2018 Michigan State Senate Elections

Cross-posted at The Western RightRight Michigan, and Red Racing Horses.

All 38 seats in the Michigan Senate are up for election in 2014.  Republicans currently have a 27-11 supermajority, and have controlled the senate since 1983.  Republican control of the state senate has prevented democrats from complete control of Michigan’s government in some years, and stopped a lot of bad things from being passed.

Fortunately for Republicans, the Michigan state senate is up only in midterms, which usually favor Republicans much more than presidential years.  Republicans had a good year in 2014, picking up one state senate seat, following four pickups in 2010.

The 2010 redistricting produced a map that was moderately pro-Republican, while complying with all relevant laws.

Michigan Redistricting: Official Republican State Senate Map Released
Michigan Redistricting: Republican State Senate Map Passed

There are 26 open seats due to term-limits, 7 D and 19 R.  There may be other openings due to retirement or seeking another office.

All current state senators are former state representatives except three (Colbeck, Conyers, Hertel).  This pattern held in the past, and most credible candidates this time are current or former state reps.

I have included election data for the 2014 state senate election, and McCain (2008), Romney (2012), and Trump (2016) results in each district.  More data is available from Republican Michigander and RRH Elections.

Republican Michigander district profiles (see sidebar)
RRH Michigan Senate Data File

The McCain numbers look terrible for Republicans because he collapsed after publicly pulling out of Michigan.  The largest McCain percentage in any Michigan state senate district won by a democrat in the past twelve years is 46.2% in (old) district 31.

Here is a breakdown of the individual races.  State reps years in office are listed after their names, with P meaning present.

1. [Detroit riverfront, Downriver] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 28-72 McCain: 22.0 Romney: 21.5 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Coleman Young (D term-limited)
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit.  Several state reps may compete here.

2. [NE Detroit, Grosse Pointes] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 25-71 McCain: 20.1 Romney: 19.3 Trump: XX
Incumbent:  Bert Johnson (D term-limited)
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit.  Several state reps may compete here, including disgraced rep Brian Banks (12-17), who resigned in a plea bargain.

3. [West-central Detroit, Dearborn, Melvindale] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 20-80 McCain: 16.3 Romney: 14.5 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Morris Hood (D term-limited)
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit.  Several state reps may compete here.

4. [Central Detroit, Lincoln Park, Southgate, Allen Park] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 16-84 McCain: 18.5 Romney: 16.7 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Ian Conyers (D)
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit. Virgil Smith resigned after pleading guilty to shooting at his ex-wife.  The 2016 special election was won by Ian Conyers, the great-nephew of Congressman John Conyers.

5. [W Detroit, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, Inkster, Redford] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 18-82 McCain: 20.6 Romney: 18.4 Trump: XX
Incumbent: David Knezek (D)
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit.  Knezek, who is white, won a split primary with 29% in 2014.

6. [SW Wayne, Westland, Taylor] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 38-62 McCain: 34.3 Romney: 35.1 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D)
Analysis: State reps Doug Geiss (08-14), Erika Geiss (14-P), Robert Kosowski (12-18), and Darrin Camilleri (16-P) are potential candidates.

7. [Livonia, Canton, Plymouth, Northville, Wayne city] Lean Republican
SS 2014: 52-48 McCain: 47.3 Romney: 50.0 Trump: 49.0
Incumbent: Patrick Colbeck (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state rep Laura Cox (14-P), who represented more than half of the district on the Wayne County commission, is likely the favorite here.  R state reps. Kurt Heise (10-16) and Jeff Noble (16-P) could also run.  D state reps Dain Slavens (08-14), who lost to Colbeck in 2014, and Kristy Pagan (14-P) could run.

8. [N/E Macomb] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 62-38 McCain: 50.3 Romney: 54.0 Trump: 62.4
Incumbent: Jack Brandenburg (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state reps. Pete Lund (08-14), Peter Lucido (14-P), Ken Goike (10-16), and Tony Forlini (10-16) may run here.

9. [Warren, Roseville, Eastpointe, Fraser, S Clinton] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 32-68 McCain: 37.7 Romney: 36.7 Trump: 44.2
Incumbent: Steven Bieda (D term-limited)
Analysis: D state reps Jon Switalski (08-14), Derek Miller (14-16), Patrick Green (16-P), John Chirkun (14-P), Harold Haugh (08-14), and Marilyn Lane (10-16) could run.

10. [Sterling Heights, Macomb, N Clinton] Lean Republican
SS 2014: 63-37 McCain: 47.8 Romney: 51.1 Trump: 58.4
Incumbent: Tory Rocca (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state reps Leon Drolet (00-06), Kim Meltzer (06-10), Jeff Farrington (10-16), and Diane Farrington (16-P) may run, though the Farringtons live just outside the district.  D state reps Henry Yanez (12-18) and William Sowerby (16-P) could run.

11. [Farmington, Southfield, Oak Park, Madison Heights] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 24-76 McCain: 25.8 Romney: 26 Trump: 25.6
Incumbent: Vincent Gregory (D term-limited)
Analysis: Gregory narrowly defeated state reps, Vicki Barnett (08-14) and Ellen Cogen Lipton (08-14) in the 2014 primary.  Both could run again, along with reps Christine Grieg (14-P), Robert Whittenberg (14-P), and Jeremy Moss (14-P).

12. [NE Oakland, Pontiac, Bloomfield Twp.] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 57-43 McCain: 46.4 Romney: 50.2 Trump: 50.3
Incumbent: Jim Marleau (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state reps Bradford Jacobsen (10-16), John Reilly (16-P), Michael McCready (12-18), and Jim Tedder (14-P) could run.  D state house minority leader Tim Greimel (12-18) could run, but low turnout in Pontiac hurts Ds in midterms in this district.

13. [Troy, Rochester, Royal Oak, Birmingham] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 58-42 McCain: 46.5 Romney: 50.4 Trump: 46.9
Incumbent: Marty Knollenberg (R)
Analysis: Knollenberg won a very close primary in 2014.  D state rep Jim Townsend (10-16) could run.

14. [SW Genesee, NW Oakland, Waterford] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 58-42 McCain: 48.5 Romney: 51.9 Trump: 58.9
Incumbent: David Robertson (R term-limited)
Analysis: Surprisingly, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, who once represented this area as a state rep (98-04), is exploring moving down to the state senate.  If she doesn’t run, state rep Joe Graves (12-18) would likely be the favorite.

15. [SW Oakland] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 58-42 McCain: 48.3 Romney: 52.9 Trump: 52.2
Incumbent: Mike Kowall (R term-limited)
Analysis: Kowall beat Tea Party leader Matt Maddock only 50-43 in the 2014 primary.  Maddock may run again, and state reps Klint Kesto (12-18) and Jim Runestad (14-P) could run.

16. [Jackson, Hillsdale, Branch] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 61-39 McCain: 50.8 Romney: 55.6 Trump: 64.8
Incumbent: Mike Shirkey (R)
Analysis: Shirkey, who led the fights for both Right to Work and Medicaid expansion, may be a candidate for leadership in the state senate.

17. [Monroe, Lenawee] Lean Republican
SS 2014: 51-46 McCain: 47.6 Romney: 49.9 Trump: 61.5
Incumbent: Dale Zorn (R)
Analysis: Rs have held this competitive district for at least the last five elections.  Zorn defeated rep Doug Spade (98-04) in 2014.  Other possible D candidates include state reps Dudley Spade (04-10) and Bill Lavoy (12-16).

18. [Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 28-72 McCain: 24.9 Romney: 27.0 Trump: 23.6
Incumbent: Rebekah Warren (D term-limited)
Analysis: Ann Arbor loves electing left-wing feminist state senators, including Warren, Liz Brater, Alma Wheeler Smith, and Lana Pollack.  D state reps Jeff Irwin (10-16), David Rutledge (10-16), Adam Zemke (12-18), Yousef Rabhi (16-P), and Ronnie Petersen (16-P) could run.

19. [Calhoun, Barry, Ionia] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 62-38 McCain: 49.6 Romney: 53.4 Trump: 61.8
Incumbent: Mike Nofs (R term-limited)
Analysis: R former rep. Mike Callton (10-16) is likely to run.  Reps. John Bizon (14-P) and Jase Bolger (08-14) could also run.  D rep Kate Segal (08-14) could run.

20. [Kalamazoo County] Tossup
SS 2014: 45.5-45.4 McCain: 40.1 Romney: 43.3 Trump: 43.2
Incumbent: Margaret O’Brien (R)
Analysis: Kalamazoo County is a battleground, with democrats usually winning the top of the ticket, and Republicans doing better at the bottom.  In 2014, O’Brien (10-14) defeated D state rep Sean McCann (10-14) and Libertarian former state rep Lorence Wenke (04-10).  D state rep Jon Hoadley (14-P) is a likely candidate.

21. [Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 64-36 McCain: 48.1 Romney: 54.6 Trump: 60.5
Incumbent: John Proos (R term-limited)
Analysis: State reps Al Pscholka (10-16), Dave Pagel (12-18), Sharon Tyler (08-12), Matt Lori (08-14) and Aaron Miller (14-P) could run.

22. [Livingston, W Washtenaw] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 59-41 McCain: 52.8 Romney: 57.2 Trump: 59.2
Incumbent: Joe Hune (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state rep Lana Theis (14-P) is likely the favorite. Other possible candidates are state reps Henry Vaupel (14-P), Cindy Denby (08-14), and Bill Rogers (08-14).

23. [Ingham] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 34-66 McCain: 31.9 Romney: 34.5 Trump: 34.6
Incumbent: Curtis Hertel Jr. (D)
Analysis: Hertel, then Ingham Register of Deeds, won in 2014.

24. [Eaton, Clinton, Shiawassee, NE Ingham] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 56-44 McCain: 47.1 Romney: 50.1 Trump: 56.1
Incumbent: Rick Jones (R term-limited)
Analysis: Speaker Tom Leonard (12-18), and state reps Tom Barrett (14-P), Ben Glardon (10-16), and Ben Frederick (16-P) could run.

25. [St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 56-44 McCain: 50.1 Romney: 55.6 Trump: 68.4
Incumbent: Phil Pavlov (R term-limited)
Analysis: State reps Dan Lauwers (12-18), Andrea LaFontaine (10-16), Pam Hornberger (16-P), Paul Muxlow (10-16), and Shane Hernandez (16-P) could run.

26. [Van Buren, Allegan, Kentwood] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 61-39 McCain: 51.5 Romney: 55.4 Trump: 58.9
Incumbent: Tonya Schuitmaker (R term-limited)
Analysis: Tonya is likely to run for Attorney General. State reps Aric Nesbitt (10-16), Beth Griffin (16-P), Bob Genetski (08-14), Mary Whiteford (16-P), Ken Yonker (10-16), and Steve Johnson (16-P) could run.

27. [Flint, central Genesee] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 23-77 McCain: 24.0 Romney: 25.0 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Jim Ananich (D)
Analysis: Ananich, who won a special election in 2013, is now the D state senate minority leader.

28. [N Kent, Walker] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 66-34 McCain: 56.5 Romney: 61.1 Trump: 61.9
Incumbent: Peter MacGregor (R)
Analysis: MacGregor holds one of the safest R districts in Michigan.

29. [Grand Rapids, SE Kent] Tossup
SS 2014: 58-42 McCain: 42.8 Romney: 46.8 Trump: 41.9
Incumbent: Dave Hildenbrand (R term-limited)
Analysis: This district has been trending away from Rs at the top of the ticket, but has more R strength downballot.  Dave LaGrand, 2006 and 2010 D nominee, is now a state rep (16-P). D state rep Winnie Brinks (12-18) could also run.  D state chairman Brandon Dillon (10-15) seems unlikely to run. Former R state rep Lisa Lyons (10-16) would be a strong candidate, but is now Kent County Clerk.  R state reps Chris Afendoulis (14-P) and Thomas Albert (16-P) could also run.

30. [Ottawa County] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 71-29 McCain: 62.1 Romney: 67.4 Trump: 66.3
Incumbent: Arlan Meekhof (R term-limited)
Analysis: Ottawa County is usually the most Republican in Michigan.  R state reps Roger Victory (12-18), Amanda Price (10-16), Jim Lilly (16-P), Daniella Garcia (14-P), and Joe Haveman (08-14) could run.

31. [Bay, Tuscola, Lapeer] Tossup
SS 2014: 55-45 McCain: 47.2 Romney: 52.0 Trump: 64.4
Incumbent: Mike Green (R term-limited)
Analysis: This district has alternated between parties every 8-10 years since the 1980s.  Mike Green narrowly won the 2014 primary 50-46 over conservative state rep. Kevin Daley of Lapeer County.  Daley has already declared for 2018.  R state reps Edward Canfield (14-P) and Gary Howell (16-P) could also run.  D state rep Charles Brunner, a moderate from Bay City, is likely to run.

32. [Saginaw, W Genesee] Lean Republican
SS 2014: 54-46 McCain: 43.1 Romney: 45.9 Trump: 53.2
Incumbent: Ken Horn (R)
Analysis: Incredibly, despite D dominance of Saginaw County, Rs have won this district for the last seven elections.  Ds tend to nominate black state reps from Saginaw who don’t appeal to the white union voters who dominate the rest of the district.  D state rep Vanessa Guerra (14-P) could run.

33. [Montcalm, Isabella, Gratiot, Mecosta, Clare] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 57-43 McCain: 46.8 Romney: 51.5 Trump: 62.3
Incumbent: Judy Emmons (R term-limited)
Analysis: State reps Rick Outman (10-16), James Lower (16-P), Kevin Cotter (10-16), and Roger Hauck (16-P) could run.

34. [Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana] Tossup
SS 2014: 56-44 McCain: 39.8 Romney: 46.0 Trump: 55.5
Incumbent: Geoff Hansen (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state rep Jon Bumstead (10-16) of Newaygo, an early endorser of Trump, is already running.  State rep. Holly Hughes (10-12, 14-18) of Muskegon County is also likely to run.  Bumstead is somewhat more conservative.  D state reps Marcia Hovey Wright (10-16) and Terry Sabo (16-P) could run.

35. [NC Lower Peninsula] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 60-40 McCain: 49.8 Romney: 54.5 Trump: 64.6
Incumbent: Darwin Booher (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state reps. Ray Franz (10-16), Phil Potvin (10-16), Bruce Rendon (10-16), Curt VanderWall (16-P), Michelle Hoitenga (16-P), and Daire Rendon (16-P) could run.

36. [NE Lower Peninsula, Midland] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 61-39 McCain: 50.8 Romney: 56.0 Trump: 65.4
Incumbent: Jim Stamas (R)
Analysis: This district was competitive in 2002, but has moved right since then.  Stamas is a leadership candidate.

37. [NW Lower Peninsula, E Upper Peninsula] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 61-39 McCain: 51.9 Romney: 56.8 Trump: 61.1
Incumbent: Wayne Schmidt (R)
Analysis: Schmidt won a bitter primary in 2014.  He may get a challenge from the right in the 2018 primary.

38. [Upper Peninsula excluding Mackinac, Chippewa, Luce] Tossup
SS 2014: 62-38 McCain: 46.2 Romney: 51.0 Trump: 59.0
Incumbent: Tom Casperson (R term-limited)
Analysis: This district was held for Ds for decades until Casperson won it in 2010.  The likely R candidate is state rep Ed McBroom (10-16) of Dickinson County.  Moderate D state rep Scott Dianda (12-18) from western UP is likely to run.  D state rep John Kivela (12-18) of Marquette, who pled after being charged with “super drunk” driving could also run.

Summary of Ratings:
Safe democrat: 11
Toss-up: 5
Lean Republican: 4
Safe Republican: 18

You Betcha! (4)Nuh Uh.(1)

  2 comments for “2018 Michigan State Senate Elections

  1. Sue Schwartz
    February 22, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Want to know whose vulnerable--any sitting state senator (who was a former state rep) or any term-limited state rep hoping to be a state senator, or any state rep hoping to be reelected--who voted for the gas tax--consider yourselves term-limited for life. Repeal the gas tax and we might consider you--but don't get your hopes up having lost the public trust.

    Also, the lowering of the income tax--anyone read that bill??? Repeal it in its entirety.

    You Betcha! (3)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Mark
      February 23, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      They don't seem to be too concerned about the very real scenario you describe. Shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic?

      You Betcha! (0)Nuh Uh.(0)

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