Michigan Republicans submit nominees for election board

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Republican Party has resubmitted a list of three nominees to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to fill a vacancy on the state’s Board of Canvassers after the Democratic governor rejected an initial list due to one nominee, a current state representative, being deemed ineligible.

The list, sent Thursday in a letter to the governor, includes Steve Yoder, Michael Hewitt and Richard Houskamp, according to Michigan GOP spokesman Gustavo Portela.

Yoder and Hewitt both serve as congressional district chairs for the Michigan GOP while Houskamp is a third district committeeman for the party. Hewitt also hosts a conservative radio show.

State Rep. Julie Calley was included on an initial list sent to the governor Wednesday, but the governor’s office responded by saying Calley was “prohibited from receiving an appointment to the Board of State Canvassers during this legislative term.”

According to the Michigan Constitution, no elected member of the Legislature can receive “any civil appointment within this state, or to the senate of the United States, from the governor.”

Portela told The Associated Press that the party is working with the governor to ensure all candidates are eligible.

A seat opened on the four-member Board of State Canvassers, which is tasked with certifying statewide elections, on June 21 when Norm Shinkle resigned after serving in the position for over 13 years.

The Michigan GOP had 10 days after Shinkle’s resignation to submit the three Republican nominees.

Shinkle, a Republican, came to prominence in 2020 when he abstained from voting to certify the state’s results of the presidential election won by President Joe Biden. The three other board members voted to certify, including Republican Aaron Van Langevelde, who was not nominated to serve again the following year by the Michigan GOP.

Shinkle is running for the state House and told the Detroit Free Press that he resigned because of a time-consuming campaign and questions regarding whether he could run for office while serving on the board.

Whitmer will have until July 21 to select one of the three Republican nominees, who will then vote on the certification of the upcoming midterm elections.


Joey Cappelletti is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.