Only six months ago, the names of
possible replacements for term-limited state Rep. Joan Bauer,
D-Lansing, next year in the Lansing-based 68th House District looked
like a grocery list.

Now, less than six months away from the
May filing deadline, there’s only one clear candidate, Ingham County
Commissioner Andy Schor. 

Schor made his expected announcement
official last week by adding that he’s already raised $45,000. That’s
significant. When the seat was last open in ’06, the eventual field of
six Democratic candidates raised a combined $40,000 in the off year,

Bauer, the eventual winner, raised $100,000 for her entire campaign. Schor is halfway there and it’s not even 2012.

Meanwhile, all of Schor’s potential
opponents have dropped off the earth. Kelly Bernero, daughter of Mayor
Virg Bernero, saw her chances go up in smoke when she was busted with a
little weed during an impaired driving stop.

Lansing City Council President A’Lynne
Robinson told me the night of her re-election that she was serving four
more years on the Council.

Councilman Derrick Quinney got blown up
in this fall during his successful reelection campaign for not taking
the 68th House seat off the table when talking to City Pulse. A source
close to Quinney told me running for the state House is not first on
his mind right now.

And former Lansing talk show host Walt
Sorg was drawn out of the 68th House District and into the 67th during
last summer’s redistricting exercise.

Schor’s growing support and bank account
is effectively allowing him to clear the field of challengers with a
shot at beating him in a Democratic primary. The only ones who could
pull it off are a no. Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar isn’t interested. City
Clerk Chris Swope is looking at the county clerk’s job if Mike Bryanton

Griffin Rivers, the former Ingham County
Democratic Party chairman, apparently is making calls and former mayor
candidate Charlie Ford is tossing around his name. Commissioner Dale
Copedge was suggested as a possibility.

Somebody will run against Schor. It’s an
open seat. History shows this won’t be uncontested. But the
straight-laced and politically conscious Schor isn’t going to implode,
meaning any potentially successful candidate has their work cut out for

Legislative recalls attempts dead

Three local recall attempts at
legislative lawmakers — Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer of
East Lansing, Rep. Barb Byrum, D-Onondaga, and Rep. Mark Meadows,
D-East Lansing, died Monday after the Republican activists charging the
campaign opted to pull the plug.

Stu Sandler, the Michigan Republican
Party operative leading the statewide effort against Democratic
lawmakers, told MIRS the attempt was aborted after a discussion of
party leaders found that some key “strategic objectives” had already
been accomplished.

The “strategic objectives” appeared to
be riling up organized labor and Democratic interest groups to prevent
them from spending as much time and energy in southern Genesee County,
where former Rep. Paul Scott was facing what ended up being a
successful recall attempt against him.

The Michigan Education Association
bankrolled the Scott recall to send a message to its members that it
wasn’t going to take unwanted reforms, like a complete re-write of the
state’s teacher tenure law, lying down. Fueled by Scott’s recent
support of the pension tax, education cuts, the new emergency manager
law and other Republican initiatives, the MEA attempted to make the
Scott recall a localized referendum on the policies of new Gov. Rick

Genesee County voters on Nov. 8 opted to
bounce Scott by 233 votes, making him the first recalled legislator in
Michigan since 1983.

Over the fall, Sandler’s team of local
activists tried to divert attention away from the district by targeting
Democrats for opting not to support Snyder’s initiatives — like ending
the Michigan Business Tax or putting a four-year lifetime cap on
welfare benefits.

He succeeded in getting recall language
approved for six Democratic lawmakers and began actively collecting
signatures in at least one of the districts.

But the Ingham County Elections
Commission — made up of Judge George Economy, County Clerk Mike
Bryanton and County Treasurer Eric Schertzing — somehow always found
the recall language used against Byrum, Whitmer and Meadows unclear. 

Time and time again, Holt man Robert
Walter submitted language to the commission. Time and time again, the
three Democrats dumped the language, even when Walter submitted the
exact same language approved by election commissions in Wayne and
Oakland counties.

Bryanton couldn’t help himself in the
Byrum case on at least one vote, though, casting a dissenting “yes”
vote in support of the recall language against his potential political