Michigan’s gubernatorial race is a year away, and a growing number of Republicans are joining the field to run against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. GOP candidate Ryan D. Kelley visited the Fair Offices & Community Building in Mason on Oct. 28. According to Kelley’s Facebook page, the biggest threat Michigan faces right now is vaccine mandates and passports.
Mason’s Leon Clark, who previously ran for the Michigan House of Representatives for District 67, attended. He said he understands the campaign process and thinks Kelley could bring forward change.
“It was simply a call to arms and reminding us of all of the power we have as electors. Mr. Kelly seems all about representing people, not parties or PACs, or who can get the most endorsements,” Clark said. “I can identify with that approach, as that’s how I approached people when I ran for office. Hopefully, people today are better prepared to accept that approach, and allow us, as electors, to take back our government.”
Another person in attendance was Robert Atkinson, who ran as a Republican for the Michigan House of Representatives for District 68 in 2020, but lost in the general election to incumbent Sarah Anthony. Atkinson said Michigan needs changes.
“We have high taxation, in my opinion we have a governor that’s out of control,” said Atkinson. “We need some stability brought in there. Someone that is basically for the people instead of against them. I’d like to see a better relationship between business and the government.”
According to Christian Fend, Kelley is willing to meet with constituents, which makes him a viable candidate. Fend, who is interning for Ryan Berman, a member of the Michigan House of Representatives since 2019, met Kelley at an election audit protest held outside the Capitol.
“I think Kelley’s openness to meet Michiganders gives him an upper hand over other candidates in this regard,” Fend says. “As an intern I have learned a lot about how the campaign process in Michigan works, and the politics involved in trying to win an election. Next year, I hope to see Kelley be elected governor.”
At the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, Kelley was seen going past the barricades. There is footage of Kelley on the stairs at the Capitol, beckoning the crowd to move forward. So far, his participation in the insurrection has yet to hamper his ability to run for g
Kelley, a real estate agent in Allendale, has been campaigning in several areas of Michigan over the past couple weeks. His main message can be found on his website: “Michigan needs a governor that will uphold the US & State Constitutions. People’s lives mean more than political games between politicians.”