Get your checkbooks ready: Gary Glenn eyes Michigan House seat

Gary Glenn, one of the most polarizing figures in Idaho politics in the 1980s and 1990s, is considering a run for the 110-member full-time Michigan House. The job pays $71,685, but members are limited to three two-year terms.

Glenn led the campaign to enact right-to-work in Idaho in 1985 and went on to be an Ada County commissioner. He lost the 1992 GOP 2nd District congressional primary to now-U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo.

Glenn moved to Michigan in 1998 and quickly became a prominent right-wing leader. As president of the American Family Association of Michigan, Glenn helped convince voters to pass a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2004. In December, he was a key player when a lame-duck session of the Michigan Legislature enacted a right-to-work law in a cradle of unionhood.

On the down side, Glenn withdrew from the GOP primary for U.S. Senate a year ago, when he was polling just 6 percent.

Now, Glenn is considered a leading candidate for an open seat in the Michigan House next year, writes Dennis Lennox in The Morning Sun, published in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

Lennox writes that some Democrats are “giddy” about the prospect of the GOP nominating Glenn because it could force Republicans to defend a traditionally safe seat against a “barrage of attacks from big-money liberal groups.”

“To be sure, Glenn’s unabashed advocacy of social conservatism will come back to haunt him, as the Michigan Democratic Party opposition researchers undoubtedly have a large file of quotes that can be used to further the narrative that the Republican Party is against everyone and everything.

“There’s even a good chance some in the GOP will go after Glenn, who they see as a poor fit for a party looking to end the tone and messaging problems that have plagued its major candidates in the last two elections (think Todd Akin in Missouri, Indiana’s Richard Mourdock and Delawarean Christine “I’m not a witch” O’Donnell).

“At the same time, Glenn’s long record of political involvement makes him a formidable candidate.”

Lennox touts Glenn’s campaign skills and political savvy. He says Glenn’s best chance of winning the nomination is a crowded primary where he could “utilize his national network to raise money and mobilize volunteers.”

In his truncated U.S. Senate race, Glenn raised $186,000, with $140,000 coming from individuals. His wife, Annette, who was raised in Idaho, was his campaign treasurer.

Contributions came from 16 states, with Idahoans chipping in $5,800.




Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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