Anuzis would be strong GOP candidate for Senate
While several top politicians have yet to decide on a 2014 run for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Democratic incumbent Carl Levin, one name stands out amongst hopefuls for the Republican Party nomination.
That name is Saul Anuzis.
Sure, Terri Lynn Land, who won two statewide elections for secretary of state, or Mike Rogers, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who went from the Legislature to Congress and now chairs the House Intelligence Committee, may be more established names with a history of winning elections. Then there is the obvious: Anuzis’ name doesn’t easily roll off the tongue, unless you’re a member of the Lithuanian diaspora.
Despite his self-proclaimed “average guy” status, Anuzis stands out from other would-be senatorial candidates with a compelling narrative.
The son of immigrants, Anuzis is the definition of a Reagan Democrat who achieved the American dream. He put himself through the University of Michigan at Dearborn with a Teamster job — something that connects him with voters along the Interstate 75 manufacturing corridor.
“I believe in American exceptionalism and believe that our best days are yet before us,” he told supporters in a recent e-mail that discussed his potential candidacy. “So I will humbly go forward to see if there is any reasonable opportunity for me to do my part to help restore the American dream.”
True Anuzis is a political insider — a genuine liability at a time when so much of the GOP grassroots is controlled by tea addicts who prefer an intra-party Reign of Terror to defeating Democrats. However, his experience as both chairman of the Michigan Republican Party and as a member of the Republican National Committee means he knows the donors necessary to fund a multi-million dollar campaign.
These credentials have generated tremendous statewide and national interest in an Anuzis candidacy for Senate.
At the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, which Anuzis organized as program director, he was pulled aside by Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, for an impromptu meeting on what’s happening in the race to replace Levin.
Details on what was discussed aren’t known, but Land, Rogers and Justin Amash, the unabashed libertarian member of Congress from Kentwood, aren’t generating the same type of buzz as Anuzis.
The problem is it takes a lot of time, work and dedication to run for Senate, especially in what will surely be a contested primary with an opponent backed by a tiny, but vocal, element of the Republican Party that refuses to accept the dire situation the party finds itself in at the moment.
Though Anuzis is arguably the state’s top GOP strategist, he isn’t a career politician nor is he a wealthy businessman who can self-fund a campaign and buy off opposition.
He has a wife, four sons and a mortgage — the sort of factors that too often keep, to quote Anuzis, an “average guy” like him from running for political office.
If he does run, Anuzis would be in a strong position to be the first Michigan Republican to win a Senate seat in 20 years.
Written by Dennis Lennox (@dennislennox on Twitter) is a Morning Sun columnist.