Conservative First

Michigan AG: Comparing Leonard and Schuitmaker

The race for the Republican nomination for Attorney General will be decided at the Michigan Republican Convention on August 25 in Lansing.  Two candidates are competing for the nomination.  Tom Leonard was a prosecutor who was elected to the Michigan state house in 2012 and became speaker in 2016.  Tonya Schuitmaker is a lawyer, state representative (2004-2010) and state senator (2010-2018).

Republican delegates who want to nominate the right person need to know the records of the two candidates.  Both have voting records, which can be researched at MichiganVotes.org.  The following summarizes their records on issues of importance to conservatives.

Gas Tax Increase  Both Leonard and Tonya opposed Proposal 1, which would have increased taxes by 2 billion dollars to pay for roads and other transportation projects.  Leonard and Tonya both supported a smaller gas tax increase for roads.

Amazon Tax  Leonard opposed the ‘Amazon Tax’ to force consumers to pay sales tax on out-of-state internet purchases.  Tonya supported this tax increase.

Income Tax Cut  Leonard supported and led an effort to cut the state income tax, which narrowly failed in the state house.  The state senate did not vote on the bill.

Medicaid Expansion  Both Leonard and Tonya opposed Medicaid expansion, which was part of the implementation of Obamacare.

Pension Reform  Both Leonard and Tonya supported reforming school employee pensions.  Leonard led the effort to make sure that the bill passed.

Business Subsidies  The Mackinac Center recently released an index to rate how often a legislator has voted to support taxpayer supported business subsidies.  Leonard supported 70.1% of subsidies, while Tonya supported 76.9% of subsidies.

Hollywood Subsidies  Both Leonard and Tonya voted to end subsidies for Hollywood movie studios.

FoxConn Subsidies  Leonard opposed subsidies for FoxConn, a Taiwanese company.  Tonya supported the subsidies.

Electric Choice  Leonard and Tonya both voted for a bill to impose more regulation on electricity generation and limit choice of electricity providers.

Auto Insurance  Leonard supported a bill to reform auto insurance to provide more choices and reduce rates.  The bill failed in the state house and was not taken up in the state senate.

Speed Limits  Both Leonard and Tonya voted for a small increase in freeway speed limits.

Common Core  Leonard opposed the implementation of Common Core education standards.  The state senate passed Common Core with an (unrecorded) voice vote, but Tonya indicated her support for Common Core.  Neither chamber has voted on Common Core repeal legislation this session.

Constitutional Carry  Leonard voted for constitutional carry, and made sure the bill was voted on as speaker.  The state senate has not taken up the bill.

Official English  Leonard supported making English the official language of Michigan.  Tonya was one of only two Republicans to oppose official English in 2006.

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2018 Michigan Congressional Races

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

Michigan will see several interesting congressional races in 2018, with one open seat.  Michigan has 14 congressional seats.

There are several articles that analyze the general political leanings of the districts.

Michigan Redistricting: Congressional Map Passed
Republican Michigander Congressional District Profiles (Sidebar at right)

District 1 (Upper Peninsula, Northern Lower Peninsula) Safe Republican.
CD12: 48.1-47.6 CD14: 52-45 CD16: 55-40 McCain: 48.5 Romney: 53.5 Trump 57.9
Following the retirement of Dan Benishek, conservative retired general Jack Bergman defeated moderate state senator Tom Casperson and former senator Jason Allen 39-32-28 in the R primary. He defeated former Michigan democrat chairman Lon Johnson, a liberal who bought a small house in Kalkaska County, in the general. Veteran Matt Morgan is running for the D nomination, but may be disqualified because he messed up his petitions.

District 2 (Ottowa, Muskegon) Safe Republican.
CD12: 61-34 CD14: 64-33 CD16: 63-33 McCain: 50.4 Romney: 56 Trump 55.8
Republican former state rep. Bill Huizinga won a close primary in 2010 to replace Pete Hoekstra, and was easily reelected since then. He has generally voted a fairly conservative line. This remains the most Republican district in Michigan.  Robert Davidson and Nick Schiller are running for the D nomination.

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Primary Recommendations for Michigan State Senate

Every seat in the Michigan state senate is up for election in 2018, and the majority of seats are open due to term limits.  The senate has been run by more moderate Republicans, who have obstructed more conservative legislation passed in the state house.  How conservative the senate is for the next four years will be determined by Republican primaries in August.  Here are my recommendations for who to support in those primaries.

Recommended candidates are in bold.  Their voting records can be found at MichiganVotes.org.

7. State rep Laura Cox is an establishment conservative who is a strong candidate in a vulnerable district.  She is unopposed.

8. State rep Peter Lucido is a mixed bag who opposed Proposal 1 and an increased gas tax but also opposed right to work and electric choice and supported Hollywood subsidies.  He faces former state rep Ken Goike, who opposed right to work, Common Core, Medicaid expansion, Proposal 1, and Hollywood subsidies, and supported a gas tax increase and electric choice.

10. Dr. Michael MacDonald seems to be the most credible candidate in a weak field.  Michael Shallal has a history of questionable statements, and Joseph Bogdan is running a gadfly campaign.

12. State rep Jim Tedder is more conservative than average in the state house, opposing Hollywood subsidies and supporting an income tax cut, constitutional carry, and pension reform.  He faces moderate state rep Michael McCready, who supported Common Core, Medicaid expansion, Proposal 1, Hollywood subsidies and opposed an income tax cut, constitutional carry and pension reform.  Vernon Molnar and Terry Whitney are also running.

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2018 Michigan State Senate Elections

Cross-posted at The Western RightRight Michigan, and RRH Elections.

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.  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.

For the past few years, the state senate has been more moderate than the state house.  This cycle, there are several ideologically split Republican primaries that will determine how conservative the state senate will be next year. These will be in districts 12, 21, 24, 26, 30, 31, 34, and 35.

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
Michigan State Senate 2018 Preview (all up in 2018)

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.

2018 Candidate List (Michigan Secretary of State)

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January 2018 Michigan State Senate Fundraising

January 31 was the deadline for campaign finance reports for Michigan legislature.  Some races are already well-developed, while in others, candidates have only recently declared or have yet to declare.  Here are summaries of the total amount raised in Michigan state senate districts.  Totals include state house committees for state representatives. Cash on hand is in parentheses when significantly less than the total raised.

3. (D) Santana 91K Woronchak 2K
6. (D) Kosowski 69K Geiss 16K
7. (R) Cox 95K
8. (R) Lucido 130K
9. (D) Lane 101K Wojno 8K
10. (D) Yanez 66K
11. (D) Moss 23K (5K)
12. (R) Tedder 73K (36K)
13. (R) Knollenberg 143K (54K)
14. (R) Johnson 35K (21K)
15. (R) Runestad 190K (151K) Crawford 46K (18K)
16. (R) Shirkey 123K
17. (R) Zorn 143K (83K)
18. (D) Irwin 66K Zemke 22K
19. (R) Callton 242K (115K) Bizon 211K
20. (R) O’Brien 213K (147K) McCann 30K
21. (R) Pscholka 65K
22. (R) Theis 80K (51K)
24. (R) Barrett 61K Roberts 25K (7K) (D) Rossman-McKinney 180K (150K)
25. (R) Lauwers 47K
26. (R) Genetski 192K Nesbitt 74K
28. (R) MacGregor 181K (83K)
29. (R) Afendoulis 220K (D) Brinks 139K
30. (R) Garcia 172K Haveman 32K Victory 77K
31. (R) Glenn 115K Daley 61K (D) Luczak 9K
32. (R) Horn 186K (109K)
33. (R) Outman 14K
34. (R) Bumstead 137K (76K) Hughes 806K (300K)
35. (R) Franz 27K Rendon 57K (21K)
36. (R) Stamas 233K (109K)
37. (R) Schmidt 265K (60K)
38. (R) McBroom 27K (11K) (D) Dianda 100K (80K)

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October 2017 Michigan State Senate Fundraising

October 25 was the deadline for campaign finance reports for Michigan legislature.  Some races are already well-developed, while in others, candidates have only recently declared or have yet to declare.  Here are summaries of the total cash on hand in Michigan state senate districts.  Totals include state house committees for state representatives.  XX means the report has yet to be filed.

6. (D) Kosowski 35K Geiss 6K
7. (R) Cox 88K
8. (R) Lucido 108K
9. (D) Lane 92K Wojno 104K
10. (D) Yanez 54K
11. (D) Moss 26K
12. (R) Tedder 33K
13. (R) Knollenberg 32K
14. (R) Johnson 6K
15. (R) Runestad 129K Crawford 20K
16. (R) Shirkey 103K
17. (R) Zorn 70K
18. (D) Irwin 50K Zemke XX
19. (R) Callton 133K Bizon 222K
20. (R) O’Brien 126K
21. (R) Pscholka 65K
22. (R) Theis 36K
24. (R) Barrett 47K Roberts 3K (D) Rossman-McKinney 114K
25. (R) Lauwers 31K
26. (R) Genetski 174K Nesbitt 74K
28. (R) MacGregor 80K
29. (R) Afendoulis 201K (D) Brinks 100K
30. (R) Garcia 162K Haveman 18K Victory 68K
31. (R) Glenn 73K Daley 46K (D) Luczak 2K
32. (R) Horn 85K
33. (R) Outman 12K
34. (R) Bumstead 73K Hughes 283K
35. (R) Franz 18K Rendon 30K
36. (R) Stamas 105K
37. (R) Schmidt 60K
38. (R) McBroom 11K (D) Dianda 58K

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Michigan House Passes Constitutional Carry

On Wednesday, the Michigan state house passed a package of bills to implement constitutional carry in Michigan.  Constitutional carry means that the government does not impose any permits or fees before citizens can exercise their constitutional right to carry firearms. Around five years ago, support for constitutional carry moved from the fringe to a mainstream Republican position.  Twelve states now have constitutional carry, and more are considering it.

The four bills received 59 to 61 yes votes, and 47 to 49 no votes.  Three democrats voted for all four bills.  They are

  • John Chirkun – district 22 (Roseville)
  • Phil Phelps – district 49 (Flint suburbs)
  • Scott Dianda – district 110 (western UP) – running for state senate (district 38) in 2018

Seven Republicans voted against some or all of the bills.  They are

  • Kathy Crawford (against 3 of 4) – district 38 (Novi) – termed out in 2020
  • Michael McCready (against all 4) – district 40 (Bloomfield) – termed out in 2018 – may run for senate (district 12)
  • Martin Howrylak  (against 2 of 4) – district 41 (Troy) – termed out in 2018
  • David Maturen (against all 4) – district 63 (E Kalamazoo) – termed out in 2020
  • Chris Afendoulis (against all 4) – district 73 (GR Township) – termed out in 2020 – may run for senate (district 29)
  • Rob Verhuelen (against all 4) – district 74 (Walker) – termed out in 2018.  Verhuelen ran against Tom Leonard for Speaker last year.
  • Dave Pagel (against all 4) – district 78 (S Berrien) – termed out in 2018

The bills now go to the state senate, where it is not certain whether they will be taken up.  It is also unclear whether Governor Snyder, who has a mixed record on gun rights, would sign them.  Nonetheless, Speaker Tom Leonard and most Republicans in the state house deserve credit for getting them this far.

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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.

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How Trump Won Michigan

Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the 2016 presidential election was capped off by winning Michigan. The vote total was
Trump 2279543 (47.50%)
Clinton 2268893 (47.27%)
The margin was only 10704 votes. Michigan had the closest percentage margin of any state in the nation.

Analyzing the election results nationwide leads to four basic observations:

1. Trump won huge margins in rural areas.
2. Trump improved significantly in downscale (white working class) areas.
3. Trump did poorly in upscale (wealthy, highly educated) areas.
4. Clinton won blacks by large margins, but turnout was significantly down.
The following maps show Trump/Clinton and Romney/Obama by county.
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Michigan Election Results

President:
Trump 47.6 Clinton 47.3

Supreme Court:
67-23 for Viviano
59-28 for Larsen

Education Boards:
SBOE:  McMillin and Snyder win, pulling Rs into a 4-4 tie.  Big loss for D bathroom policy.
UofM:  Weiser wins, Illich second.  Now 3R, 5D.
MSU: Kelly and Byrum win. Now 4-4 tie.
WSU: Gaffney and Busito win Now 3R, 5D.

Congress:
1. 55-40 for Bergman over Johnson. Big win in a race many pundits called a tossup.
2. 63-32 for Huizinga
3. 59-38 for Amash
4. 62-32 for Moolenaar
5. 35-61 Kildee
6. 59-36 Upton over Clements. Wenke got 5%.
7. 55-40 Walberg over Driskell. Big win in a race Ds fought for.
8. 56-39 Bishop. Secure.
9. 37-58 for Sander Levin
10. 63-32 for Paul Mitchell
11. 53-40 for Trott.  Surprisingly, this was the closest congressional race.
12. 29-64 for Debbie Dingell
13. 16-77 for Conyers
14. 19-79 for Lawrence

State House:
17. 52-44 for Bellino over Lavoy. Shocking upset and PICKUP.
20. 56-44 for Noble.  Big conservative win.
23. 49.7-50.3 Camilleri beats Howey.  Tough LOSS in a tough district.
24. 55-45 for Marino. The tapes didn’t matter.
30. 54-46 for Farrington
39. 50-42 for Kesto
40. 53-47 for McCready. Close call in an upscale district.
41. 56-44 for Howrylak
50. 48-52 for Sneller. This wasn’t even on the radar.  Trump did well here.
52. 45-52 Lasinski wins.  Not that close, but this might have been won with a stronger candidate.
57. 56-44 for Kahle
61. 49-45 for Iden. Iden seriously underperformed.
62. 48.0-47.5 Bizon wins a very tough district.
66. 54-46 for Griffin
71. 54-43 for Barrett
85. 56-34 for Frederick. Locked down early.
91. 49-44 for Hughes
99. 55-45 for Hauck
101. 54-46 for VanderWall
104. 51-43 for Inman
106. 61-35 for Allor over sign-stealing Kennedy.
108. 53-47 for LaFave. Dems top recruit loses.

Macomb: Candace Miller wins public works. Rs win Treasurer and Clerk narrowly.
Oakland: Incumbents win, including Patterson and Bouchard.
Kalamazoo:  All incumbents win.
The metro Detroit transit millage failed.

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