Ellis Boal for Congress MI-01
2012 US House Race
Summary of the campaign
I ran a much less vigorous campaign in 2012. This abbreviated summary was completed in November 2014.
That year the congressional campaign in Michigan's first district was, to my surprise, much different from that of 2010.
The same two Republican and Democrat candidates ran, Dan Benishek and Gary McDowell. Unlike in 2010, there was no separate tea party candidate. Natural Law and US Taxpayers had no one in the field. The only other candidate was Libertarian Emily Salvette.
I was permitted into only three live debates, compared to 11 in 2010. Two were with Benishek, none with McDowell. I had two one-hour segments on Petoskey radio host Greg Marshall's talk show. I made a three-day trip to the Upper Peninsula. I answered a few published questionnaires.
But the diminished campaign wasn't all because of outside forces. Part of it was I did less traveling and less website work.
The main reason was fracking, a new issue into which I had gotten up to my neck for almost two years. Fracking -- short for horizontal hydraulic fracturing -- is a new and growing phenomenon in lower Michigan, a dangerous method of drilling for natural gas.
For 2012, MI-01 had been re-drawn to include Kalkaska County, a focal point of fracking activity.
In the debates and radio shows I highlighted my activity on this issue. I spent election day at the polls collecting signatures for the petition for a ballot option to ban horizontal fracking in the state. (At the time, the initiative sought a constitutional change and was aiming at the 2014 election.)
But fracking wasn't the only reason for the diminished campaign. In July I married.
I finished last again:
It was a presidential year with a lot more voter participation. In MI-01 the presidential results were:
In sum, I got 4,168 votes (1.2% of 347,036 votes cast), slightly better than the percent I got two years ago with 2,072 votes (.9% of 232,037 votes cast).
The better showing might be explained by the addition of Traverse City to the re-drawn district, and two fewer candidates being on the ballot in 2012.
Libertarian Salvette got 10,630 votes (3.1% of total votes), or almost three times what I got. She beat me in every county, even Charlevoix and Emmet. I take her result simply to be a reflection of the Libertarian party affiliation. She did no campaigning and has no history of activity in the district. Her website mentions no Michigan-specific issues.
Comparing my performance to that of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, statewide in Michigan she got 21,897 votes or .5% of 4,730,961 votes cast. In the 31½ counties of Michigan's first congressional district (Mason, on Lake Michigan, is the ½ county), she got 2,149 to my 4,167 votes. So I did about twice as well as she. (The figures are not exactly comparable because of the ½ county).
Her competition was different. There was no Libertarian running for president in the state, but there were candidates for US Taxpayers and Natural Law parties. Neither campaigned in my district that I could see, and Stein handily outscored them. Adding the statewide Michigan presidential vote totals for Greens, Taxpayers, and Natural Law you get 43,163 votes, or .9%.
I don't know much about Taxpayers or Natural Law. They seem spiritual.
According to its Wiki article, the Taxpayers (also known as the Constitution Party) are conservative with substantial support from the Christian right, predicated on the nation's founding documents. They think of themselves as the "philosophical home of the TEA Party," and put a large focus on restricting immigration.
Again according to Wiki, the Natural Law Party proposes that political problems can be solved through alignment with the Unified Field of all the laws of nature through the use of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs. Leading members of the party are or were associated with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It was largely disbanded in 2008, but maintains a presence in some states. In 2008 Michigan NLP nominated Ralph Nader as its presidential candidate.
As to Libertarians, their attitude toward the environment is that governmental should not intervene, because free markets and property rights will stimulate the technology and behavioral changes required to protect the ecosystem. I couldn't disagree more. The same goes as to their view that employers should have the right to refuse to recognize any union, which would include even unions with majority support.
So for what it's worth, I got better percentages on the congressional level than the Green Party or any, or all, of the small parties did on the presidential level.
I solicited no campaign donations. I had no campaign expenses to speak of, save for driving and trip expenses. I didn't open a campaign account or file campaign financial reports.