Bing Goei’s announcement the other day that he would have a write in campaign for the 76th state house seat, the one fouled by Roy Schmidt, is certainly a move that challenges wisdom.
Perhaps his business is doing really, really well and he has money to cast around. Perhaps it really is a matter of pique.Or perhaps he has something else in mind.
Formally, it is hard to see how the race makes any electoral sense. With a strong Dem already on the field, there is little room to go and pick up the disaffected centrists. To do so, Goei would have to campaign against Brinks, and to date, there is little of that on the field. On the right of Schmidt (and Goei) is Keith Allard, who has been running a verbally aggressive campaign, staking out claims for right to life, fiscal conservatism, and actively drawing contrasts with both Schmidt and Brinks.
But if Goei cannot pick up the center and the right wing is covered, what’s left? Even assuming a total Schmidt collapse, there are not enough votes out there to make it work, all the more with the state and region sliding to the D side at the national level.
The motivation, apparently is the same as that of Schmidt (originally): the mayor’s office. And here, Goei’s campaign is anything but quixotic. The independent write-in campaign symbolically detaches him from the GOP (even if we all know where he stands), and gives him the the independent creds necessary for a non-partisan race. Plus – provided that I’ve read the law right — money raised for the statehouse run can be transferred to another political campaign.
So for now, Goei rebuilds networks, gains visibility, raises money — all tools that can really help in a run for the Mayor’s office. His may not be on Lansing at all, but on Ottawa Avenue.