2011 and Earlier / Special Interests

McManus fails to win nomination, vows support for GOP candidates

Term-limited state Sen. Michelle McManus (R-Lake Leelanau) said this week she hasn’t decided what she will do after her term in office expires at the end of the year.

McManus had hoped to win her party’s nomination for secretary of state – but didn’t make it through the first round of voting at the state Republican Party convention Saturday. Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson narrowly won the nomination.

“I do know that one of the things I’ll be doing this fall is encouraging everyone to vote for Ruth Johnson for secretary of state,” McManus said. “Certainly, I will be active in supporting my party’s ticket this fall and, beyond that, I’ll always be involved in politics in one way or another. I just don’t know exactly how quite yet.”

McManus attributed her failure to win her party’s nomination for the post to a variety of factors, including the fact that Johnson is from the state’s wealthiest and most populated county.

McManus also acknowledged that a press report that emerged the day before the Republican Party convention about an incident that occurred 12 years ago also hurt her.

The story, published in a regional daily newspaper on Aug. 27, contained allegations that during her failed 1998 bid for Congress McManus directed a then-18-year-old campaign aide now residing in California to falsify petition documents.

The state Board of Canvassers ultimately cleared McManus to appear on the Primary election ballot in 1998, however.

This week, McManus also produced a letter signed by the former campaign worker indicating that the worker was leaving the campaign for “personal reasons,” and indicating continued support for McManus.

“Unfortunately, Friday’s article about an issue that was addressed and put to rest 12 years ago was emailed to about 4,000 people including all of the delegates who voted at state convention on Saturday,” McManus said.

“Did it hurt me? Of course it did,” McManus said. “The good news is that people who understand what actually happened are only using that newspaper now to wrap dead fish.”

Although a number of influential Leelanau County Republicans had expressed their support for Calhoun County Clerk Anne Nordlander for secretary of state, McManus managed to prevail in the Leelanau County Republican Party convention held Aug. 12. Sixty-eight Republican precinct delegates and six at-large delegates voted, and seven were ultimately selected as Leelanau’s delegates to the state convention, where they supported McManus’s candidacy for secretary of state.

“I really appreciate the support I received,” McManus said. “They were all just troopers going down there and voting for me.”

McManus said she will spend some time with her family in Leelanau County over the next few weeks before returning to Lansing for her final session in the Senate.

“I expect to spend some time helping Darwin Booher (R-Evart) get elected to replace me,” McManus said.
“I suppose I might find work in the private sector, but I expect I’ll remain involved in politics somehow,” she said. “At 43, I still have a long career ahead of me.”

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