ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” story. It is an editorial by the editor.
80th District State Rep. Cindy Gamrat, who represents Hopkins, Watson and Martin townships, reminds me a lot of quickly rising and quickly fading Dorr and Hopkins community activist Christine Schwartz.
Gamrat, of Plainwell, was able to be elected state representative in a four-way Republican Party primary because of her solid support from the Allegan County Tea Party. She picked up 41% of the vote and Mary Whiteford of South Haven had 29%, and once you win a GOP primary in these parts, you’re good to go for six years. Republican incumbents are not just difficult, but virtually impossible to beat.
But if there was a time to dream the impossible dream, it is now for Whiteford.
Gamrat has opened the door. Reminiscing:
Schwartz was elected to the Hopkins school board almost 20 years ago and was asked not to run four years later. Schwartz was chosen chair of the Dorr Parks Commission, was appointed deputy clerk and was one of six candidates for the township supervisor’s post.
Schwartz twice came on the scene like a comet, but then almost as quickly flamed out, mostly because of her far-right reality-challenged politics and inability to work with people.
Gamrat already has run afoul of party regulars by making public her frustrations with the behind closed doors committee meetings. I have mixed feelings because I sympathize with her freedom of speech and freedom from having to be a team player.
She then failed to win the race for GOP committeewoman in a three-way battle in which she placed third.
It was an ugly inside battle, as described by Brandon Hall of West Michigan Politics, during which Gamrat’s staunch ally, State Rep. Todd Courser, said of Whiteford:
“A fact that seems to be missing from discussions about her is in her past she had been active in the abortion industry and has admitted to administering RU486 to induce abortions. She also has openly proclaimed that she supports the expansion of Elliott Larsen to include protected class status for homosexuals.”
Whiteford since has noted that Michigan Right to Life endorsed her primary candidacy last year.
Courser also was reported to have said, “As a recent member of the Michigan Republican Party State Committee I’d urge the current committee members to NOT select Mary Whiteford. If we can’t trust her on this (anti-abortion) part of the platform, how could we trust her on the rest of it?”
West Michigan Politics reported an MIRS poll “had shown Gamrat slightly winning at one point before being purged from the caucus by Speaker (Kevin) Cotter, many believe Whiteford will challenge Gamrat in the 2016 primary, POSSIBLY fueling a need in Courser’s eyes for such attacks against Whiteford. Regardless, tensions still run immensely high from the 2014 election in which Gamrat beat Whiteford.”
Gamrat, like Schwartz, isn’t stupid, but appears to be on a different planet while engaging in political discourse. She graduated with honors from University of Michigan and is a licensed registered nurse.
Like Schwartz, she chose to home school her children and has taught biology, economics, and American government to high school home school co-op classes.
Gamrat and Courser were blood brother and sister politically with disgraced former State Rep. Dave Agema, with whom they put together a Tea Party Pow Wow last winter that smacked heavily of racism and homophobia.
Gamrat took office in January, and she’s already managed since to alienate an important segment of power brokers within her party and now she just might be vulnerable to be replaced, especially if Whiteford is her only opponent in August 2016. Gamrat may not be able to prevail in a two-person contest, even if she is the incumbent, because her party may abandon her.
PHOTOS: Christine Schwartz
State Rep. Cindy Gamrat
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