The Chaldean and Jewish communities in the 39th House District have rallied around Rep. Klint Kesto (R-Commerce Twp.), which is making it hard for Michael Stack to ride Clinton’s popularity to victory. 

15. 20th District (R to D) — *11 
Democrats are no longer actively playing in this district, essentially cutting Colleen Pobur loose in favor of districts that don’t have a 57-to 43-percent base number disparity. Pobur is still putting up TV ads with her own money, so we’re not pulling this western Wayne County district from our list. 

* = Rankings from “15 Races Most Likely To Flip — No Presidential Coattails In 2016,” 9/30/16.

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