NEWS

Trump’s dilemma: How much longer to contest Michigan?

Politico

September 8, 2020

"What scares Republicans is the change in Livingston,” said John Sellek, a local GOP strategist. “It’s a high-growth area, and that growth is coming from suburbanites who aren’t sure they identify as Republicans anymore.”

Recall Drives Could Help Governor Whitmer

WBCK, Battle Creek

September 4, 2020

“Any digital fundraising team worth their salt will 100 percent attempt to take advantage of a recall effort," Sellek said."

Stateside: Teachers, parents plan for uncertainty; Monroe rethinks Custer monument; DNC, RNC recap

Stateside, WUOM

August 28, 2020

"Today on Stateside, after two weeks of political conventions, we’ll get an analysis about how both parties presented their nominee and what takeaways there were for Michigan voters."

Mike Pence’s Michigan rally is first for presidential campaigns here since COVID-19 struck

Grand Rapids Press

August 28, 2020

“If you’re trying to keep the lights on in Michigan while the TV is off, then having the president or vice president dropping into Northern Michigan is a smart thing to do,” Sellek."

Democrats Formally Nominate Biden. Now Trump Takes the Stage

Detroit Today, WDET

August 24, 2020

He says this year’s televised and highly controlled convention may be a new way forward. “Conventions may be changed forever, and maybe not in a good way,” says Sellek.

Michigan Gov. Whitmer says Joe Biden will follow 'science,' not 'ego'

Detroit News

August 17, 2020

“Michigan is often won through its economy and blue collar workers, said Sellek. That's why Whitmer's speech felt like it was about COVID but was "primarily an appeal for blue collar workers who left the Democrats in 2016 to return," he said."

John Sellek tells what he will be watching for during the Democratic National Convention.

Morning Wake Up, WILS

August 17, 2020

The ability of convention organizers to be creative and create something more than a string of Zoom recordings will be key to people staying tuned in. 

Battleground Michigan: Races tighten, too close to call

Highland County Press

August 15, 2020

“The fight for control of the Michigan House of Representatives is a major focus for Governor Whitmer,” Sellek said. “I suspect we will see an increase in activity from her now that the veepstakes are over and she seeks to have more leverage over the last two-years of her term heading into reelection in 2022."

Why Kamala Harris May Be a Tough Target for Republicans

The Wall Street Journal

August 12, 2020

“The law and order label that was somewhat toxic for [Ms. Harris] in the primary will actually make it harder to label her as threatening to the suburbs,” said John Sellek, a GOP strategist in Michigan who was an adviser to the last two Republican attorneys general in the state.” 

Gretchen Whitmer for VP? Here are pros, cons of putting her on Biden ticket

Detroit Free Press

August 10, 2020

“John Sellek, who runs Harbor Strategic Public Affairs in Brighton and who consults with Republican candidates, said Biden’s view may be even simpler: “I think No. 1 is that she’s tangled with Trump and she’s come out ahead.”

GOP challengers face huge cash disadvantage in Slotkin, Stevens races

Detroit News

August 8, 2020

“In 2018, did we witness the permanent shift of the suburbs to the Democratic Party in this larger realignment we’re seeing?" Sellek said. "Or are the suburbs going to remain a battleground that goes back and forth every cycle?” 

GOP’s advantage wanes in last year of Michigan ‘historical’ gerrymander

Bridge Magazine

August 5, 2020

“We already saw the first layer of Republican seats peeled off in the suburbs, and now it’s starting to reach further out,” said GOP consultant John Sellek of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs. “We’re getting to the outer edges of Oakland County now, which used to be completely safe. Those are now the battlegrounds.”

Absentee ballots favor Democrats in Michigan, causing worry among GOP

Bridge Magazine

August 5, 2020

“Given the new reality, partially created by the COVID-19 pandemic but also Michigan’s expanded voting rights, Republican candidates will have to adjust to the rise in absentee voting or they’ll be at a disadvantage, said John Sellek, CEO of Harbor Strategic.”

Michigan Republicans Split Over Mail-In Voting Amid State's Primary

WXXI, Rochester, NY

August 3, 2020

“Right now, we're going through a period where there isn't a whole lot of trust in a whole lot of institutions in American government. And that basic one that we've got to be able to hold on to is the integrity of the vote.”

Primary voters head to Michigan polls amid crowded fields, pandemic changes

Detroit News

August 3, 2020

“Sellek, a Republican and CEO of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs, identified the Democratic primary for Oakland County executive as among the most interesting.”

Trump campaign goes quiet on Michigan airwaves

Baltimore Sun

July 29, 2020

“There will be on-and-off skirmishes in the blue wall states, but for now, it looks like some of the fights we’ll see are in the Republican base states.”

Michigan Republicans Split Over Mail-In Voting Amid State's Primary

 

All Things Considered, NPR

August 3, 2020

“the part we have to hold on to is the integrity of the vote.”

Would sending federal troops into Detroit end up helping or hurting President Donald TRUMP in November?

MIRS News

July 27, 2020

“At this point the protests in Detroit have primarily been peaceful. When there have been flare ups, Chief Craig has done a good job getting in front of them. And, Mayor Duggan, unlike other mayors, has had thick enough skin to be firm when needed. So, sending federal troops into Detroit would be a head scratcher. The focus for local authorities right now is on neighborhood gun violence.”

How Trump is impacting Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District race

 

Grand Rapids Press

July 29, 2020

“They’re still heading to the same place, which is let’s get Grand Rapids and West Michigan back on track after everything we’ve been through this year,” he said. “But you almost never see Meijer take an angry or strident tone and I think that reflects the difference in their personalities.”

Bentivolio, newcomers battle in GOP Metro Detroit race to face Rep. Stevens

Detroit News

July 29, 2020

“In a now swing district, any time that your candidates are having to run all the way to the left or all the way to the right, it's going to be a problem," he added. "And Haley Stevens has been able to stay, at least publicity-wise, in the moderate wing.”

Michigan Threatens to Slip From Trump as He Goes Quiet on Airwaves

 

New York Times

July 29, 2020

“There will be on-and-off skirmishes in the blue wall states, but for now, it looks like some of the fights we’ll see are in the Republican base states."

Campaigns Try to Reach Voters Without Touching Them During Coronavirus Pandemic

MichMash, WDET

July 27, 2020

“What we see when we look at the candidates closer to the ground like county wide office, state representatives, and so forth is it doesn’t matter what party you’re in. They are realizing they need to get to the doors. And they are finding ways to do it, both as Republicans and Democrats.”

Gov. Whitmer came into office with bold policy plans. Now, they’re on hold as she battles crises

 

MLive

July 24, 2020

“The moment COVID-19 was confirmed in Michigan wasn’t that much different than the day President (George W.) Bush was sitting in a classroom trying to pursue his policy reform, education, on Sept. 11, 2001"

Eclectic mix of Republicans fight for chance to unseat Slotkin

The Detroit News

July 23, 2020

“Any Republican candidate was going to face an uphill battle in the 8th because they’re facing an incumbent with a ton of earned media, a disciplined, moderate message and a historic fundraising record.”

Meijer, Afendoulis Battle For Republican Nom

 

Gongwer

July 17, 2020

“They essentially agree on all the issues, but they differ on style and strategy, right now. Meijer from the get-go has had a message with softer edges on it and Lynn has been pushing real hard to the right and openly appealing to the base."

James A Rare GOP Senate Candidate Outraising Democrat

Gongwer

July 16, 2020

"Sellek said Michigan has been a bit different than races in other states. The Democrats nationally have the advantage in digital campaign fundraising infrastructure and have been able to capitalize on attracting a large donor base of small donors. He added that "John James has really been the only of the Republicans" who have been able to match the Democrats in that arena."

Jacques: Governor's unchecked powers need some checks

 

Detroit News

July 12, 2020

“The timing is essential. “Based on other recent initiatives, it’s possible they will need all 180 days just to ensure it got to the Legislature by lame duck, so they barely got started in time,” says John Sellek, CEO of Lansing-based Harbor Strategic Public Affairs.

Trump, Biden take different approaches to campaigning, amid coronavirus concerns in Michigan

MLive

July 12, 2020

Sellek said, “Because mail-in voting is occurring at such an incredibly high rate, the chances are better than ever that somebody could turn around and walk back to their kitchen table and just mark your name down on the ballot.”

Elissa Slotkin Is Sounding the Alarm. Will Democrats Listen?

 

Politico

July 10, 2020

“The district is unique because it’s really three districts—west, central and east,” says John Sellek"

Political groups spend millions on ads to turn Michigan Republicans against Trump over coronavirus response

MLive

July 9, 2020

“Sellek, founder of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs, said partisan groups face an uphill battle gaining voters’ attention while the pandemic, economic downturn and protest movements are ongoing. “The ability for a third party group to just drop into a state and really make an impact into an average voter’s daily routine is difficult at best.” 

Interest groups, firms tied to Michigan politics benefit from feds' loan program

 

The Detroit News

July 7, 2020

“By participating in the PPP program, along with many other Lansing small businesses, we were able to keep working for our teachers, hospitals and firefighters when they needed it most."

Battle looms as board OKs petition to strip Michigan governor's emergency powers

The Detroit News

July 6, 2020

“While it may take much of the 180 days to collect the signatures in a social distancing era, the timing of when it is submitted to the Legislature for a vote may be an indication of the issue's importance in the elections," said Sellek, CEO of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs in Lansing."

Monday Pundit Panel

 

MIRS Newsletter 

June 23, 2020

“Q. Republicans in the House aren’t wearing masks, Dems are. Which is doing the right thing politically? Each is playing to their supporters," Sellek asserts. “But find me a normal person who watches House session & I’ll buy you (take-out) lunch.”

Letter: Don’t forget about the damn roads

Holland Sentinel

June 21, 2020

“Michigan has gone through an unforgettable experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is something else we should not forget: fixing the damn roads. We need bold, creative reforms to stretch our remaining road funding further, such a creating uniform statewide rules that increase access to road building materials, helping to keep construction costs down."

Petition drives target Gretchen Whitmer. And she’s raising money off them.

 

Bridge Magazine 

June 23, 2020

“Any digital fundraising team worth their salt will 100 percent attempt to take advantage of a recall effort, even if the recall effort has absolutely no chance of making progress,” said John Sellek.”

Michigan Democrats ‘in knots’ as calls to ‘defund the police’ grow louder

Bridge Magazine

June 15, 2020

“Most of these politicians know that there is an eventual way forward in which we have to not just acknowledge but implement reforms that protect African Americans and minorities, make them feel heard, make them feel safer, and continue to have law enforcement,” Sellek said.

From coronavirus to unrest, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer shaped by crises

 

Bridge Magazine 

June 6, 2020

"She didn’t initiate any of these problems, but her legacy is going to be determined by how she responds to them and how effective she is in responding to them,” said Sellek. “She is facing something unlike any other Michigan governor has in modern history.”

Trump embraces a new kind of rally: The ‘Trumptilla’

Politico

May 29, 2020

"The boat parades are essentially recreating Trump rallies, but with social distancing built in,” said John Sellek.

Gov. Whitmer’s relationship with Republican leaders is at an all-time low. Now they need to solve a $3.2B problem together.

 

MLive 

May 26, 2020

"As John Sellek, longtime Republican politico and founder of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs put it, “I think it’s safe to say it’s one of the worst relationships in the history of Michigan state government.”

Trump visits Michigan amid coronavirus pandemic, historic flooding and economic downturn

MLive

May 21, 2020

"When any president visits an auto factory in Michigan, regardless of the product they are producing, it’s really about one thing: The economy,” Sellek said."

President Trump Visits Michigan, Argues It's Time To Reopen The State

NPR

May 21, 2020

"And it's a time when his Democratic opponent isn't traveling. Here's how John Sellek, a Republican strategist in Lansing, explained it to me.

 

"It's a state that the president won in 2016. And by all accounts, he needs and wants to win it again this election cycle.

Mike Duggan, Gretchen Whitmer: Contrasts in COVID-19 crisis

 

The Detroit News 

May 19, 2020

"Duggan, a friend and early supporter of Biden's, has kept his response largely focused on detail, data, facts and a local strategy to combat the virus. Whitmer, a potential Democratic running mate for Biden, appeared frequently on state and national TV to discuss the state's response and the federal government's alleged failings in the crisis."

Amash's Fate in MI-03 Still Unknown

 

Gongwer Michigan 

May 19, 2020

"John Sellek talked with Gongwer News Service Michigan about Rep. Justin Amash dropping out of the presidential race: 

 

"After abandoning three different political labels– Republican, Independent & Libertarian— in the last year to avoid a loss, he now just looks lost."

Both Democrats and Republicans will blame Justin Amash for running for president as a Libertarian if they lose, poll finds

Detroit Metro Times

May 6, 2020

"adding more anti-Trump candidates dilutes the anti-Trump vote, which hurts Democrats," John Sellek, CEO of the consulting firm Harbor Strategic Public Affairs

Amash Presidential Runs Means MI-03 Race Can "Officially Get Under Way"

Gongwer Michigan

April 30, 2020

"It's no surprise Amash is running despite no chance to win because it was the next logical step for someone who, while firm in his beliefs and strong in his love of country, has always mixed that with a healthy dose of attention seeking."

Amash launches committee to explore presidential run

The Detroit News

April 28, 2020

"If your theory of the race is that it’s a referendum on the president, which I believe it is, adding more anti-Trump candidates dilutes the anti-Trump vote, which hurts Democrats as polling has shown in Michigan," Sellek said"

Opinion: Boost economy by cutting NEPA red tape

 

Traverse City Record Eagle

April 28, 2020

"Michigan’s economy by all accounts was on quite a roll recently. Unemployment was low, incomes were growing and Detroit’s comeback became a national story. Things were good. 

 

Then the unthinkable happened: a pandemic."

Dave Akerly and the Morning Wake Up!

WILS 1320 AM, Lansing

April 27, 2020

"It wasn't his wife's choice. It wasn't anyone else's choice. It was Sen. Zorn's choice.

 

And it was a huge mistake.”

Opinion: Presidential race could impact Michigan's agricultural industry

 

Detroit News

April 27, 2020

"As the national media covers the presidential race this year, local farmers have been watching with great interest. That’s because a number of policy proposals being debated at the presidential level may have a significant impact on Michigan's agriculture industry and overall economy."

Michigan Legislature votes to extend emergency declaration 23 days

The Detroit News

April 7, 2020

"The Legislature is hearing from thousands of people everyday who only know the bits of information they pull from the television. And they are either fearful or angry or both," said Sellek, a Republican and former legislative staffer. In the midst of an emergency, "there’s not much of an input point for the public, and usually the Legislature is the branch that fulfills that role.”

MIRS Monday Podcast

 

MIRS News

April 6, 2020

"Whitmer Talks PB & Js On Biden's Podcast"

In 'turnout explosion,' Michigan Democratic primary voters set record

The Detroit News

March 11, 2020

"Michigan Democrats had been watching "an intense nomination fight with enough titillating twists, turns, characters and comebacks to qualify as a network mini-series, culminating in a two-person battle for the soul of the party they were told they got to decide," said John Sellek, a Republican and CEO of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs in Lansing.

'Democrats have spoken.’ Joe Biden’s Michigan win shows signs of strong coalition for general election

 

MLive

March 11, 2020

"Instead of winning by simply saying he is not Bernie, he must now build the campaign infrastructure he lacks and, more importantly, a durable message detailing what he would do as president that can consistently survive the eight-month slog to Election Day we are about to commence."

Michigan's Democratic Presidential Primary Election

Morning Wake Up WILS

March 10, 2020

"John and Dave talk about the primaries today and what stands out at the bitter end.

West Michigan looms as unexpected battleground for Sanders, Biden

 

Detroit News

March 9, 2020

"When you’re this close to Election Day, candidate election schedules tell you everything you need to know about how the race is going,” Sellek said."

Issues & Ale: Michigan’s Presidential Primary

Michigan Public Radio

March 9, 2020

"Join Michigan Radio’s It's Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta, and Joe DiSano and John Sellek the day before Michigan’s primary election for this fast paced look at the presidential race and how it may play out across the state.

Ease regulation to unlock American investment

 

Detroit News

March 7, 2020

"Imagine turning on the radio while stuck in traffic and hearing that a new road or bridge was proposed to ease your traffic problems, but will have to wait 10 years for regulatory approval before the first shovel of dirt is turned."

Whitmer under pressure to make endorsement before Michigan primary, analysts say

Detroit Free Press

March 4, 2020

"It's kind of put up or shut up time," and although he does not think Whitmer will endorse this week, "it's better to be on the winning team than no team," Sellek said.

Senate Bill 431 prompts concern over mining

 

Tri-County Times

March 3, 2020

"Sellek pointed out that while shopping malls, landfills and other industrial facilities can be zoned for specific places, mining can only happen specifically where sand, gravel and limestone are located underground."

THE GRAVEL PIT NEXT DOOR?

Northern Michigan Express

February 24, 2020

"You can zone where a manufacturing plant should be located a lot of times, but Mother Nature decided where the gravel is,” he said. “It doesn’t fit the normal mold of zoning.”

Stateside: West MI’s shifting politics; gun rights vs. gun control; comics writer Saladin Ahmed

 

Michigan Radio

February 25, 2020

"Republican Congressman Fred Upton has announced his re-election bid, but the 2018 election could foretell a fight to keep his seat. We discuss with John Sellek."

Pence using Michigan visit to reach pro-Trump farmers, blue-collar workers

MLive

February 24, 2020

"John Sellek, CEO of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs, said the visits target two key constituencies that helped deliver Michigan to a Republican presidential nominee for the first time in decades -- farmers and blue-collar workers."

Impeachment fades for Slotkin as Democrats try to pivot away

Associated Press - National 

February 24, 2020

"For Slotkin and Democrats like her, the question is whether voters buy the focus on local issues in the Twitter-centric Trump era, said Michigan consultant John Sellek. In Slotkin’s case, he pointed out, she sought a national profile by speaking widely about her background as a former CIA officer and taking leading roles on impeachment and Iran."

Langlois MI-03 Bow Out Could Emphasize Power Of Grassroots Support

Gongwer

February 14, 2020

"Considering the district has been so solidly Republican for a long time, the choice between Amash and Meijer, or even Afendoulis at this point, is seen to be protest vote against the president or to turn the page and focus on the bread and butter conservative issues that people are talking about in other districts," Mr. Sellek said.

DeVos family pumps $800,000 into super PAC targeting Peters  

Detroit News 

February 13, 2020

"James, like U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, has been able to draw contributions from donors across the country, said John Sellek, CEO of the Lansing-based consulting firm Harbor Strategic Public Affairs."

Morning Wake Up with Dave Akerly

WILS 1320 AM

February 13, 2020

"More on the democratic primaries from John Sellek. John and Dave also take a close look at Michael Bloomberg.

Leading Democratic presidential candidates ask Whitmer how to win Michigan  

MLive 

February 6, 2020

"Some pundits mused that Democrats may have given Whitmer the national spotlight to audition for vice president. John Sellek, CEO of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs, said Whitmer’s ability to win over suburban voters in a battleground state put her in the “sweet spot” for consideration."

Analysis: Governor Whitmer's State Of The Union Response

WKAR Radio

February 5, 2020

"John Sellek, who helms the Lansing public relations firm Harbor Strategic Public Affairs and ran communications for Governor Whitmer’s erstwhile Republican opponent former Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, said Whitmer delivered the speech Democratic leadership had commissioned her to give."

Morning Wake Up with Dave Aklery   

WILS 1320 AM 

February 4, 2020

"John Sellek stops by to talk about the Iowa Caucus and Governor Whitmer’s state of the union response.

Michigan Governor to Take National Stage to Rebut Trump  

The New York Times 

February 3, 2020

"Back in our House days, Whitmer was the "frequent, sometimes fiery, critic of Republican policies" but now does it with a smile, positioning as a "more moderate-sounding figure." She "matured in her political style since she was in the Legislature,” said Sellek. “Her style as governor has been to be forceful, but to portray optimism.”

Michigan governor to take national stage to rebut Trump 

MLive 

February 3, 2020

"National Democrats know their voters are tiring from the endless slog of the primaries, so their goal here is to give these people a fresh face and a general election message that reminds them they will soon have a nominee and turn the fight to Trump instead of each other,” Sellek said.

Off The Record

Michigan Public Television

January 31, 2020

"I gotta give John Sellek a shout out, who basically said these speeches are sort of like cotton candy. If you do well, they melt in your mouth and you forget about it, and if you don't, it's very sticky."

Whitmer shifts from SOTS to SOTU; tackling imam shortage; marijuana banking 

Stateside, Michigan Radio 

January 31, 2020

"We talk to our Friday political commentators about how she might position Michigan as a key player in a contentious election year. John Sellek is the CEO of Harbor Strategic Public Relations. Matt Friedman is co-founder of the Tanner Friedman public relations firm."

New group reserves TV time to tout Whitmer's road plan

The Detroit News

January 31, 2020

"John Sellek, the founder and CEO of Lansing-based Harbor Strategic Public Affairs, called the ad buy "unprecedented" for a mid-term policy proposal. "Since the roads cannot literally be fixed before the 2022 election, they are fighting to define what 'fixed' will mean in the minds of voters, and this is an aggressive way to do so," added Sellek, who worked for Republican Bill Schuette, who ran against Whitmer in 2018."

Whitmer to lay out Dems’ agenda in her State of the Union response 

Lansing City Pulse 

January 29, 2020

"The governor advised, “I’m going to stay hydrated but not too hydrated,” she laughed. From a public perception standpoint, Whitmer’s prime-time appearance can cut one of two ways for the governor, said John Sellek of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs. At best, the speech will go well. It’ll be like “cotton candy.” Listeners will find it sweet before it melts from their memories. At worst, she could make a blunder like Rubio’s drink of water."

Lucido 'Running Out Of Time' To Apologize 

MIRS News 

January 27, 2020

"Sellek said the fact three women have come forward would suggest "it's a pattern." As the husband of a woman "who's been there," he concurred that Lucido has a problem and the longer he waits to address it, the harder it 

becomes to undo any damage.

Whitmer SOS II, What Might We Expect? 

MIRS News 

January 27, 2020

"She will not be apologizing for proposing 45-cents or pulling a President Bill CLINTON when he said, 'Maybe I raised your taxes too much.' Her overarching goal at all times is to show boldness and action on the roads and that is how she will continue to frame it. After getting out the credit card, though, the channel will change to ‘which projects will be selected?'"

Redistricting group finds new targets while holding tight to grassroots

The Detroit News

January 27, 2020

"It's unusual for a grassroots group that formed around a single issue to have staying power after achieving its goal, said John Sellek, who owns the Lansing public relations firm Harbor Strategic. The odds worsen during an election year when volunteers may be pulled to other political issues or candidate campaigns."

Slotkin puts focus back on health care after navigating Iran, impeachment 

MLive 

January 24, 2020

"Sellek, CEO of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs and a veteran Republican campaign strategist, said Slotkin’s “steady style and policy chops” stood out in a year that put more attention on flashier personalities like U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit."

Michigan Republicans believe John James is their best shot at U.S. Senate in decades

MLive

January 17, 2020

"If you were to write the review on 2019, you’d have to say that he has succeeded wildly in both accounts so far. That strategy took discipline and it paid off big time for him,” Sellek said. 

Oakland County executive pays outstanding water bills after one year 

Detroit News 

January 16, 2020

"A candidate not paying their water bill wouldn't be the deciding issue in a race but certainly "doesn't look good," said John Sellek.

 

Since being appointed to the executive post in August, Coulter has played his cards pretty well, Sellek said, adding that his "governing honeymoon" is about over with the looming August primary election."

Great Lakes tunnel project should continue forward

Holland Sentinel

January 12, 2020

Former House Speaker Jase Bolger:

 

"While we certainly need to protect our environment, we can do that, protect our economy and move toward a high-tech energy infrastructure project that may rival any built in our state’s history."

What to expect in 2020— recession or success? Michigan Economic Forecast Forum 

WSGW Saginaw 

January 8, 2020

Host Art Lewis and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce's Bob Thomas talk about the economic forecast for 2020 in Michigan. 

Big cash haul for the reelection campaign of Rep. Slotkin as she pivots her main conversation with constituents from impeachment to Iran

Morning Wake Up, WILS

January 7, 2020

"John Sellek discussed the how Iran, Impeachment, The Squad and digital fundraising are affecting Michigan politics with Dave Akerly on 1320 WILS. 

 

"It's not about Haslett, Brighton or Rochester, it's about President Trump".

4th annual Michigan Economic Forecast Forum 

WKZO Kalamazoo 

January 6, 2020

Michigan Chamber of Commerce's Bob Thomas discusses the key public policy battles of 2019 and previews the 4th Annual Economic Forecast Forum.

Michigan road funding talks stalled out in 2019. Will next year be any different?

MLive

December 30, 2019

"I think the voters see the roads issue about the same as they see the Detroit Lions,” Sellek said. “They just don’t have a lot of faith that the game winds up with a victory.”

Reviewing 2019's Policy Battles and Previewing 2020 

WPHM Port Huron

December 26, 2019

Michigan Chamber of Commerce's Bob Thomas discusses the key public policy battles of 2019, like Line 5 and road funding, and previews the key events of January 2020, like the 4th Annual Michigan Economic Forecast Forum.

No-reason absentee voting could change 2020 Michigan campaigns

Detroit News

December 27, 2019

"Once absentee data is in, candidates can pinpoint where the remaining voters might be located and invest in those areas heavily, said John Sellek, who owns the public relations firm Harbor Strategic. “It may not change the amount of activity in Michigan, but it may change who is being targeted,” Sellek said. “They’ll be using all of the massive amounts of data to make a scientific judgment of how a person voted.”

GOP leader Chatfield: Road plan should cut vehicle registration fee 

Detroit News

December 26, 2019

"Drivers and taxpayers are frustrated and skeptical of state leaders when it comes to the roads, increasing the need for transparency and simplicity in any new road funding deal to avoid "echoes of the failures of 2015," said John Sellek, who owns the public relations firm Harbor Strategic and worked as a campaign strategist for former Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Trump to hold first 2020 rally in Toledo

Detroit News

December 23, 2019

"John Sellek, CEO of the Michigan based consulting business Harbor Strategic Public Affairs, said Trump is focused "like a laser on blue-collar, working-class people, including those who didn't vote in 2018 or aren't even registered."

 

"A visit to Toledo is another example of this, and it's a two-for-one by hitting media markets in both Michigan and Ohio," said Sellek, who's worked with Republicans. "It's a very efficient use of the candidate's time."

Impeachment vote could pass while Trump campaigns in Michigan 

MLive

December 15, 2019

"John Sellek, CEO of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs, said, “This president has rewritten the rules on battling his opponents, so the last thing we should expect is him hiding out in the White House bowling alley during the impeachment process.”

Is it time for a new Whitmer road funding plan?

MIRS News

December 9, 2019

"Gov. John ENGLER struggled through several attempts at solving his first campaign priority of cutting property taxes before ultimately doing so through a shift because the issue remained important to voters. The roads issue also remains hot so Gov. Whitmer will press forward, although I think we will see a multi-layered attempt, such as passing something through the legislature while also trying for something at the ballot. Regardless of the paths taken, they must be tested by talking to voters directly. If voters were polled on the first plan, their answers must have been completely ignored.”

What's next on Line 5? 

Lansing City Pulse

April 3, 2019

"If the tunnel is sunk, the pressure actually falls to the governor and attorney general to protect Mackinac Island from a potential oil bath."

Suspending the Healthcare Insurance Tax

Ron Jolly Show, WTCM

November 22, 2019

"Michigan Chamber of Commerce VP Wendy Block says Congress should act soon to again suspend the Healthcare Insurance Tax so small businesses have more of an ability to provide health insurance, and more, for their employees."

Hadden: End surprise medical billing to protect our working families 

 

Lansing State Journal

November 20, 2019

"One of the most pressing healthcare issues today is known as “surprise medical billing.” This practice occurs when an insured patient sees an out-of-network provider, oftentimes without their knowledge"

GOP Closer To Backing 'Their Candidate' In MI-03 With Lower Exit

Gongwer

November 21, 2019

"the main turning point was the 48-hour period from July 3rd to July 4th Amash quit the GOP and Peter Meijer entered the primary. At that point, support of the president was no longer an issue of dispute in the primary and the more traditional factors of geography, name ID and funding became key.”

Nessel: Punishing Democrats over Line 5 not a good idea 

 

The Detroit News

November 19, 2019

"Nessel's posts showed she is staking a claim on leadership of the Democratic Party, said John Sellek, CEO of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs."

NBC pegs Kent County as most important 2020 presidential battleground

MLive

November 18, 2019

"In fact, it is West Michigan’s cultural conservatism that has held it closer to Republicans when similar economically successful places like Oakland and Western Wayne Counties flipped many local and state legislative seats to the Democrats,” Sellek said. “But that is changing in Kent, evidenced by both Gretchen Whitmer’s win and the president’s repeat visits there. Kent is a new battleground but one in which Republicans there still have a lot to work with going into 2020.”

John and Dave talk about Tuesday's local and national election results 

 

WILS Morning Wake Up

November 7, 2019

"AVs are just like AARP now, they aren't just for seniors anymore." 

What Happens When You Ask MI-10 Voters This?

MIRS News

November 1, 2019

"Who you supported for governor matters to Republican primary voters and that shouldn't be a surprise," Sellek said. "Because for conservatives like these, supporting the gubernatorial candidate who went on to propose a 45-cent gas tax increase while vetoing funding for road repairs, public safety, and opioid recovery raises red flags."

Mackinac Straits tunnel equals safety and jobs

 

Marquette Mining Journal

October 26, 2019

“55% of Michigan’s propane arrives via Line 5, which is how many families heat their homes during Michigan’s winter wonderland months. Abruptly closing Line 5 and canceling the tunnel infrastructure project, without an affordable alternative energy supply for consumers, means lower thermostats and higher heating bills. The result would be like imposing a “heating tax” on our fellow Michiganians."

Oakland Co. executive Coulter to announce 'future plans'

Detroit News

October 30, 2019

”Political analysts said Coulter would be a strong candidate. "It is a near certainty that (Coulter) will run for executive after recruiting high-level staff, generating positive headlines and even conducting a county-wide listening tour over the last few months," said John Sellek, who owns the public relations firm Harbor Strategic."

Michigan needs line 5 and the construction jobs new tunnel will bring | Guest column

 

Detroit Free Press

October 23, 2019

“While it is reasonable to carefully consider possible environmental impacts, it is not reasonable to cut off a significant part of our energy supply and stop what could be one of Michigan’s most significant infrastructure projects since the Mackinac Bridge — a project that would actually protect our environment while also protecting family budgets and our economy. 

Opinion: Mackinac Straits tunnel means safety, jobs

Traverse City Record Eagle

October 18, 2019

”Michigan must follow the bold example set by Governor Soapy Williams and GOP legislative majorities in the legislature in the 1950s when they worked together to build the iconic Mackinac Bridge.

Amash sees smallest amount of donations. Does it matter?

 

Gongwer

October 22, 2019

“Because he has never been a huge fundraiser, it is not a surprise he hasn't drawn a lot of contributions from the district," Mr. Sellek said. "The surprise is that his out-of-state fundraising has not exploded by drawing off a national universe of either pro-Libertarian donors or the anti-Trump variety."

Disquiet on the Budget Front

MIRS News

October 22, 2019

”Sellek suggested Whitmer potentially has better cards than some might suppose – if she knows how to play them. “Veto and ad board, obviously,” Sellek said. “But something else that hasn’t played to the governor’s advantage yet—messaging.

Meijer, Slotkin post large cash amounts in Michigan's U.S. House races

 

Detroit News

October 16, 2019

“Meijer's fundraising prowess should make other candidates nervous, said John Sellek, a longtime GOP consultant and CEO of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs. While many people assumed Meijer could self-finance his campaign by tapping his wealth, he is also locking up support from community leaders, Sellek said.”

Audit: Michigan taxpayers ripped off with questionable $100K MDOT study

Detroit Free Press

October 18, 2019

”the audit "vindicates the ... industry" because it shows that "MDOT sought and accepted input, that its decisions when using that information were theirs alone and that there is zero evidence for sensational claims that the independent report authors were affected in their work."

Slotkin hears from both sides on Trump impeachment inquiry

 

Detroit News

October 7, 2019

"But Slotkin distanced herself from fellow Michigan Democrats. Slotkin's continued moderation on those issues is a "smart strategy," Sellek said, but "once you jump on board with this issue (impeachment), I think it's nearly impossible to make a separation.”

Want Good Roads, Schools and Government? Raise Taxes, Expert Says

Detroit Today, WDET 

October 7, 2019

”What I see, what my observations are, is that they don’t trust government, they just don’t trust that it’s going to get the job done.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer targets rural Michigan in bid to sway GOP on budgets

 

Bridge Magazine

October 2, 2019

"But Whitmer’s latest moves have failed to give her significant leverage after she backed down an earlier shutdown threat and agreed to postpone negotiations over a long-term road funding deal, said Republican strategist John Sellek of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs. 

“Republican legislators who voted for the budget can stand up and say, ‘I voted yes. The governor is the one who hurt you. Here’s her phone number. Call her and tell her that,’” said Sellek."

More spending on Michigan roads blunted by rising costs

Detroit News 

September 9, 2019

"A new report points to one likely culprit in what Gov. Gretchen Whitmer calls a road funding crisis: The rising cost of road building materials, which has doubled over the past two decades, according to an analysis of national data by the non-partisan Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency."

My Take: Pharmacists, partners successfully combating meth smurfing

 

Holland Sentinel

September 25, 2019

"We have made incredible progress in the fight against domestic meth, but we can’t let ourselves become complacent" --

 Larry Wagenknecht, CEO of the Michigan Pharmacists Association."

How Gretchen Whitmer could fight GOP budget, avoid Michigan government shutdown

Bridge Magazine 

September 25, 2019

"While Lansing insiders might applaud a more nuanced approach, vetoing a department budget or large government program could send a strong message that Whitmer is fighting for priorities she was elected to pursue, said John Sellek, a GOP strategist and president of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs. 

Hate Michigan roads? Your neighbors’ may be way better.

 

Bridge Magazine

September 26, 2019

"Sellek said most everyone agrees the roads are bad –  but do not trust that a big tax increase will solve the enormity of the problem."

Rest Assured, These Won't Be Issues for Long -- Right?

MIRS Pundit Panel 

September 24, 2019

"What the Democrats did do with this fudge-fueled sugar high is limit the Republicans from a clear set of messaging stories coming off the conference," Sellek continued. "But that is cold comfort when they have to return to work tomorrow and face a K-12 budget passed by their own House caucus."

How Michigan Republicans are feeling as the 2020 election draws closer

 

Stateside, Michigan Radio

September 23, 2019

"Harbor Strategic Public Affairs CEO John Sellek was also at the conference. He joined Stateside to talk about how national shifts in the Republican Party are playing out in Michigan, and what state Republican leaders see as their major challenges and best strategy going into the 2020 presidential election."

MIRS Monday Podcast

MIRS News 

September 23, 2019

"U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) says "We've entered a new era" if recent accusations about President Trump and the Ukrainian president are true and that Congress should look at "all options" in regards to dealing with Trump "

UAW strike puts Trump, GOP in political bind in key states

 

PBS News Hour

September 21, 2019

"Michigan-based Republican strategist John Sellek said he believes Trump is on the side of the workers but is trying to “thread the needle” and not “blow up” GM’s offer to save a plant or two.

 

“That fits his electoral victory path, and it fits his policy positions on trade,” he said. “He’s walking a more careful path rhetorically for now. But if he decides on any given day that it’s time to jump in with both feet, we shouldn’t be surprised that he does.”

U.P. lawmaker emerges as Michigan Attorney General’s loudest critic

 

MLive.com

September 18, 2019

"John Sellek worked for former Attorneys General Bill Schuette and Mike Cox and is currently the president and CEO of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs. He’s seen the use of social media evolve over the years and says Nessel’s sharp sense of humor and aggressive, first-person voice bring something new to state officeholders’ use of the platform.  

 

“This may sound twisted, but I sense they both like the fight, and that is what makes us all tune in and talk about it,” Sellek said. “It’s a policy debate served with a big side of entertainment.”

U.P. Propane owner: Line 5 is vital to Michigan (opinion)

Grand Rapids Press

September 18, 2019

"To haul an equivalent amount of product from Western Canada would take approximately 30,000 new trucks added to the roads and a tremendous amount of added stress put on Michigan infrastructure that would likely come from taxpayer’s wallets."

Political roundup: As lawsuits linger, House Dems vote to compensate victims wrongly accused of unemployment fraud

 

Stateside, Michigan Radio

September 6, 2019

"Democrats in Michigan House of Representatives announced legislation this week to reimburse those wrongly accused of fraud by the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. The agency used an automated system to detect fraud, which ended up wrongly accusing tens of thousands of people of unemployment fraud. We discuss with this week’s political commentator.  John Sellek is CEO of Harbor Strategic."

Michigan Families and Businesses need Line 5 project

Macomb Daily

August 30, 2019

"During this political season, one issue that has yet to capture much of the discussion amongst all the debate is the need for affordable energy."

Opinion: End surprise

medical billing 

 

The Detroit News

September 5, 2019

"The cost of health care has become increasingly burdensome for households and businesses across Michigan and our country. And the practice of surprise medical billing makes matters worse, hitting patients with unexpected costs. Congress must take meaningful action to end this practice." 

Opinion: Stop smurfing for Michigan meth heads

The Detroit News

August 26, 2019

"As the prosecuting attorneys in two of Michigan’s largest counties, we see it all. And one of the more difficult problems we see affecting our communities is Michigan’s meth problem. The impact of this deadly drug is devastating."

Genesee County prosecutor tells meth smurfers: ‘We will prosecute you’ 

 

The Flint Journal

August 13, 2019

"An association representing Michigan pharmacists and a county prosecutor are renewing a warning to people buying over-the-counter medicine as a raw material for manufacturing methamphetamines"

Warning: Buying pseudoephedrine for meth cooker could result in felony charge

WJRT, Flint

August 13, 2019

"Smurfing is no joke. It's a serious crime," Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said."

Prosecutor taking steps to thwart meth manufacturing, "smurfing" in Genesee County 

 

WEYI, Flint

August 13, 2019

"Have you ever heard of “smurfing?” If not, you probably aren’t alone."

Authorities say meth use on the rise West Michigan

FOX17, Grand Rapids

August 12, 2019

"The press conference Monday also served to remind the public about protections already in place to halt meth production. The National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), a computer system that tracks anyone buying Pseudoephedrine, was introduced in pharmacies in 2012.

Locally-made meth gets new look as popularity of imported 'scourge' grows 

 

WZZM Grand Rapids

August 12, 2019

“The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America applauds efforts to keep pseudoephedrine available to law-abiding citizens and out of the hands of meth makers, said Kathleen Slonager, executive director of the AAFA’s Michigan chapter. “It stops the criminals from abusing these medications to make their illegal meth,’’ Slonager said. “But just as importantly, it does not stop allergy sufferers from getting their medication that they so badly need.’’

Prosecutor warns of meth manufacturers asking others to buy key ingredients

WWMT, Kalamazoo

August 12, 2019

"If someone comes to you and asks you to purchase some pseudoephedrine for them and they're willing to pay you money to do that, you need to think twice because chances are he or she is probably smurfing and trying to use you as one of the tools for them to cook crystal meth," said Larry Wagenknecht, the chief executive officer of the Michigan Pharmacists Association."

Kent Co. prosecutor warns of ‘smurfing’ amid meth comeback 

 

WOOD TV, Grand Rapids

August 12, 2019

“The system works, they’re preventing the sales. But you’ve got to be vigilant. 

Experts pan Booker's claims about Clinton's Michigan loss

The Detroit News

August 2, 2019

"The nearly three-hour debates and crowded stage Tuesday and Wednesday seemed to be an effort at transparency in a nomination process that people criticized as unfair in 2016, said GOP strategist John Sellek.

 

But Booker's comments showed the party still hadn't learned everything it should have from its loss to Trump in Michigan, he said. "It’s widely known that the biggest negative impact on turnout in 2016 was the unhappiness with the idea of Hillary Clinton as president, and she has to take responsibility for that," Sellek said." 

Candidates got 5 hours on Detroit stage, failed to focus on Michigan issues

The Detroit News

August 1, 2019

"You saw Gov. Whitmer and Mayor Duggan say ‘Stop, slow down,’ and they basically got run over,” Sellek said.

Is Justin Amash Running for President? 

 

Vanity Fair

July 11, 2019

“Sellek added, “It’s always been an area where folks just kind of keep their head down and get their job done…It’s not a place for showboats.”

Amash plunges Michigan into uncharted political waters

Stateside, Michigan Radio

July 8, 2019

"Although Amash’s constituents may appreciate his candor, there's no guarantee the congressman will be able to keep his seat in the 2020 election."

Michigan's Summer Fireworks Season Has Officially Started

Fox 17, WXMI

June 29, 2019

Michigan’s summer fireworks season is now underway. The state’s 2019 summer season for igniting legal consumer fireworks started Saturday, June 29, and runs through Friday, July 5.

Who benefits from Amash becoming an 

Independent? 

 

Gongwer News

July 5, 2019

“Harbor’s John Sellek told Gongwer Michigan the MI3 race will “come down to "red meat issues.” Republicans are now forced to make a name for themselves by highlighting how they would address issues and not by comparing themselves to the incumbent.”

The more the merrier for the MI-03 primary in 2020?

Morning Wake Up, WILS

July 1, 2019

"Voters expect their officials to defend the constitution and chew gum at the same time."

Crowded GOP primary could aid Amash's reelection prospects 

 

The Detroit News

July 1, 2019

“The million-dollar question between now and the filing deadline is, can the anti-Amash forces set their egos down and settle on one person to oppose him? That’s difficult to do when a congressional seat is at stake."

Massive Spending Required for Slotkin, right? 

 

MIRS News

July 22, 2019

"The owner of the Philadelphia Phillies said, 'We're going into this expecting to spend money and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it,'" Sellek said. "If

the congressional Democrats end up with stupid money again this cycle they could go to those

districts, but they won't win."

Patterson exit buoys Democrats as they seek top post in Oakland County 

 

The Detroit News

June 26, 2019

“I would still call Oakland a battleground.” While Hillary Clinton won in 2016 with 51% of the vote, Mike Bouchard won reelection the same year with 60% of the vote. "Oakland County voters do tend to take each race individually," Sellek said."

What will happen first? 

MIRS News

June 18, 2019

"Our @JohnSellek was on the @MIRSnews pundit panel, talking Miss Margy, impeachment, Flint, and roads. "For all the talk of youth being served in politics (AOC, John JAMES, Pete BUTTIGIEG) we've got a group of septuagenarians playing high-level chess in Washington right now."."

Sell the Blue Water Bridge to fix the roads? 

 

Stateside Radio, WUOM

June 7, 2019

"Vicki Barnett is a former mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic state legislator. John Sellek is the CEO of the Lansing public relations firm Harbor Strategic. They join Stateside to discuss whether this idea would be a feasible alternative to Whitmer’s plan."

Mackinac Uncensored 

Detroit Regional Chamber

May 31, 2019

"Live from the Mackinac Policy Conference featuring Michigan’s most prominent thought leaders from various backgrounds engaging in spirited banter on the state’s hot-button issues. Chad Livengood moderates with panelists John Sellek and Portia Roberson."

Whats going on with the auto no-fault deal and Justin Amash? 

 

Morning Wake Up, WILS

May 24, 2019

"Dan Gilbert and the Detroit Chamber Mackinac Conference had an effect on the no-fault deal.  And while being Mr. No was seen as a breath of fresh air eight years ago, the novelty wore off as Grand Rapids surges and wants to get things done. "

Impeachment Appeal Pushes Justin Amash From G.O.P. Gadfly to Insurgent.

New York Times

May 20, 2019

"Justin has no fear,” said Sellek. “He’s been unafraid to be Mr. No on a lot of things, so generally he has been isolated and without a major accomplishment. To his credit, he’s also been unafraid to do repeated, relentless town halls — so he is both alone and out front at the same time. That puts you on an island."

Whitmer breaks mold with early, often veto threats 

 

The Detroit News

May 21, 2019

"Whitmer's upfront approach is “reflective both of the confrontational political environment we’re in today but also reflects her personality," Sellek said. “Whitmer wasn’t one to back down in the Legislature, and she hasn’t changed her tune now."

Five months in, the precarious state of bipartisanship in Lansing.

Bridge Magazine

May 21, 2019

"John Sellek said Whitmer’s talk of a hard-line veto of the GOP auto insurance bills inadvertently helped Republicans muster enough votes to pass no-fault reform by turning the issue into a power struggle when it didn’t have to be."

Improving access to road-building materials 

 

The Detroit News

May 19, 2019

"Higher taxes cannot not be the first or only solution to our problem, we must first spend the funds we already have more efficiently. How can we do that? One way is to lower the cost of building roads in the first place."

Thank your local law enforcement officers.

Traverse City Record Eagle

May 18, 2019

"National Police Week is our chance to say thank you to the men and women working to keep Northern Michigan safe for our families, and it is a time to honor officers who have given their lives in the pursuit of safety and justice."

"National Police Week is an opportunity to honor our law enforcement men and women ” 

 

Livingston Daily

May 16, 2019

"National Police Week gives us all, including me, the opportunity to honor and thank the brave women and men of law enforcement. To all of you on the front lines, and to those we have lost in the line of duty, we salute you."

Michigan Aggregates Assoc. President Doug Needham explains why reform is a must to fix Michigan's roads.

Frank Beckmann Show, WJR

May 17, 2019

"Why would a company expand or relocate in Michigan when they see the condition of our roads and infrastructure?"

"Better grab some popcorn, this is shaping up to be the most action since 2007.” 

 

Quote of the Day, MIRS News