In an era in which bipartisanship seems to not only be a dirty word, but also a lost art, two potential rivals recently came together to talk out their differences and their shared goal of bringing across-the-aisle cooperation to county government.
Former Howell Mayor Nick Proctor is running for the Republican nomination to the 5th District seat on the Livingston County Board of Commissioners. Kasey Helton is seeking the Democratic nomination for that same seat.
On Friday, the two met for lunch after Helton posted to social media that she was encouraging her supporters to join her in crossing over in the upcoming August 2 primary and vote for Proctor over his GOP opponent, current Commissioner Jay Drick.
“We don’t always have to agree on everything, and Nick and I do not agree on everything – but it’s still important that we come together at the table and discuss our common values and how we can work together to improve our community,” said Helton. “That’s why I accepted Nick’s invitation to lunch. If he wins this primary and we run against each other in the general, I think the residents of District 5 will have the choice of candidates they deserve, and I cannot say that about Jay Drick.”
Drick has not responded to a request for comment.
Proctor said he was pleased that Helton reached out for a chat and accepted his invitation to do so over lunch.
“We had a productive discussion on a wide range of topics where we agreed on some and disagreed on others,” said Proctor. “We need to come together as a community, as Kasey and I did, to find common ground in solving issues before us. We must resist the impulse to retreat into an ideology or party affiliation to foster productive, civil discussions on public policy. I look forward to future discussions with Kasey, and all residents of District 5, to explore ways we can work together to sustain Livingston County as a great place to live, work, invest and conduct business.”
As for her decision to not only vote for Proctor in the primary, but encourage fellow Democrats to do the same, Helton said that as a candidate, she did not feel right telling her supporters to vote for her in the uncontested Democratic primary.
“Those of you who know me know I’ve got no love for incumbent State Sen. Lana Theis, but I will be voting for her in this primary over challenger Mike Detmer,” said Helton. “I will also be voting for former Howell Mayor Nick Proctor, a moderate Republican who is running against Trump extremist and County Commissioner incumbent Jay Drick…I am voting for these candidates not because I feel like they will lose against a Democratic candidate – I’m voting for them because in all likelihood – based on a very solid, historic pattern of strong Republican turnout in Livingston County – they will be our next representatives to state and local office.”
Helton, who called Theis “corrupt…a bigot and the most cynical of opportunists” went on to say her primary motivation in crossing over in the primary was to vote “strategically and effectively against Mike Detmer,” the hard-right candidate seeking the GOP nomination for the Michigan State Senate. Detmer has made headlines by associating himself with white supremacist groups and advocating for violence at polling places.
“Those who say that there is no difference between Detmer and his supporters and Theis and her supporters are wrong,” she said. “Mike Detmer has threatened to bring weapons to the polls, making national news when he told his supporters to show up to the polls “locked and loaded” alongside his friend gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley, who together told a room full of people at a Moms for Liberty event in Brighton that they should “unplug voting machines” if people were not voting the way they wanted.”
She also noted that Detmer is set to headline a 2A pro-gun rally next Saturday, July 16 in Fowlerville alongside Shane Trejo, “a right wing radio personality who has promoted white supremacist ideologies and referred to the Charlottesville Unite the Right white supremacists as “civil rights heroes.”
“Make no mistake: Mike Detmer is dangerous for this county and he’s dangerous for the state of Michigan,” said Helton. “When I say dangerous, I mean that literally.”