(L-R) Rick Snyder and Mark Schauer

(L-R) Rick Snyder and Mark Schauer

Story by Craig Maugers, MIRS

Isabelle TERRY, of Rockford, is a member of the Republican state committee. And she’s been a dedicated volunteer for GOP causes. But after a bitter race for lieutenant governor between conservatives and the so-called “establishment,” Terry says she won’t vote for Gov. Rick SNYDER on Nov. 4.

And she’s not the only conservative who feels that way.

MIRS interviewed nine conservative activists from across Michigan today, and most of them said they either hadn’t decided whether they would vote for Snyder or they said they definitely would not vote for Snyder.

Some are even leaving the door open to voting for Democratic candidate Mark SCHAUER, a former member of the U.S. House. It’s not because they like Schauer but because they believe pairing Schauer with a Republican-controlled Legislature would lead to gridlock and would halt any progressive policies from advancing.

“I have not decided whether I will cast a vote for a Democrat,” as Terry said today of possibly voting for Schauer. “That would be my first time in my entire life. And I’ve been voting since I was 18.”

But she added, “I don’t think Schauer will be any worse than Snyder.”

Conservatives still voiced frustration with their top-of-the-ticket candidate today — two days after their preferred candidate for lieutenant governor, Wes NAKAGIRI, came up short in his bid to unseat Snyder’s preferred running mate and the current lieutenant governor, Brian CALLEY.

Snyder supporters saw Calley’s win as a major victory for the Governor’s re-election bid. But the campaign to protect Calley has spurned some conservatives, who were already angry with Snyder over his support of Medicaid expansion, Common Core education standards and fee increases to boost transportation funding.

The conservatives wanted to add Nakagiri to the ticket as a way to add a conservative voice. But now that their attempt failed, they have to decide whether to support Snyder and Calley or withhold their support in protest.

“That seems to be the question of the day,” said Deb O’HAGAN, of West Bloomfield, who co-founded the Lakes Area Tea Party.

The conservative base of the party will continue to promote the Republican platform, O’Hagan said, but whether the base supports Snyder in November will depend on the actions the Governor takes between now and then.

In the mean time, the base will get behind more like-minded candidates, O’Hagan, like U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn LAND, Secretary of State Ruth JOHNSON and Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE.

O’Hagan said she’s heard the talk of conservatives voting for Schauer or sitting out the gubernatorial race in protest.

“Do I agree with it?” O’Hagan asked. “I think that’s a big risk.”

Among conservative activists today, there was talk of a group of pro-Schauer Republicans forming and of trying to get Snyder to sign some type of contract with the grassroots wing of the party.

Norm HUGHES, a conservative activist from Oakland County, said many conservatives are still very upset after what he called a “brutal” primary that saw “establishment” candidates facing off against Tea Party-backed candidates in numerous races across the state.

Hughes said he hasn’t made up his mind yet on how he’ll vote. While he doesn’t personally dislike Snyder or Calley, Hughes said his decision is about policy.

Will Snyder move further toward a state-base health care exchange? He asked. Will the Legislature and Snyder put in place civil rights protections for the LGBT community? He added.

The question will be how Snyder’s campaign progresses, Hughes said. If Snyder moves to the left for the general election, he may lose votes on the right, Hughes said.

One of the votes he’s already lost is that of conservative David DUDENHOEFER, of Detroit.

Conservatives are “disgusted,” Dudenhoefer said, by Snyder’s support of Common Core, Medicaid expansion and tax increases. The level of frustration is enough to be a problem, Dudenhoefer said.

“If you cannot rally your base behind you, how do you expect to win in the general election,” he said.

On the other side of the state, Mark PETZOLD, of Grand Rapids, president of the River City Tea Party, said he thinks some conservatives will support Snyder while others will sit the race out.

As someone who wants to preserve the right to life, liberty and property, Petzold said he can’t “in good conscience” vote for Snyder. But he won’t vote for Schauer either, he said.

Bill GAVETTE, of the Lapeer County Tea Party Patriots, said he’s hasn’t made up his mind.

“I’m waiting to see what the tone of the Legislature is, but especially what is the tone of the Governor,” Gavette said.

Snyder has to give conservatives a reason to support him, Gavette added.

Jason GILLMAN, a conservative blogger on the website RightMI.com, said he thinks it would have been wise for Snyder’s campaign to let Tea Party-types have some input.

“This was essentially the peace offering to the Snyder camp,” Gillman, of Grand Traverse County, said of Nakagiri. “The bottom line is we recognize the limited effect that the lieutenant governor has.”

The conservative base is more solidly behind Land and Johnson, Gillman said.

But while conservatives consider the idea of voting for Schauer, Gillman ruled out the idea for himself, noting Schauer’s past campaign finance violations.

In Ingham County, Joan FABIANO, of Grassroots Michigan, said she made up her mind before this weekend’s convention. She didn’t vote for Snyder in 2010 and won’t in 2014 either.

“They’ll support donate and work for limited-government candidates,” Fabiano said of conservatives. “Since Gov. Snyder has shown that he’s not in that camp, I think a lot of people will not vote for him.”

Fabiano successfully ran for precinct delegate this summer. But she was denied a chance to be a delegate at the state convention. She challenged the fact that some non-elected precinct delegates got the state convention slots, but her challenge was rejected.

Some of the tactics used before the convention have alienated the grassroots, Fabiano said. And Fabiano said she’s been open about the fact that she’s not voting for Snyder.

“I don’t even think I have to encourage people,” she said. “I think a lot of people are already there.”

But Gene CLEM, of the Southwest Michigan Tea Party, saw the situation differently when asked today.

While some of the louder conservatives won’t vote for Snyder, the majority will.

Clem compared it to playing high school football. During the week the players are in competition with one another, like they were at the convention, but on Friday night, the team joins together as a united force.

If Republicans help elect Schauer, Clem said, they risk some progressive Republicans in the Legislature joining with Democrats to advance Schauer’s policies.

Terry doesn’t see it that way.

If former Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM would have been in office the last few years, Terry argued, Republicans would have stuck to the party’s platform and fought Medicaid expansion and Common Core.

Terry said she views a vote for Schauer as a vote for gridlock.

As she said, “I think gridlock is the way to go.”

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