THE POLITICAL BLONDE Carey Torrice in Crain’s Detroit BusinessCarey Torrice
BILL SHEA’S BLOG: Some juicy tidbits on candidates for a Snyder administration
Team Crain — after about 20 minutes of frustrated, teeth-gnashing confusion over the wi-fi system that a half-bright toddler could probably master in moments — has established its Election Night outpost in a corner of the second floor of the Westin Book Cadillac, which is the headquarters and vortex of the Michigan GOP this evening.
I’ll be blogging on an eclectic mixture of stuff tonight, so keep checking back.
It’s buzzing and busy here. The atmosphere is one of eager anticipation. It’s no secret what’s going down at the polls, and Rick Snyder’s people are ready to party.
Earlier today, I spoke with a well-connected political insider that I trust who offered some interesting thoughts on Snyder, his likely transition team and cabinet members, and the state of the state’s Republican Party. The insider agreed to talk without me using their name.
“The old guard doesn’t know Snyder and is terrified he’s a liberal,” the source said. This isn’t a new phenomenon. John McCain was painted with that brush in 2008, as a sort of moderate who was too liberal for the party base — a base that’s moved to the right over the past couple of decades. Snyder is clearly a Milliken Republican, the sort of pragmatic centrist that’s not exactly near and dear to the Tea Party wing of the GOP — those who secretly fear “Rick Michigan” is a RINO Trojan horse filled with tax hikes and free abortions.
That’s left the old guard, along with the political establishment, uncertain about what will happen after Jan. 1.
“I was at dinner tonight with 6 lobbyists and half of them have no idea who to turn to in the Snyder camp,” the source said. “The Engler refugees are moving in fast, though. I think you’ll see a bunch of them on the transition team.”
The insider predicted this mixture for Snyder’s team: 85 percent former Engler staff, 5 percent former Milliken staff and 10 percent new.
Some obvious and some less obvious names we’ve been told that will be part of Snyder’s transition team and/or administration:
~ Rick DiBartolomeo: Snyder’s deputy campaign manager and former principal in charge of audits at the Troy office of The Rehmann Group LLC He spent 26 years in the Detroit offices of Deloitte & Touche LLP before jumping to Rehmann in November 2007. He’s been treasurer of the Detroit Athletic Club since 2008 and serves on the board of directors for the nonprofit Walsh College Foundation.
~ David Wolkinson: Snyder’s policy director and a lawyer who came up short in House and Senate bids of his own in the past.
~ Rumors floating today have Doug Rothwell and Mark Murray co-chairing the transition team and Ken Sikkema as a possible chief of staff.
~ One name that’s surprisingly linked to a Snyder administration job is Bill Rustem, the insider told me. Rustem is president and CEO at nonpartisan Lansing think tank Public Sector Consultants Inc. I’ve mainly seen Rustem’s name in stories in which he’s commenting on the election, rather than as a possible appointee. But I’m told Rustem is very close to Snyder — possibly the Bobby to Snyder’s JFK. That close. Which means he is a serious chief of staff candidate, but he also could choose to operate in a senior advisory role. I’m told he’s vetting the members of the transition team.
Some random thoughts:
~ Snyder will be the first Michigan governor with significant private sector business experience, and the first former CEO of a major corporation, to win (if polls are to be believed) the job since American Motors boss George Romney ousted Democrat John Swainson in November 1962. Romney was re-elected in 1964 and 1966 (when there were no term limits and the position was for two years), before leaving in 1969 to serve as President Nixon’s HUD secretary.
~ Clinton Township Democrat Carey Torrice — best known for capitalizing on her blond looks and revealing outfits — last night launched a write-in bid on Facebook and Twitter to retain her 13th District seat on the Macomb County Board of Commissioners. Torrice lost with less than 35 percent of the vote against neighboring Democrat and Commissioner Jeffrey Sprys in the August primary.
“If you would like me to stay as your Commissioner, there is still something YOU can do! WRITE MY NAME IN “CAREY TORRICE” as a candidate on your absentee balllot and on November 2nd for Commissioner District 13,” she wrote on Facebook Monday night.
A new county charter approved by voters last fall created the county executive position and also reduced the headcount on the board of commissioners from 26 to 13 seats.