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.
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-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 Skinner, Anil 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.
2014 Michigan State Senate Elections
All 38 Michigan state senate seats are up for election. Ten seats are open, and several others have competitive primary challenges.
2. (D) (Safe Johnson) Bert Johnson is safe against dem-turned-independent John Olumba and several others.
4. (D) (Lean Smith) Virgil Smith is being challenged by Rep. Rashida Tlaib in the primary. Smith has advantages in incumbency, geography, and race, but Tlaib has better fundraising.
5. (D) (Lean Knezek) State reps. David Nathan, David Knezek, Thomas Stallworth, and former rep. Shanelle Jackson are competing here. Knezek, the only white rep, seems to have the edge based on fundraising. Jackson is pro-life.
11. (D) (Lean Gregory) Vincent Gregory is a black democrat representing the dem areas of southern Oakland. He had announced a run for Congress in the 14th district, but dropped out to seek reelection. Two term-limited state reps, Vicki Barnett and Ellen Cogen Lipton, had announced for the open seat; both are staying in the race.
13. (R) (Tossup) Three former state reps are running for the seat of John Pappageorge. Chuck Moss (Bloomfield Hills, 2006-2012) is an establishment favorite, but represents are fairly small part of the district. Marty Knollenberg (Troy, 2006-2012), the son of former Congressman Joe Knollenberg, lost races for Oakland Treasurer (2012) and Troy Mayor (2013). Rocky Raczkowski represented a completely different district (Farmington, 1996-2002) before moving to Troy. He lost races for US Senate (2002) and Congress (2010), but has the support of Pappageorge.
(D) (Likely Fishman) Ryan Fishman, a 25-year-old lawyer who claims to be a former Republican, has strong fundraising and is favored over Cyndi Peltonen.
15. (R) (Likely Kowall) Mike Kowall is being challenged by Tea Party candidate Matt Maddock.
28. (R) (Likely MacGregor) Mark Jansen is term-limited here. Peter MacGregor is a state rep (2010-2014) from North Kent. Kevin Green was a state rep (2004-2010) from Wyoming.
31. (R) (Lean Green) Mike Green is the strongest gun rights advocate in the state senate. He voted against Right to Work, likely for political reasons in this union-friendly district. He will face a primary against conservative state rep. Kevin Daley.
32. (D) (Lean Oakes) Stacy Erwin Oakes, a black state rep (2010-2014) from Saginaw, will battle Garnet Lewis, a white progressive lesbian for the democrat nomination.
37. (R) (Lean MacMaster) Howard Walker unexpectedly retired, opening up this district. Two Republican state reps elected in 2010, conservative Greg MacMaster (2010-2014) and moderate Wayne Schmidt (2008-2014, Grand Traverse) are running. Schmidt has huge fundraising, but MacMaster has more endorsements and grassroots support.
2014 Michigan State House Races
There are 40 open seats in the Michigan state house due to term limits. There are also many primary challenges by Tea Party candidates against incumbent Republicans and democrat primaries against incumbents in Detroit. There are way to many to list here; see the post for a complete rundown.
Proposal 1 (Tossup) This proposal, which was put on the ballot by the legislature, would repeal the “Personal Property Tax”, which is a tax on business equipment. It would be replaced by other taxes. The proposal has institutional support across the political spectrum, but voter confusion could lead to its defeat.
Wayne County Executive (D) (Tossup) Wayne CE Robert Ficano has been plagued by scandals and is highly unpopular. He faces eleven (!) challengers. Former Sheriff Warren Evans has the support of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. Westland Mayor William Wild has the support of the business community. The other credible candidates are state rep. Phil Cavanaugh and Wayne County Commissioner Kevin McNamara, son of the infamous Ed McNamara.