Ron Hawkins wants to serve the people of the 63rd District in the Michigan State House of Representatives.  He lost the Democratic primary by just 81 votes on August 4th   but he says he’s mounting a write-in candidacy, in part because of a dispute over a Facebook post on his opponent’s page.

Hawkins spent 41 years working with the U.S. Department of Defense and served in Iraq in 2006 as a technical adviser.  The Indiana farm boy has lived in Battle Creek for nearly 30 years.   The problem Ron has run into in getting elected to the 63rd State House seat is that he’s not a Republican and never has been.   Two years ago, Hawkins ran as a Libertarian.  The 63rd district voters elected Republican Matt Hall.  The 63rd district has been represented by Republicans now for more than half a century.   But, even so, Hawkins decided to run as a Democrat.  When the local Democratic Party in Kalamazoo became aware of it, they moved quickly to recruit another candidate in Luke Howell.

If you read Hawkins’ League of Women Voters questionnaire, he sounds like a Democrat---a Kennedy Democrat.   Howell did not fill out the questionnaire in time for the primary election.   He says he would have responded but didn’t get it in time.   Betsy Cushman, VP of Michigan Voter Services for the League of Women voters said Howell did not respond to "many invitations" to fill out their survey.   But Howell says he’s a tradesman and does not have a computer, just a cracked old iPhone.  He says the League mailed a paper copy to the wrong address and by the time he received it, it was too late.

In a letter written to voters of the 63rd District, Hawkins thanked those who voted for him and asked for their write-in vote.  “To all the voters in the 63rd District, I want to thank those who voted for me.  You have proved that there are still those who will support a moderate Democrat.  To those who did not vote for me, I ask you to take another look at me by visiting my website”

In his letter, Hawkins also accused Howell of deliberately allowing misinformation to be posted on his Facebook page.  “During my campaign, my opponent had attempted to assassinate my character through keeping up untruthful posts on Facebook such as me being a Republican running as a Democrat and that I did not respond to the League of Women Voters questionnaire.  These are untrue statements.”

But Howell says the post in question stated the opposite.  He says the woman posting on his campaign Facebook page was concerned that Howell did not fill out the questionnaire, and that "the other dem candidate (Hawkins), sounds like a straight-up Republican".

Hawkins, possibly misunderstanding the post, says he even went to talk to Howell face-to-face to ask him to take it down.  He said Howell did not remove the post until after the election.   “Not only was I displeased with his inaction before the election, his actions following lead me to conclude that he is likely to be as effective in responding to constituent concerns as the incumbent,” wrote Hawkins.

But the post is still up on Howell’s Facebook page, and we found it.

Tim Collins
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