How the GOP's attacks turned a Michigan Democrat into a 'political celebrity'
In a fundraising e-mail sent out in April, Michigan State Sen. Lana Theis, a Republican, accused Democratic Michigan State Sen. Mallory McMorrow of being a “groomer” who wanted to “groom and sexualize kindergartners” — and when McMorrow forcefully called Theis out on the Michigan Senate floor, her speech went viral. Three months later, reporter Adan Wren looks back on that controversy in a July 28 article for Politico, explaining how badly Theis’ political stunt “backfired.”
McMorrow and Theis are both seeking reelection to the Michigan State Senate, and Theis has faced a Republican primary challenge from far-right MAGA conspiracy theorist Mike Detmer. As mean-spirited as Theis’ attack on McMorrow was, Detmer has slammed Theis for not being far enough to the right; the fundraising e-mail was obviously Theis’ way of telling Republican primary voters that she isn’t a RINO (Republican In Name Only). Michigan’s Republican and Democratic primaries will be held on Tuesday, August 2.
But ironically, Wren stresses in his report for Politico, Theis ended up helping Theis a lot more than she helped herself — even though that obviously wasn’t Theis’ intention.
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“The numbers are in, and it’s official: The attack on Democratic Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow backfired,” Wren reports. “The Michigan Republican state senator who falsely described McMorrow as a ‘groomer’ in an April fundraising e-mail raised less than $300 in the days following the solicitation, according to campaign finance filings. McMorrow, on the other hand, raised more than $1 million.”
McMorrow’s “spirited speech in the Senate in her own defense,” Wren notes, “made her a political celebrity on the left.”
“Theis didn’t see an influx of small-dollar donations from the solicitation — her take from individual donors was just $235,” Wren observes. “But McMorrow used the response to her speech to build a database of 11,000 donors from all 50 states, according to her husband and treasurer Ray Wert.”
In April, McMorrow’s speech received so much attention that she received a phone call from President Joe Biden, who applauded her for speaking out.
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Theis, according to Wren, didn’t return Politico’s interview request. But Cody Mott, a Republican attorney based in Michigan, spoke to the publication — and he believes that Theis may not have even seen the anti-McMorrow e-mail before it was sent out.
“My guess is she never read that email,” Mott told Politico, “and it was a pretty big mistake.”
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