MACKINAC ISLAND, MICH.—Four years after she came out for Rudy Giuliani for President, Rep. Candice Miller has broken with most of her fellow Republican elected officials in Michigan to back a presidential candidate other than state party-favored Mitt Romney.
“I’m for Rick Perry,” the five-term House member and former Michigan secretary of state told HUMAN EVENTS, shortly before she introduced the Texas governor at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference here Saturday. “I realize I’m out there where other [Republican leaders] are not, but I feel it’s critically important we have a candidate who is not afraid to address controversial issues. When Gov. Perry said Social Security was a ‘Ponzi scheme,’ people said, ‘You can’t say that.’
“Well, I say you can say that, and I liked the fact we had a candidate who is ready to have an honest dialogue with the American people about a very critical issue.”
As she did for Giuliani at the same conference here at the Grand Hotel in 2007, Macomb County lawmaker and staunch conservative Miller introduced Perry when he addressed the luncheon at noon. The Texan hailed her as “the Chevrolet of Republican women in Congress—like a rock!”
Miller knows what she’s talking about in characterizing herself as “out there” for Perry. So far she is the only major elected Republican to support Perry in a state where Mitt Romney was not only born and raised, but won the presidential primary here in ’08. Many party leaders have already weighed in for the son of the late Gov. George Romney, among them Republican National Committeeman Saul Anuzis, State Attorney General Bill Schuette, and Miller’s House colleague Thad McCotter (who withdrew from the presidential race yesterday and endorsed Romney).
In addition, State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville of Monroe and House Speaker Jase Bolger of Marshall are lining up state legislators for the former Massachusetts governor.
“So far we have about one-third of the legislators for Romney, and we are headed toward the halfway point,” Richardville told HUMAN EVENTS. “Michigan is Mitt Country.”
Although Miller is the only major GOPer in Michigan to join the Perry team, Congresswoman Miller told us, “We are going to announce several other elected officials.” In addition, Glenn Clark, former 9th District GOP chairman and state president of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, told HUMAN EVENTS he was behind Perry, “and a lot of grassroots social conservatives will be supporting him actively.”
“Gov. Perry has been a successful conservative governor, especially from the perspective of economic growth. And his pro-life and pro-family stands are unassailable. When social conservatives learn that Mitt Romney permitted tax-funded abortions in his ‘RomneyCare’ health plan in Massachusetts, they are outraged. Nominating him will cost Republicans an important issue related to the role of government—the use of tax dollars for abortions from taxpayers who don’t want their money used that way.”
If Clark turns out to be correct in this assessment, and pro-family activists rally to Perry, he may emerge as a force in the Michigan primary. For now, however, it is safe to say that Candice Miller is the Texan’s Lone Ranger here, and Michigan is indeed Romney territory.