My county board was wiped out by anti-science nutjobs in one election

I live in one of the most conservative counties in Michigan (Ottawa County, which includes Grand Haven and Holland). Steady, old-school Dutch Reformed Republicans have dominated politics here for generations. It’s also one of the fastest-growing counties in Michigan right now.

Our county commissioners have traditionally been rock-steady fiscal conservatives who have kept things running very smoothly. They’ve also strongly supported the county health department, including mental health programs. During the pandemic, they (and the county health department) did all the right things regarding mask mandates and promotion of vaccines.

Well, there is an ultra-conservative Christian school in the county that defied mask mandates during the height of the pandemic, and has been heavily fined. One of the school’s dads started a political group called Ottawa Impact, who basically stomp their feet and demand “FREEDOM!” from any government regulation. They were simply HORRIFIED that their poor delicate children were FORCED to wear those vile masks during a global pandemic that killed millions.

So as this group launched a PAC and recruited candidates, each of the candidates was required to pledge allegiance to the group’s nutball mission.

Here’s their mission:
The mission of Ottawa Impact is to preserve and protect the individual rights of the people in Ottawa County.

These rights include freedom of speech, freedom of association, religious liberty, due process, and sanctity of conscience. These are essential qualities of liberty and freedom. Ottawa Impact educates people about threats to these rights and provides a means to defend and preserve them.

We are committed to defending the constitutionally protected rights of parents to make health and education decisions for their own children. We desire to preserve and pass on the blessings and heritage of Ottawa County to future generations.

We recognize our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage and celebrate America as an exceptional nation blessed by God. We oppose indoctrination of our county’s youth and the politicization of public schools.

We believe civic engagement, ground up, is critical to preserve a healthy, moral society. We seek to educate, encourage, and support local leaders who fight to preserve Ottawa’s values and work to eliminate policies which oppose them.

The group was largely self-funded, and have absolutely flooded the county with slick-looking signs. This caught the incumbents completely off-guard. The incumbents have never had to do much fundraising, or even campaigning, to keep their seats. Just run as a Republican and they would win.

In response to the nutters primarying the incumbents, another group was set up called “Ottawa Integrity.” This group included both Republicans (the incumbents) and some Democrats. This group held a forum at one point for its endorsed candidates to talk. In response to this, the county GOP censured each of the incumbents for participating in a “Soros sponsored” event.

Well, the campaign to kick out the incumbents worked. I know signs don’t vote, but for the past four+ months, everywhere you turned in Ottawa County, there were signs for these nutters. Every. Where. They were well-done signs. All had the same style and color. Low-information voters, who would’ve just voted for the only name (with an R next to it) on the ballot in the past, now voted for the only name they probably recognized (thanks to the thick blanket of signs around the county).

Ottawa Impact had candidates in 9 of 11 county districts, and beat out the incumbent in 8 of those 9. Some districts don’t even have Democrats running, so yesterday was basically a coronation for those nutters. The ones that actually do have Dems on the ballot for November, really don’t have a chance (except probably one).

In one fell swoop, my county’s government just got taken over by anti-science, pro-“liberty” nutballs who somehow think our nation’s “Judeo-Christian heritage” is critical for effective county governance, and that our poor widdle youths are being “indoctrinated” by the grooming forces of Gay Satan.

My daughter lives in Lake County, Michigan. I don’t know much about the politics of the place, but it seems that PATRIOT is an important value up there. I can guess what the politics are like. Since moving there, my daughter has become a vax denier like her husband.

I am so proud of my son-in-law for moving my daughter and grandchildren across the country to the poorest county in Michigan with one of the poorest school systems in the state. But, he gets to go ice fishing…

This may not be where the OP intended to go with the thread, but I see no reason why progressive D’s can’t ambush establishment D’s the same. The lesson is clear: if incumbents are lazy, they are vulnerable to swamp-sign-flooding-barraging. So, assuming the OP is progressive, he has reason to hope as much as fear.

You’re assuming that he likes extremists, so long as they’re on his side. I see no reason to draw that conclusion from the OP. Nor do I see any reason to assume that the incumbents were lazy: The OP describes them as doing all of the things they were supposed to do.

Goddammit, isn’t there an obligation to warn people to shield their irony meters? Now I’ll have to order a new one. :angry:

Ugh, such odd times. Ottawa county always had a superior county park system. Hope they don’t regress

Peter Meijer R who used to be my Rep before redistricting moved my household to the rural hinterlands, lost to an amateur Trump boot licker Gibbs who moved to the district to challenge him.

I thought about crossing party lines to vote but in good conscience I couldn’t bear to vote for any of ‘em. I just hope the Dems perform well in the GE.

Yeah, while i likely didn’t agree with the incumbents on a single thing at state or federal level politics, they ran the county exceptionally well. This is a huge hit to our county.

There was nothing to vote on on the Democratic ballot yesterday, so this progressive Democrat happily crossed over and voted for my Republican incumbent.

I’ll give credit where credit is due: these nuts saw how county politics works and used it to their advantage. County politics is largely name recognition, and incumbents are largely unknown individuals aside from election time. So these guys got their names out there better than I’ve ever seen any candidates do before. They put $70,000 into races that heretofore probably only saw a few thousand dollars per cycle.

So in the voting booth, it just becomes “Oh i know that name.” :heavy_check_mark:

So you, as a progressive Democrat, are unhappy with who the Republican voters chose in their primary?

I think any progressive minded individual living in a dark red county would be deeply concerned whenever fringe types beat out all the mainstream R office holders. It means those kooks will almost certainly be winning the general election on the strength of nothing more than having an R next to their names on the ballot.

I was in Ottawa County a few weeks ago visiting family, and I can attest to the accuracy of “nutjobs” and the blanket of yard signs. You couldn’t escape the “freedom, family, guns” slogans and “Trump-endorsed” phrase.

My (D) parents also voted in the Republican primary in an attempt to keep the saner choice (when one existed). They were collecting candidate flyers on their fridge to track who was the most extreme; we called it the wall of shame.

What an odd comment. Everyone in the county will be subject to the governance of whoever is elected.

Cross-over voting has been a thing forever. I first learned about in the early 80s.

What exactly does this mean?

Yes. There were no democrats running in my county district, so i voted for the Republican who’s been there for years and has done a fine job. And yes, I’m very unhappy with who won yesterday. The winner has plans to either weaken the county health department or eliminate it altogether. Why is this even a question?

Are you suggesting that i not vote in my county election just because none of the candidates on the ballot match my party affiliation?

I believe it translates to, “You can’t tell me what to do!”

It’s a fancy way of saying they haven’t outgrown thier petulant toddler stage.

In another show of Election Day nutbaggery, Jamestown Township (also in my aforementioned Ottawa County), voted “no” on a library millage because the library had some LGBTQ graphic novels on their shelves. So instead of requesting this heinous propaganda of Gay Satan simply be removed from the shelves, they defunded their entire library system.

Voters in Jamestown Township, a politically conservative community in Ottawa County, rejected renewal Tuesday of a millage that would support the Patmos Library. That vote guts the library’s operating budget in 2023 — 84 percent of the library’s $245,000 budget comes from property taxes collected through a millage.

Without a millage, the library is likely to run out of money sometime late next year, said Larry Walton, library board president.

For the average home with a market value of $250,000, the new millage, if approved, would have increased taxes about $24.

I was driving through this community on Monday for work, and the amount of “Vote No on the Library Millage” signs was astonishing. Every house around the actual library had these signs in their yards. I can’t even imagine what the librarians were thinking on their way into work every day. A dude about a 1/4 mile from the library had a giant hand-painted sign in his yard that read “50% millage increase? To groom our kids? Vote no on library millage!” (A less-trashy-looking version of this sign can be seen in the link above).

This is a rural, farming community with about 5,000 people. It’s at least 20 minutes from any malls, stores, etc. I would imagine losing this library will ultimately feel like, well, a nose being cut off to spite one’s face.

“Grooming” and “indoctrination” have become the latest words for nutballs to turn out easily-frightened and simple-minded voters apparently. Lord have mercy, there’s a gay book on the library shelf! Burn it down!

Well, it’s not like that particular demographic was using the library anyway, so it’s easy to see why they’d fall prey to the bumper-sticker politics of the day, and vote away a source of information about the rest of the world. And the Health Dept? Who needs that anyway?

Not at all. I just wonder if such “cross-over voting” is very effective. Is there evidence that it has changed the final results in an election?

Sorry to hear your area has been taken over by a Death Cult who rejects modern medicine. I hope you can help reverse the slide into a time when the life expectancy was 36 years old…