You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 5:15 p.m.

Willow Run Tea Party throws support behind Clark Durant for U.S. Senate

By Ryan J. Stanton

The local Willow Run Tea Party Caucus has endorsed Republican Clark Durant in his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

Durant picked up the endorsement over former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, the other leading GOP candidate eyeing Stabenow's seat.

Durant announced the endorsement on Wednesday, saying he's honored to pick up support from the Ypsilanti-based group.

"I will fight hard for them against the big-spending status quo in Washington," he said in a statement. "I look forward to working with them to defeat Senator Stabenow, and put our country back on a track of individual freedom and economic stability."

Dan Benefiel, co-director of the Tea Party group, said Durant won the endorsement because he has the best combination of experience and strong conservative positions, and many felt he is the best person to defeat Stabenow and "go get things done in Washington."

Durant, of Grosse Pointe Farms, has endorsements from several Michigan Tea Party groups now. He's the co-founder and former CEO of Cornerstone charter schools.

A new poll last week showed Stabenow continuing to hold a 9 percent edge against Hoekstra and an 11 percent edge against Durant in individual showdowns.

Other Republican candidates, former Kent County Probate Judge Randy Hekman and American Family Association-Michigan President Gary Glenn, were not placed in a matchup against the Democratic incumbent in the poll, according to an report.

Hoekstra, Durant and Stabenow appeared at a candidate forum on Mackinac Island last month and discussed regional transit, with Stabenow more enthusiastic about the possibilities.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Sara White

Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

Clark's great. It's refreshing that we've got a political outsider who really has a shot in this race. I think I echo most people when I say that I'm frustrated with how our government thinks they can tax and spend their way into prosperity. Unfortunately, both Democrats AND Republicans are to blame. It's a new election cycle and we need a new candidate. I'm voting for Clark Durant.

Joe Baublis

Sat, Jun 30, 2012 : 5:55 a.m.

All you liberal democrats are doing yourselves a dis-service by bad mouthing Clark without understanding his real character first. Did you know that he saved the Ann Arbor Railroad from bankruptcy and all the jobs and families that went with it? He turned it from a defunct government run financial disaster into a private business success. And what about his stance against the monopoly of the Bar Association? That takes courage. And what kind of man would leave a cushy job in Washington in favor of going home to be with his wife and family? The answer is a man with integrity, and that's what Clark Durant offers the People of the State of Michigan.

E. Daniel Ayres

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

After reading through the comments, it is clear that this discussion isn't going to solve anything. IMHO just go out and vote for the incumbents. If the Tea Party had been a little more flexible the country wouldn't be in the mess it faces. Any solution to our economic problems must involve approaches which stop and probably reverse the steady shift of economic power to the rich at the expense of everyone else. This country as it was growing always had resources available for individuals, mostly imigrants, to work their way out of poverty. Now everything is owned by the rich and by corporate entities that have been granted unlimited political power. If you read history, Italy under the fascists was run by a few large corporate powers, and look what it cost them. How about EXXON's "big lie" campaign to portray themselves as pro education and pro teacher? Look at how little they are actually spending compared to folks like Bill Gates who understands how badly our tax system fails the country. The political strategy of running the state into the ground before turning it over to the other party was pioneered by a Republican here in Michigan, adopted under Bush 44, and is now being used to try and defeat a president who has been doing what he can under the constitution to try and solve problems with a legislature committed to making eveything he tries difficult. Throw the Tea Party bums out of our congress!


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

I would love to read about the SPECIFIC plans Mr Durant has to slow defense, Medicare and SS costs. Those 3 account for roughly 24%, 22% and 22% of our budget. My bet is he will focus on "welfare queens" , foreign spending and the like. Probably also for reducing govt revenue AND cutting the budget at the same time. How is that working so far?


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:14 p.m.

I wonder who this group is going to pick for their presidential vote? I suspect not Obama, Romney is too liberal for most TP folks that I know. Will there be a 3rd party candidate to speak for the conservatives?


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

Look up the numbers USUAL, don't take the word of Media Elites that are snowing you. Most of the debt you Whine about is due to past administrations piling on, including alleged "conservatives". Romney himself has said he will not cut spending radically because it would....cause another recession! So go ahead, vote for the pro-abortion, pro-fee, anti-gun, democrat appointing Romney! He may not raise taxes, but he has a history of raising fees.

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 11:51 a.m.

Uh, right.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

Unusual Suspect - Obama as President is the smallest government spender since Eisenhower. Teddy Roosevelt was a lead Progressive. I don't think you know which side your bread is buttered on!

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

We will take what we can got. For now. Romney is obviously the best choice of the two. However, the work is only beginning. Work will continue to get more conservatives into the House and Senate and bring the country back to where it was meant to be. For progressives, there are plenty of places in the world that have the exact system you want, and they have it right now. I'm not giving you the typical, "Love it or leave it" line, I'm saying the system you so urgently want is already in place, in some very, very nice places around the world with nice climate and even some very good wine and a whole bunch of people who think the same way you do, and I don't see why you feel you have to try to make this country do a one-eighty to change it into one of those when you can have what you want right now over there.

Lac Court Orilles

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

Clark Durant will keep the wealthy happy.

Middle America

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 9:52 a.m.

Thanks, now I know that Clark Durant must be an awful candidate.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 4:56 a.m.

Xmo, do you have health care? Ever been dropped or not given Health insurance because you hav cancer? Obamacare takes care of these problems. Ever had to declare bankruptcy because your wife got cancer and your health insurance paid its max and dropped you?


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 3:40 a.m.

What a pathetically vague website Durant has. No plans, no proposals, no specifics, just opposition to the Democrats and platitudes. His "Education" issue trumpets his founding of private religious schools. These school carefully select who gets to go to them, and charge thousands of dollars a year in tuition, yet somehow are a solution for education in big cities. Is this all it takes to win the Tea Party's support? They don't seem to be asking hard questions.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 4:51 a.m.

Romney has no position on anything except blaming Obama for everything that happened during the Bush years. Our unemployment rate would be 1% less if there had not been more tax cuts and so many teachers and public safety people laid off. But, to win the election, the Republicans have to keep the numbers bad and they are by not cooperating on the jobs bill, the Dream Act, and so on.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 4:45 a.m.

Just like Romney and Snyder. Snyder would never have gotten elected if he had told the voters that he was going to destroy public education, raise taxes on the middle class, and let the Republikans enact their God driven social agenda. Meanwhile mindlessly cutting taxes on business.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

Gotta love Clark's nutty explanation for why the Electoral College should be preserved:

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

What is it you don't like about his reasoning? All he states is the actual reason for it. I'm not surprised you would be against federalism, but many of us understand the importance of it.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 10:10 p.m.

Willow Run. Never forget Dr Brownlee. Never forget.,2616143

Jonathan Blutarsky

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

I just read the article in the link you provided. What am I missing? What is the correlation with this story?


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 10:05 p.m.

When you vote this November please remember: ""Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) has long focused on health care as a priority, " Thanks Debbie for OBAMA-CARE!


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

Just curious MIKE, where were you from 2000-2008? During that period health care insurance costs rose at similar or greater rates than they are now, and the debt you are concerned about now had it's start back then. Compare Reagan to Obama:


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 1:25 a.m.

Thanks Debbie for driving up health vare costs and the federal deficit for our kids and grand kids. We'll find out tomorrow if all of the back room dealing and arm twisting to jam it down our throats was even constitutional. We see how well medicare and social security are working out. Obama care is even a bigger entitlement that is doomed to fail financial; so thanks again..........


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

Thank heavens for her and all those who support national health care! About time!

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

Any actual information on how many members this 'caucus' actually has?


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:14 a.m.

About 35 members attend each weekly meeting from 9 to midnight Fridays at the Big Sky Diner. It is not a large tea party group but it has a high percentage of precinct delegates and Washtenaw County GOP committee members, because the members tend to be active in the party activities. They get a lot of good speakers and anyone is welcome to come hear them, regardless of whether they are tea party members. For example, Wes Pater (Democrat on the County Board of Commissioners) came to speak against the Board's support for County wide taxes to support Ann Arbor's cadillac public transit system. Also, a Milan Township trustee came to tell us about the "China Town" housing development that was being proposed in Milan and London Townships. So if you are an independent and want to hear about local issues or hear Republican primary candidates, feel welcome.