ELECTION 2012: Eaton County Sheriff's Race Heats Up

Nov 1, 2012

WKAR's Scott Pohl has a look at the race for Sheriff in Eaton County.

"I'm persistent. I was raised as a Democrat, and I'm going to run as a Democrat." Tom Reich

[NOTE: Sheriff Mike Raines declined to be interviewed for this story.]

Four years ago, Tom Reich challenged Sheriff Mike Raines in the GOP primary in Eaton County, and got less than 29% of the vote. With no Democrat on the general election ballot, Reich launched a write-in campaign, where he got only 126 votes while Raines got more than 38,000.

This time, Reich decided to forego a Republican primary against Raines to run instead as a Democrat.

This race hadn’t gotten much attention until a Lansing State Journal story a few weeks ago about Raines’ involvement with a movement known as Constitutional Sheriffs. They believe that as elected officials with powers outlined in the state and U.S. constitutions, they are the sole protectors of their counties and can turn away federal officials if necessary.

State Journal reporter Kevin Grasha has also reported on a group Raines formed to respond to emergencies, called Guardians of the Constitution.

Raines has defended the group’s reliance on members with permits to carry concealed weapons because they’ve already had background checks. Other would-be members have to pay for a background check. Raines has said they would not be allowed to carry weapons if deployed.