Rep. Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids)
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Republicans are expected to retain control of the state House of Representatives, despite the likely loss of a seat in the 76th District. That's the seat now held by Republican Roy Schmidt of Grand Rapids
Schmidt was a Democrat until moments before the candidate's filing deadline last spring when he suddenly switched to a Republican. Simultaneously, a sham candidate named Matt Mojzak filed to be the Democrat in the race. It was a move aimed at denying the Democrats a competitive candidate and it backfired badly.
The county prosecutor investigated and found no criminal violations. Democrats pressed the case and convinced the Ingham County Circuit Court to appoint a secret one-person grand jury to keep the criminal investigation alive. The grand jury will also investigate the role that House Speaker Jase Bolger played in the party switch, a move that Schmidt has apologized for and called "a huge political mistake."
Into this political void have come several candidates from multiple parties.
Newcomer Winne Brinks is the Democratic candidate. Bing Goei is a Republican mounting a write-in effort to challenge Schmidt, and there are three other, independent candidates: Libertarian Patricia Steinport, William Mohr of the U.S. Taxpayers Party, and Keith Allard, a true independent.
Political analyst Susan Demas of the Michigan Information and Research Service, says "the parties are not spending money there anymore - they've given up on the Republican side."