A most unusual campaign moment took place this week as the Republican nominee to replace disgraced former Macomb County clerk Karen Spranger engaged in a lengthy Facebook thread to deflect revelations about her checkered past.
Facing a special election in November to fill the Spranger vacancy, Lisa Sinclair calmly answered questions from constituents after campaign hit pieces mailed by the county Democratic Party over the weekend identified the candidate’s past criminal convictions.
The county Democrats offered documentation to detail a Sinclair arrest in 2003 for drunken driving when she crashed her vehicle into a car stopped at a red light. In 2011, she was arrested in Marysville after a drunken, profanity-laced tirade aimed at police while at a gas station. Eight other traffic-related incidents, including illegally parking in a handicapped space, were cited from 1999-2017.
The Democratic ad and an accompanying website compared Sinclair to the eccentric Spranger because she “also has a troubling, embarrassing record of instability.”
Caught blind-sided by these attacks, Sinclair quickly tried to answer numerous pointed questions posted on Facebook Monday by Macomb voters, including some fellow Republicans. It was an adventure that few candidates ever face, but the Harrison Township Republican deserves credit for answering ever query with politeness and not lashing out.
She said the drunken driving conviction occurred 15 years ago, when she was in her 20s, and the drunk and disorderly conviction happened after going through a “horrible” divorce in 2010.
“Are you still drinking?” asked one person, a query that would force any election candidate to cringe. Sinclair said she has turned her life around and now has only one or two drinks while at home, not when on the road.
The GOP candidate faces former county commissioner Fred Miller, the Democrat who narrowly lost to Spranger two years ago, in the upcoming November general election.
On Facebook, she also faced tough questions about her current and past association with former state senator Dave Jaye. Sinclair worked with Jaye at the height of his many controversies, from 1997-2000. That was shortly before his track record, three drunken-driving convictions and an alleged assault, resulted in the Washington Township Republican becoming the first senator in Michigan history to be removed from office by his Senate colleagues.
Jaye is apparently a supporter of Sinclair but has no official role in the campaign.
After serving as an aide in the Legislature for about 11 years, Sinclair worked as the manager of a physician’s office and as a home health care worker. Since November 2016, she has worked as an emergency room nurse.