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Tom Norton brands himself as an anti-establishment candidate ahead of next month's Republican primary bout with Moolenaar

Matt Ozanich
Tom Norton speaking at a campaign event in Mount Pleasant on Wednesday July 6, 2022.

Tom Norton, a former combat veteran from Kent county, is looking to unseat incumbent John Moolenaar in August's Republican primary election.

At a recent campaign stop in Mount Pleasant, Norton says he’s tired of Republicans not having a "backbone," accusing his fellow GOP members of not crafting effective policies.

Norton is embracing the anti-establishment label for his campaign.

"They have failed miserably for 30 years and I'm sick of it. And I am tired of it. And I don't want to be friendly about it," said Norton during his speech to the Isabella county organization United We Stand. "Is there anybody in here that likes being screwed by a nice guy?"

Norton is referring to Congressman Moolenaar, who’s seeking his fifth term in Congress.

Congressman Moolenaar told WCMU that Norton has distorted his record and said he is not only endorsed by the NRA, former President Trump and Right to Life Michigan, but mentioned he’s fought to block numerous Democratic policies such as federal election policy and vaccine mandates.

"President Trump's called me a warrior advocating for Michigan and good policies," said Moolenaar on a phone call with WCMU while he was on the campaign trail. "I'm proud of my record, and that I stand on that record."

Norton, the former village President of Sand Lake, argues that his activism has accomplished more in Michigan than Republicans in Congress.

"I was the co-founder of second amendment sanctuary counties. So, I've actually accomplished something without ever being elected in office, we've passed 37 counties that are second amendment sanctuary counties here in the state of Michigan with no money," said Norton.

The newly drawn second district contains over 50% of the old fourth district counties, but does not include the city of Midland, Moolenaar’s hometown.

This marks the first time in his political career, that Moolenaar will be running for office without voters from the city of Midland.

But Moolenaar said he is not worried. Moolenaar and his campaign have been making stops along the Lake Michigan shoreline in counties like Oceana, Mason and Manistee. And Moolenaar says he’s proud to be running in this new district.

"Overall, it's a strong agricultural district, a lot of agriculture, diversity of different crops and livestock. For the first time, I'll represent areas that grow fruit and asparagus," said Moolenaar.

But Norton, a western Michigan native, said the western part of this district gives him the edge over Moolenaar because he is from this part of Michigan.

Additionally, Norton argued that Moolenaar has lost a substantial voting block of Republican primary voters after the new congressional maps were finalized.


Election policy is one of the top issues on Republican voters minds in the new second district.

During the question and answer session at Norton’s stop in Mount Pleasant, it was clear that Republican voters want to see action on election policy

Norton says he endorses a forensic audit of all federal elections.

"We need to have a national voter ID law, end of story," said Norton. "And if you sit there and you don't do the audit, and anybody who breaks a law, Democrat or Republican, they go to jail. End of story. A million veterans have died for the right to vote."

Moolenaar said he’s fought against Nancy’s Pelosi’s quote “federal takeover of elections” and said elections need to be fair and voter need to be confident that their votes will count.

Congressman Moolenaar voted to certify the 2020 Presidential election results but also supported a Supreme Court case by the State of Texas challenging the election results.

Michigan’s primary elections are scheduled for August 2nd.

Editor's note: This article originally reported that Tom Norton never held public office. This is not true. Norton was the Village President of Sand Lake in Kent County for 4 years.

Rick joined WCMU as a general assignment reporter in March 2022.