LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker launched her campaign for Michigan attorney general Tuesday, touting herself as a “proven” conservative to Republican activists who will choose their candidate at a 2018 nominating convention.
The 49-year-old lawyer from Lawton, southwest of Kalamazoo, also billed her ability to defeat the eventual Democratic nominee — saying she won in counties Barack Obama carried twice. Attorney General Bill Schuette cannot run again for the office due to term limits and is instead seeking the GOP nomination for governor.
Schuitmaker is the first Republican to enter the race. House Speaker Tom Leonard is another potential GOP candidate.
The lone announced Democratic candidate is Dana Nessel, a criminal defense attorney who helped win a battle to strike down Michigan’s gay marriage ban. Patrick Miles Jr., the former U.S. attorney in Grand Rapids, has signaled he too will seek the nomination at Democrats’ convention next summer.
The term-limited Schuitmaker is serving her seventh year in the Senate after spending six years in the House. She has a bachelor’s degree in business from Michigan State University and a law degree from the Detroit College of Law.
“I’m a proven conservative with a record of taking on big fights and winning,” Schuitmaker said in an announcement video. Citing her anti-abortion, pro-gun rights positions, she said she would “stand with our law enforcement officers” and “shut down any liberal attempt to make Michigan a sanctuary state.”
Also Tuesday, 57-year-old accountant Mary Treder Lang of Grosse Pointe Farms, a member of the Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents, announced her candidacy for secretary of state. Republican Ruth Johnson is term-limited.
Treder Lang said she would use her private-sector experience to secure elections and improve customer service. She has been involved with GOP politics as a precinct delegate, state House candidate and former state committee member.
“I will expand online services, make them more user-friendly and offer service appointments in all offices,” Treder Lang said in a statement.
She is the second Republican to seek the GOP nomination, which also will be decided at the nominating convention. Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot is in. State Sen. Mike Kowall had been expected to jump in, though he may decide to run for a suburban Detroit congressional seat that is opening up.
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