News Story

Washtenaw GOP Delegate Dispute About Ruth Johnson, Not Ron Weiser

One of the leaders of the tea party takeover of the Washtenaw County delegate convention says he regrets that he called GOP State Chair Ron Weiser arrogant.

Dennis Moore, chairman of Willow Run Tea Party Caucus, put out a press release after Weiser failed to get support as a delegate in the 15th district and was relegated to alternate.

But Moore said Wednesday that Weiser was not the focus of the tea party voting at the convention. Moore said he regrets his comments have caused an inaccurate portrait of a Weiser vs. the tea party movement.

"I mishandled that and allowed it to be construed that way," Moore said.

Instead, Moore said the tea party movement focused on getting as many of their delegates elected so they could support Ruth Johnson as a candidate for Secretary of State. Moore said he doesn't believe Weiser supported Johnson.

"It was not our motivation to vote anyone out on the floor," Moore said. "Ron Weiser was not on our radar to embarrass or vote against. We simply had our slate of people to get elected. This was mostly about supporting Ruth."

Moore said he is putting up a "confidence" vote on his leadership on Friday at the Willow Run Tea Party Caucus meeting because of the stir his press release created.

Tony DeMott, state coordinator for the Campaign for Liberty, said he was one of the organizers of the tea party delegate victories at the Washtenaw convention and said Weiser wasn't even discussed.

"Not once did we discuss Ron Weiser or whether he would be elected or not," DeMott said. "It didn't even enter our minds. It wasn't a consideration of ours."

DeMott said instead, the focus was on getting tea partiers elected to delegate spots that had been presupposed to go to long-time GOP supporters.

"We deserve to go," DeMott said. "Those folks (GOP operatives) have daily control over the party. We feel that we have the one chance for all these grassroots people who give tirelessly with little recognition, and this is their chance at the state convention."

"There was no intention to slight anyone," DeMott said. "We didn't go in with the intention to defeat people. It was to get our voices heard. There was no attack on Ron Weiser in that convention."

Mark Boonstra, the Washtenaw County GOP chair, said it was his decision to nominate Weiser and three others as delegates. He said Weiser didn't ask to be a delegate, but Boonstra did it out of respect for the chairman.

"For anyone to suggest that our state party chairman was humbled by failing in his bid to become a delegate to the state party convention simply doesn't know the facts," Boonstra said. "They just wanted their people elected because they are supporting Ruth Johnson."

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.