Aug 6, 2007

State GOP puts blogger and political operative in charge of communications

Subscription only Gongwer is reporting GOP dirty trickster and Livingston County resident Bill Nowling has been named director of communications and research for the Michigan Republican Party. With party chair Saul Anuzis’ reputation for dirty tricks he Nowling should fit right in.

Nowling is also a blogger, operating the rightwing blog the Lunchbox Conservative. He was most recently the director of media relations for the political consulting firm Sterling Corporation. Nowling was previously press secretary for former Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema, deputy speechwriter for former Governor John Engler and he worked for former state Sen. Mike Rogers. But Livingston County residents might remember Nowling from when he briefly worked as a reporter for the then weekly newspapers the Brighton Argus and the Livingston County Press when he was between political jobs after moving to Michigan. That’s when I briefly met him when I took over the position at the newspaper he was vacating in 1998.

He got the job through his friend, then managing editor Buddy Moorehouse, who briefly had to quit his job after the newspaper went daily in order to run as a conservative Republican candidate for the 47th District seat in the state House in 2002. So much for the liberal media myth/strategy.

I came in contact again with Nowling around 2002 when I was covering politics for the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, and Nowling was working for a political consulting group called Persuasion, Inc. The Rogers camp claimed Nowling - who at the time was representing a large telecommunications company, At & T, I believe- tried to blackmail Rogers, now a U.S. Congressman. The Rogers people claim Nowling said if Rogers didn’t vote for a telecommunications bill the group’s client wanted passed there would be hundreds of the company’s employees picketing in his office the next day. Now, Nowling claims it never happened, and he says he and Rogers are now buddies. But the Rogers people sure made a big deal out of it at the time. Either Nowling is lying or Rogers Press Secretary Sylvia Warner, who I have a lot of respect for, was lying gin 2002.

The release said he will “head up the party’s communications and research efforts through the 2008 election cycle.” That fact, coupled with the recent GOP poll tax that requires showing a photo ID to vote, it will be an interesting election, and we will have to be especially vigilant for dirty tricks, voter intimidation and fraud.

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