Conservative First

2014 Michigan August Primary Preview

Michigan has no contested statewide primaries on the ballot on August 5.  Governor Rick Snyder and his democrat challenger Mark Schauer are unopposed.  So are US Senate candidates Terri Lynn Land and Gary Peters.  But there is plenty of action further down the ballot.  Polls close at 8PM Eastern except in the extreme western UP.

Results: SOS AP Election Magic

2014 Michigan Congressional Races
MI-1 (R) (Lean Benishek) In 2010, Dr. Dan Benishek won an open seat vacated by democrat Rep. Bart Stupak against democrat state Rep. Gary McDowell 52-41 and won the rematch 48.1-47.6 in 2012.  Benishek has generally voted with the leadership, displeasing some of his former Tea Party supporters.  He is being challenged by Tea Partyer Alan Arcand, who was seen as a longshot, but recently released a poll claiming that he leads 56-44.

MI-3 (R) (Likely Amash) Republican state rep. Justin Amash won the primary to replace moderate Republican Vern Ehlers, in 2010. He won 60-37 in 2010 and 53-44 in 2012 over former state rep Steve Pestka. Amash is a libertarian in the mold of Rep. Ron Paul. He has stepped on some toes in Washington, most notably getting into spats with the NRA and Michigan Right to Life.  He is being challenged in the primary by moderate businessman Brian Ellis, who has significant self-funding and support from the Chamber of Commerce.  Amash has support from AFP and Club for Growth.  A recent poll showed Amash leading 51-31.

MI-4 (R) (Tossup) Republican Dave Camp, who has been winning big margins in this district since 1990, is retiring.  Conservative state senator John Moolenaar of Midland and self-funding businessman Paul Mitchell are running.  Mitchell attacked Moolenaar (somewhat dishonestly) from the right, and spent his way to an early lead.  But Moolenaar has the support of the Midland establishment (including Camp and AG Bill Schuette), national conservatives such as Mike Lee and Rick Santorum, and Michigan Right to Life and NRA.  Recent polls have shown the race a tie.  Tea Party candidate Peter Konetchy, a businessman from Roscommon who ran for Senate in 2012, had announced a primary challenge to Camp, but has not attracted much support.

MI-6 (R) (Safe Upton) Moderate Republican Fred Upton is being challenged by libertarian Jim Bussler, who has not attracted much support.

MI-8 (R) (Lean Bishop) Republican Mike Rogers, who has won big margins since 2000, announced his retirement late in the cycle.  Former state senator Mike Bishop of NE Oakland is running. Tea Party favorite state rep. Tom McMillin announced that he will run for this seat rather than state senate.  Both are from Rochester Hills.
(D) (Likely Schertzing)  Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing is the preferred democrat candidate.  State demographer Ken Darga, CMU Professor Susan Grettenberger, and Jeffrey Hank are also running.

MI-11 (R)  (Lean Trott) Tea Party Republican Kerry Bentivolio became an “accidental congressman” in 2012 after incumbent Thad McCotter was disqualified in a petition fraud scandal. A coalition of establishment Republicans endorsed a write-in campaign by former state senator Nancy Cassis, but Bentivolio won 65-35.  He defeated democrat Canton Township Trustee Taj Syed 50.8-44.4.  Since then, Bentivolio has mostly kept his head down and voted a conservative line.  He is being challenged in the primary by foreclosure lawyer David Trott, who has the support of the Oakland County establishment.  Bentivolio has run a weak campaign and seems likely to lose.
(D) (Lean McKenzie) Democrats Bobby McKenzie, Nancy SkinnerAnil Kumar, and LaRouchie Bill Roberts are running.

MI-12 (D)  (Safe Dingell) Democrat John Dingell, in Congress for over 58 years since Eisenhower’s first term, is finally retiring.  Dingell’s wife Debbie Dingell is running to succeed him.  Attorney Ray Mullins is also running.

MI-13 (D) (Lean Conyers) This district has been represented by democrat John Conyers since 1964. Conyers’ image has been tarnished since his wife Monica, formerly Detroit city council president, pled guilty to bribery and served time in federal prison.  Conyers won the 2012 primary 55% to 18% for Glenn Anderson, 13% for Shanelle Jackson, and 10% for Bert Johnson.  Conyers was nearly disqualified due to having signature gatherers who were not registered to vote, but a judge ordered him back on the ballot.  He is being challenged this year by Pastor Horace Sheffield, who has his own ethical problems.

MI-14 (D)  (Lean Clarke) This district had an interesting primary in 2012.  Congressman Gary Peters, first elected in 2008, ran here after his old 9th district was split into four pieces.  Peters did very well in endorsements and fundraising, and he won this majority black district 47-35-13 over fellow Congressman Hansen Clarke and Southfield mayor Brenda Lawrence.  Peters is now running for Senate, so the district is open.  Lawrence, state rep. Rudy Hobbs, Clarke, and Burgess Foster are running.  Hobbs has led in fundraising and endorsements but struggled to turn this into votes.  Clarke has a base of support in Detroit.

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2014 Michigan State House Races

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

All 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives will be up for election in November. Republicans currently hold a 59-51 majority, following a 63-47 majority after 2010. There are 40 open seats, 21 held by Republicans and 19 held by democrats.  There are 30 open due to term-limits and 10 just seeking another office.

Republicans gained one new seat (73) and one existing seat (39) due to redistricting, but also lost one existing seat (55) in 2012.  They also lost five incumbents (52, 71, 84, 91, 110), not counting party-switcher Roy Schmidt (76).  They could have won several more seats with a more effective redistricting plan.

Democrats want to take back the state house, but face a difficult playing field.  Of the Republican-held open seats, only 56 and possibly 65 are competitive.  They will try to defeat some Republican incumbents, but it is not clear how they will beat incumbents this year that they couldn’t defeat in 2012.

Meanwhile, Republicans will seek to gain seats.  The best opportunity is the open 84, which was lost due to scandal in 2012.  There are two lean dem open seats (21, 62) that may be competitive.  Republicans will also try to defeat several incumbents who picked up seats in 2012 (25, 71, 91).

There are a number of interesting primaries in August.  A bunch of Republican incumbents are being challenged due to their support of Medicaid expansion, Common Core, and the Detroit Bailout.  Most will win easily, but there is the potential for a few to be surprised (39, 79, 107).  The open seats feature more competitive primaries, many of which also feature establishment versus Tea Party battles.  Establishment candidates are receiving support from the Chamber of Commerce and Great Lakes Education Project.  More conservative candidates are receiving support from Americans for Prosperity and Madison Project Michigan.

State house fundraising is analyzed in the following article.

Michigan State House Fundraising

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Michigan State House Fundraising

July 25 was the deadline for campaign finance reports for Michigan legislature. Here are summaries of the total amounts raised in competitive Republican primaries and general elections for Michigan state house. Ratings are included. Based on fundraising, 52 and 110 move to safe D, and 91 moves to tossup.

1. (D) Banks 26K Thompson 55K (12K self)
19. (R) (Likely Cox) Cox 62K Crider 21K (20K self)
21. (Lean D) (R) Fausonne 58K (D) Mathis ? Mosher 63K Pagan 88K (23K self)
23. (Lean R) (R) Somerville 118K (D) Haener 5K Linko 36K Ptaszynski $100
25. (Lean D) (R) Hawatmeh 47K (D) Yanez 96K
30. (Lean R) (R) Farrington 82K (D) Bogdan waiver Karpinsky 28K

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Michigan State Senate Fundraising

The deadline for pre-primary campaign finance reports for the Michigan state legislature was July 25. The following details the amount raised in competitive primary elections, and cash on hand (COH) in competitive general elections for state senate. Ratings for the races are included. Districts 29 and 38 move to safe R based on fundraising.

2. (D) Safe Johnson
Bert Johnson: 60K
John Olumba: waiver
Georgia Lemmons: waiver

4. (D) Lean Smith
Virgil Smith: 164K
Rashida Tlaib: 230K

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Madison Project Michigan Endorsements (Round 2)

The Madison Project Michigan has issued its second and final list of endorsements for the August 2014 primary election.  The first list is here.  We encourage conservatives across Michigan to vote for these candidates and to donate to the Madison Project Michigan.

House District 38 Dan Lauffer, Republican – Walled Lake      

Dan Lauffer is a retired pastor and college professor.  He is running on opposition to Medicaid expansion and tax increases.  He faces a competitive primary against Kathy Crawford in a safely Republican district.

House District 56 Jason Sheppard, Republican – Lambertville      

Jason Sheppard is a Monroe County commissioner and business owner.  He is running on a solidly conservative platform.  He is solely endorsed by Michigan Right to Life.  He faces a contested primary in this highly competitive district.

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Madison Project Michigan Endorsements (Round 1)

The Madison Project Michigan has just issued its first round of endorsements.

Our values are Pro-Life, Pro-Family, Limited Government, Defenders of Religious Freedom. We only endorse candidates who clearly demonstrate their conservatism. We evaluate every House and Senate race in Michigan, and our endorsements are only extended to key competitive races which have a strong conservative candidate with the ability to win.

The Madison Project Michigan PAC raises money for conservative candidates through our network of grassroots conservatives. We provide our members with campaign profiles of selected candidates, and contributions to the PAC are used to support those candidates.

Please DONATE to the Madison Project Michigan PAC to help us elect solid conservatives in Michigan.

ENDORSED CANDIDATES (more endorsements will follow soon):

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Michigan Right to Life Endorsements

Michigan Right to Life has just issued its endorsements for the 2014 primary.  RTL swings a significant number of Michigan primary voters, so its endorsements will decide some races.

RTL will recommend all candidates if they are all pro-life, but if there is a serious non-pro-life candidate, they will pick one pro-life candidate to endorse.  Their noteworthy endorsements are listed below.

Congress:
3. RTL endorsed Brian Ellis over Justin Amash.  They did not endorse Amash in 2012.  They apparently are still ticked over Amash not voting to defund Planned Parenthood (he opposed targeting a specific organization).  This may complicate Amash’s reelection.
4. John Moolenaar.  Does this mean that self-funding businessman Paul Mitchell is not pro-life?  Tea partier Peter Konetchy is also running.
6. Fred Upton is again endorsed, despite his long pro-abortion record.
8. Both Mike Bishop and Tom McMillin
11. Kerry Bentivolio over Dave Trott

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2014 Michigan State Senate Elections

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

All 38 seats in the Michigan Senate are up for election in 2014. Republicans currently have a 26-12 supermajority, and have controlled the senate since 1983.

Republican control of the state senate has prevented democrats from complete control of Michigan’s government, and stopped a lot of bad things from being passed. More recently, the Republican supermajority has prevented some of Governor Snyder’s more liberal plans from being implemented.

Fortunately for Republicans, the Michigan state senate is up only in midterms, which favor Republicans much more than presidential years. 2010 was very good to the Michigan GOP. Republicans picked up four state senate seats (and one earlier in a 2009 special election).

Republicans had complete control of redistricting this cycle. They crafted a very effective map. One democrat district was eliminated in Wayne County and replaced by a Republican one in west Michigan. Four other dem districts were made more dem. Most of the potentially vulnerable Republican seats were made more Republican, though a couple got slightly worse due to the need to avoid splitting counties. The new map is actually cleaner than the old one, excluding the Detroit districts, which are ugly for VRA reasons.

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

There are ten open seats. Seven senators, four republicans and three democrats, are term-limited. Two republicans are just retiring, and one is running for Congress. Three Republican-held open seats (17, 20, 32) are tossups, and one other (13) could be competitive. Democrats have only one top challenger to a Republican incumbent (7), though another (34) could be competitive. Notably, dems failed to recruit credible candidates in several districts that were hotly contested in 2010 (29, 31, 38).

All but one of the current state senators are former state representatives. This pattern held in the past, and most credible candidates this time are current or former state reps.

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2014 Michigan Congressional Races

2014 Michigan Congressional Races

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

Michigan will see several interesting congressional races in 2014, with four open seats and several competitive primary challenges.  Michigan now 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)

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