Multiple news outlets have reported that the Michigan Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision upheld the democratic party “independent/grassroots” Voters Not Politicians petition initiative to create a non-partisan commission to redraw every voting district in Michigan.
In writing for the majority Justices Viviano, McCormack, Bernstein & Clement said;
“Here, that approach leads us to conclude that a voter-initiated amendment under Const 1963, art 12, § 2 is permissible if it does not significantly alter or abolish the form or structure of our government, making it tantamount to creating a new constitution.”
Yeah that’s sounds great on paper, but exactly how did they intend on accomplishing this nigh impossible feat?
All 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives will be up for election in November. Republicans won a 63-47 majority in 2016, the same margin as in 2014. There are 42 open seats, 25 held by Republicans and 17 held by democrats. There are 23 open due to term-limits, 18 just due to seeking another office, and 1 pure retirement.
The last two cycles have seen contests between moderate and conservative factions in the house GOP, won by the conservatives narrowly in 2014 and more decisively in 2016. This time, the house GOP candidate recruitment is solidly in the hands of conservatives, and conservative Lee Chatfield is the presumptive next house GOP leader. There are still likely to be some ideological battles, particularly in districts vacated by moderate incumbents.
The following lists district number, current incumbent, geographic description, 2012, 2014, and 2016 state house results, 2012 Romney %, 2016 Trump % (if known), and political rating. Candidates who filed a reporting waiver, indicating that they will not raise more than $1000 (and hence are not serious) are typically omitted. The complete candidate list is available here:
July 27 was the deadline for campaign finance reports for Michigan legislature. Here are summaries of the total amount raised in competitive Michigan state house districts. Totals include in-kind contributions, and for Republicans, late contributions. Candidates who filed reporting waivers are generally omitted.
It was previously demonstrated how the John James for Senate campaign had been taking his competitor Sandy Pensler out of content for the purposes of releasing misleading attacks about him. While that was bad enough, James has resorted to outright lying in the final days of the campaign as he tries to win in what looks to be a close race.
This meme was posted on John James’ campaign page a day following Pensler’s announcement that he received an endorsement from tea party favorite Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has one of the top conservative voting records in the Senate according to many popular conservative watchdog organizations.
“I’m pleased to endorse Sandy Pensler for U.S. Senate in Michigan. The Senate needs more outsiders who have created jobs and who won’t be part of the Washington, D.C. swamp. Sandy supports term limits, smaller government, lower taxes, and a constitutional conservative foreign policy, and he will stand up and fight in Washington,” Paul said.
Pensler’s understanding of market economics also prompted him to release a plan to end the deficit by making specific cuts to foreign aid, the department of education, domestic welfare, healthcare expenditures, and subsidies toward NATO. Will Pensler be able to implement this plan as soon as he is elected? Of course not, but he will be able to coherently articulate a solid fiscally conservative plan that can put America once again on solid ground.
Pensler’s issues page offers a great deal of substance. He wants to defund planned parenthood, supports judges “who interpret the law as written,” and supports free market solutions on healthcare. Some of his policy positions are more detailed than others. His healthcare page for instance is particularly substantative covering issues like price transparency, malpractice reform, competitive pricing for prescription drugs, health savings plans, living wills, and so on. He shows an incredible depth of knowledge on the pressing issues facing Americans, something that is very rare in a politician.
That’s right. Healthcare isn’t even listed as an issue of concern on his page! Not even a basic, rudimentary policy position is listed. On the issues James does cover, he remains deliberately vague as much as possible. James thinks we should do a “better job preparing our service members for life outside of the military.” That is certainly a nice platitude, and it’s hard to disagree with that, but how precisely are you going to make that happen?
James says he “will work to eliminate poverty, not just make it more comfortable.” No further explanation is given. James believes that “hard working and honest Michiganders of all generations are owed a return on their lifelong investment into the System.” That sounds like it was written by a public relations consultant contracted by the MEDC, rather than an authentic sentiment. James claims he “will approve justices who will interpret the constitution as written” so he has the exact same position as Pensler in that regard.
The fact that James had to resort to outright lies in the end game of the campaign suggests that voters may be seeing that one candidate offers actual substance while the other offers nothing but fluff. Pensler’s candid comments on Trump, portrayed by the James campaign as Pensler slamming Trump, were actually complementary in their full context. Pensler’s comments about supporting a “living constitution” were in reference to the Convention of States, a project pushed by constitutional conservatives to amend the Constitution in an attempt to reign in the federal government. These misleading attacks missed the mark, so James had to push deliberate falsehoods in the final stretch. If James’ campaign is this dishonest, how can you trust the candidate when he talks to you on the campaign trail?
James is certainly offering his brand ‘Hope and Change’ to the voters without much in terms of specifics. I remember in the not too distant past when voters elected a similar candidate who promised the world without demonstrating any qualifications, competency or a real record. America really regretted that decision, and we should not duplicate that mistake here in Michigan. Pensler’s record is far from spotless, having ran as a moderate Republican back in the 1990s before ‘evolving’ and becoming more conservative over the years. But at least he has a record, other than bumper sticker slogans and corny taglines about being a fighter pilot.
We can be better than the Democrats, can’t we? Support the qualified candidate a week from today, not the empty suit.
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.
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.
1. [Detroit riverfront, Downriver] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 28-72 McCain: 22.0 Romney: 21.5 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Coleman Young (D term-limited)
This is one of five black-majority districts based in Detroit. Young, who lost badly in his bid for Detroit Mayor, is now running for Congress. State reps Stephanie Chang (14-P), Bettie Cook Scott (06-10, 16-18), and Alberta Tinsley-Talabi (10-16) are running for the D nomination, along with James Cole, Nicholas Rivera, and Stephanie Roehm. Chang is a progressive favorite, but is opposed by Detroit Mayor Duggan and could struggle is a heavily black district. Pauline Monte is the R candidate.
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)
One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit. Johnson pled guilty to theft (hiring a fake employee to pay a debt). There will be a special election at the same time as the general election. Incredibly, eleven Ds are running. Leading the pack is eight-time felon and disgraced former rep Brian Banks (12-17), who resigned in a plea bargain. Former rep George Cushingberry Jr. (74-82, 04-10) is running after losing his seat on the Detroit city council due to scandal. Former rep John Olumba (10-14) is running as a D after becoming an independent in 2013. Former state rep Lamar Lemmons (99-06) is running. Adam Hollier, Johnson’s former chief of staff, has received many endorsements as a (presumably) saner alternative to the other candidates. Hamtramck city commissioner Abraham Aiyash has fundraised well in the Muslim community. Tommy Campbell, Lawrence Gannon, Anam Miah, William Phillips, and Regina Williams are also running. Rs John Hauler and Lisa Papas are running.
July 27 was the deadline for campaign finance reports for Michigan legislature. Here are summaries of the total amount raised in Michigan state senate districts. Totals include in-kind and late contributions.
WASHINGTON — President Donald J. Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC) have announced the transfer of $8 million to the NRSC and the NRCC in support of their midterm election efforts. The Trump Campaign will max out to nearly 100 candidates in its first round of contributions. The RNC will transfer $4 million to the NRSC and $4 million to the NRCC.
Truth be told, I am still not a fan of my own state’s Republican political apparatus as they attempt to manipulate primary elections. Just take a look at who gets the stage when the president or Vice President comes to town. But I am happy to contribute through my local dues and contributions to my local party, and sometimes nationally.
The RNC has not always been great in its finances historically, but has gotten a few of my shekels as contribution from time to time. And the most recent iteration of it under chair McDaniel has been as an excellent