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MI Republicans forgo election night party

The Michigan Republican Party has announced that it will not have one, large party on Election night in Michigan.

This is unusual as both parties traditionally hold election night events for folks running for office and for party activists and donors. The celebrations are usually held at big convention halls or hotels so folks can watch election results come in - think balloons, confetti, and victory speeches.

But, this year, the Michigan GOP says rather than throwing a big shindig they’ll be putting the money they’d spend on a party into campaigning.

“No I am not spending $300,000 on an election night party. I want all that money to go to candidate assistance. That’s where it should go,” Republican Party Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel said on Michigan Public Television’s Off the Record this weekend.

The thinking is there are no big Michigan Republican names at the top of the ballot. So let the Trump campaign handle its election night parties and let local candidates do the same.

“We’ll have parties at all of our different offices, we have over 20 offices throughout the state,” Romney explained.

And that also means the state party isn’t responsible for crowding a bunch of people from different factions who really don’t like each other into a ballroom.

But, let’s make something clear: if the Republican Party was winning across the board in Michigan right now - if they thought there was a chance that Donald Trump could win Michigan - it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t be partying it up.

Because that would also mean they beat the Republican voter turnout expectations, which would be good news for every Republican candidate on the ballot.

This decision to forgo a main event is a pretty strong signal the GOP is not expecting a great election night. And, by not having one, the state GOP is also avoiding having people from all different factions of the party together in one room. Angry, frustrated, pointing of fingers and casting blame.

So, much like the Republican Party itself right now, these individual groups will splinter and hold their own election night bashes.

And then wake up on the morning of the Wednesday after the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November to start to figure out what’s next for the Republican Party.

Zoe Clark is Michigan Public's Political Director. In this role, Clark guides coverage of the state Capitol, elections, and policy debates.
Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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