Gun safety, House control take center stage as political leaders set sights on 2024 election ⋆

Michigan’s political leaders kicked their 2024 election efforts into gear this week, with Democrats launching an ad campaign targeting Republican House members who opposed gun safety legislation and former Gov. Rick Snyder partnering with GOP lawmakers in a bid to retake the state House.

On Tuesday the Michigan Democratic Party announced an ad campaign criticizing six House Republicans for voting against recently-signed gun safety measures. Those measures, championed by Democrats following the mass shooting at Michigan State University in February, include background checks for all firearm purchases, mandates that Michiganders safely store their firearms in homes with children, and allowing a court to temporarily remove guns from individuals deemed a threat to themselves or others.

The Democratic ad campaign centers on seats held by Reps. Donni Steele (R-Orion Twp.), Mark Tisdel (R-Rochester Hills), Jamie Thompson (R-Brownstown), James DeSana (R-Carleton), Tom Kuhn (R-Troy) and Alicia St. Germaine (R-Harrison Twp.). The campaign includes online and TV ads as well as three billboards in Oakland County slamming Tisdel and Steele for voting against gun safety measures in the House.

The Michigan Democratic Party also took to Twitter encouraging Steele and Tisdel’s constituents to contact the lawmakers’ offices in Lansing and ask them why they voted against these measures. 

“Republicans are showing time and time again how out of step they are with the will of Michiganders and the folks who put them in office. It is critical that we simply let those folks know, here’s how your representative voted; do you agree with that vote?” said Rep. Jason Morgan (D-Ann Arbor), who serves as the vice chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. 

According to a statement, Democrats expect the ads will reach more than 200,000 cable subscribers. The online ads are targeted toward 25,000 moderate and liberal voters.

State Rep. Jason Morgan (D-Ann Arbor), April 13, 2023 | Laina G. Stebbins

“This campaign is just one of the many ways the party is going to show Michiganders, the contrast between democrats delivering and what Republicans stand for ahead of the 2024 election,” Morgan said. “We want to make sure folks know the Democrats are delivering for them and Republicans are standing in the way of progress and that we need more Democrats in office if we’re going to continue to do pro-people things and pass good public policy for our state.”

Tisdel, Steele, DeSana and St. Germaine could not be reached for comment in time for publication.

Mike Murray, a spokesperson for Kuhn responded to the campaign in an emailed statement.

“Sterling Heights, Troy, and Madison Heights families deserve to have their elected officials focused on solving the area’s challenges, rather than campaigning for an election that is over a year away. And that is precisely what Representative Tom Kuhn is doing,” Murray wrote.

“Rep. Kuhn will allow others in Lansing to engage in their partisan games, while he remains dedicated to working diligently every day for Sterling Heights, Troy, and Madison Heights families.”

Thompson also responded in a statement, saying she has voted for what’s best for her district based on conversations with citizens asking for safer communities, better access to child care and mental health care, less government overreach and to keep more of the money they earn.

“I stand by all my votes, including on bills that would restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners and don’t address mental health. This issue impacts me personally, as I lost my brother to gun violence when he was just 32 years old,” Thompson said.

“We have already seen an unwillingness by local prosecutors to enforce gun laws that we have, and these simply tacked on more while clamping down on Constitutional freedoms,” she said.

In a previous interview with the Advance, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she would work to educate individuals including law enforcement and prosecutors on how to apply Michigan’s emergency protection order laws and would be working to ensure these orders are properly executed.

Gov. Rick Snyder, (R-MI), speaks during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, about the Flint, Michigan water crisis, on Capitol Hill March 17, 2016 in Washington, DC. |
Mark Wilson, Getty Images

As Democrats pursue their opponents on gun safety, the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) announced on Monday that they’re working with Snyder, a Republican governor who led the state from 2011 through 2019, and businessman Bill Parfet in their bid to retake the state House. Snyder will serve as the chair of the fundraising committee for the HRCC.

Democrats took control of both the Michigan House and Senate in November’s election.

“Bill Parfet and Governor Snyder have created jobs and helped make our economy competitive, and they know that Michigan needs a House Republican majority to provide checks and balances and refocus our government on the issues that matter to Michigan families,” House Minority Leader Matt Hall (R-Richland Twp.) said in a statement.

Snyder echoed that sentiment.

“I’m looking forward to partnering with House Republicans to raise critical resources and communicate their vision and plan of action to Michigan voters,” the former governor said in the HRCC statement.

According to the April quarterly statement filed by the HRCC, the group received more than $1.26 million in contributions in 2023 thus far. A statement filed by the Michigan House Democratic Fund reported more than $1.3 million in contributions this year.

As the two major political parties gear up for next year’s election, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has also formed a political action committee (PAC) to support the election of Democrats in the federal government. According to a statement of organization filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission, Heather Ricketts, who served as the compliance director of Whitmer’s previous election campaign, serves as the committee’s treasurer.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers a keynote address at the Mackinac Policy Conference on June 1, 2023. (Andrew Roth/)

The PAC gets its name from one of Whitmer’s campaign slogans, where she vowed to “fight like hell” in support of abortion rights. Registered as a hybrid PAC, the committee can make contributions connected to federal campaigns from one bank account while maintaining a separate account that can be used to fund independent communications supporting or opposing candidates, advertisements that refer to a federal candidate, and generic voter drives. 

In a statement, Andrew Feldman, a communications consultant with Feldman Strategies who is working with Fight Like Hell, said Whitmer, a Democrat, would be “pulling out all the stops” to help re-elect President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, maintain control of the U.S. Senate and flip control of the U.S. House for Democrats in 2024. Whitmer serves as a co-chair for Biden’s re-election campaign

“This is a moment when we all must do everything we can to keep up the momentum for candidates who fight for everyday Americans and the will of the majority,” Feldman said. “Fight Like Hell will be a vehicle to ensure we do just that.”

Feldman said more details on the PAC would be released in the coming days.

In a tweet, Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes noted the establishment of a PAC did not mean Whitmer would be running for federal office. 

“You know I love enthusiasm as much as the rest of ‘em, but take a deep breath! You can’t run for federal office when you set up this PAC. But you can raise good money to elect federal candidates, like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and other Democrats down ballot. Let’s go,” Barnes wrote. 

After she won her reelection in November and Democrats took control of the state House and Senate, national media often postulated Whitmer’s viability as a presidential candidate. In March, Whitmer told CNN’s Chris Wallace that she has no plans to run for president in 2024.



authored by Kyle Davidson
First published at

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