State House Speaker Tom Leonard, who certainly qualifies as one of the more low-profile Michigan speakers in recent decades, is essentially running full-time for attorney general these days, with female opponents positioned on either side of him.
His Republican opponent is state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker of Lawton, while the Democrats have already endorsed Dana Nessel, an activist attorney, as their nominee.
In 2017-18 special elections and primaries across the nation women have fared quite well, so Leonard may have his work cut out for him. Critics say that running for AG is about the only work he has been doing for more than a year.
In the opening weeks of his speakership, in February 2017, the DeWitt Township Republican failed to round up enough votes in the GOP-controlled House for an income tax cut. The vote was widely viewed as a stunning loss for the young speaker and Leonard, 37, never made another attempt.
GOP political analyst Dennis Lennox, in a guest column written for the Port Huron Times Herald, said that Leonard’s focus has not been on a Republican legislative agenda but rather on the 2,000 GOP delegates who will nominate the party’s AG candidate at the August Republican State Convention.
Here’s Lennox commenting on Leonard’s “exploitation” of his high-ranking status:
Leonard has spent his entire time as speaker maneuvering to become attorney general, not leading his caucus and doing the nuts-and-bolts
work that comes with the House gavel.
“I wish Speaker Leonard would concentrate on actually being speaker,” said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, whose district overlaps with Leonard’s. “He doesn’t even seem interested in keeping the Republican majority. It’s all about him running for attorney general.”
Don’t take Jones’ word for it. Whether you use a magnifying glass, a super-powered spy satellite or a team of bloodhounds, there is literally no way to detect any real accomplishments under Leonard’s so-called leadership.
Yes, he’s filled his campaign coffers with loads of cash by converting the speakership into an ATM card. And yes, he’s generated heaps of press releases, but it’s impossible to detect anything he has actually accomplished for the taxpayers.