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.

I have included election data for the 2010 result in the corresponding (old) senate district, and 2008 McCain number and 2006 average (Governor, AG, SOS) for the new districts pulled from Dave’s Redistricting App. My analyses of how much redistricting changed the districts comes from comparing the old and new districts using these elections. More data is available from Republican Michigander’s district profiles.

Republican Michigander district profiles (see sidebar)

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 decade is 46.2% in (old) district 31.

Here is a breakdown of the individual races.

1. [Detroit riverfront, Downriver] Safe democrat.
Democrat: Coleman Young (incumbent)
Republican: Barry Berk
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit. Young is the son of the infamous late Mayor of Detroit.

2. [NE Detroit, Grosse Pointes] Safe democrat.
Democrat: Bert Johnson (incumbent),Taras Nykoriak, Georgia Lemmons, John Olumba
Republican: Mark Price
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit. Johnson is a convicted felon since he robbed a country club at age 19. He was previously running for Congress in the 14th district, but dropped out. Lamar Lemmons is a former state rep. Olumba was elected state rep as a democrat, but left the party due to disputes with leadership.

3. [West-central Detroit, Dearborn, Melvindale] Safe democrat.
Democrat: Morris Hood (incumbent)
Republican: Matthew Keller
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit.

4. [Central Detroit, Lincoln Park, Southgate, Allen Park] Safe democrat.
Democrat: Virgil Smith (incumbent), Rashida Tlaib, Howard Worthy
Republican: Keith Franklin
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit. Rep. Rashida Tlaib is challenging Smith in the primary.

5. [W Detroit, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, Inkster, Redford] Safe democrat.
Incumbent: Tupak Hunter (term limited)
Democrat: David Nathan, David Knezek, Shanelle Jackson, Carrie O’Connor, Thomas Stallworth, Frank Tomcsik
Republican: Jennifer Rynicki
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit. Nathan, Knezek, and Stallworthare current state reps, and Jackson is a former state rep.

6. [SW Wayne, Westland, Taylor] Safe democrat.
Old SS 2010: 37-55, McCain: 33.8, 2006 R Avg: 44 Romney: 34.8
Democrat: Hoon-Yung Hopgood (incumbent)
Republican: Darrell McNeill
Analysis: This district also contains the base of term-limited state senator Glenn Andersen, who mounted a credible primary challenge to Congressman John Conyers in 2012.

7. [Livonia, Canton, Plymouth, Northville, Wayne city] Lean Republican.
Old SS 2010: 52-41-5, McCain: 46.6, 2006 R Avg: 59.2 Romney: 49.6
Republican: Patrick Colbeck (incumbent), Matthew Edwards
Democrat: Dian Slavens
Analysis: This Republican district was improved by dropping the southern tier and adding Livonia. It moved 2.9/3.6% to the right. Colbeck was a Tea Party candidate who was elected in 2010. He is the only current state senator who was not previously a state rep. Colbeck was a leader advocating for Right to Work and opposing Medicaid expansion.He could potentially be a target of the unions. Slavens is a term-limited state rep from Canton.

8. [N/E Macomb] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 66-34, McCain: 49.3, 2006 R Avg: 57.9 Romney: 53.5
Republican: Jack Brandenburg(incumbent)
Democrat: Christine Bell
Analysis: Brandenburg, one of the more conservative Republicans in the senate, is safe in this conservative district.

9. [Warren, Roseville, Eastpointe, Fraser, S Clinton] Safe democrat.
Old SS 2010: 43-54, McCain: 36.9, 2006 R Avg: 45.9 Romney: 36.3
Democrat: Steven Bieda (incumbent)
Republican: Hawke Fracessa
Analysis: This union-heavy southern Macomb district added Roseville and south Clinton and dropped St. Clair Shores, moving 2.8/2.1% left.

10. [Sterling Heights, Macomb, N Clinton]Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 54-46, McCain: 47, 2006 R Avg: 56.2 Romney: 50.7
Republican: Tory Rocca (incumbent), Jake Null
Democrat: Kenneth Jenkins
Analysis: Rocca is a fairly moderate senator representing central Macomb. He was one of four Republicans to vote against Right to Work, and also supported Medicaid expansion. This district was improved by 4.2/4.1% in redistricting after Rocca picked up the previously dem district in 2010.

11. [Farmington, Southfield, Oak Park, Madison Heights] Safe democrat.
Old SS 2010: 33-67, McCain: 25.5, 2006 R Avg: 36.5 Romney: 25.8
Democrat: Vincent Gregory(incumbent), Vicki Barnett, Ellen Cogen Lipton
Republican: Boris Tuman
Analysis: 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.

12. [NE Oakland, Pontiac, Bloomfield Twp.] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 61-39, McCain: 45.7, 2006 R Avg: 58.7 Romney: 49.9
Republican: Jim Marleau (incumbent), Bob Gray
Democrat: Paul Secrest, Kenneth VanNorwick
Analysis: This district dropped Rochester Hills and added Bloomfield. Marleau has been an advocate for implementing Obamacare, supporting health exchanges and Medicaid expansion.

13. [Troy, Rochester, Royal Oak, Birmingham] Lean Republican.
Old SS 2010: 59-41, McCain: 45.8, 2006 R Avg: 59.5 Romney: 50
Incumbent: John Pappageorge (term-limited)
Democrat: Ryan Fishman, Cyndi Peltonen
Republican: Chuck Moss, Marty Knollenberg, Rocky Raczkowski, Al Gui, Ethan Baker
Analysis: Pappageorge barely held this district when it was open in 2006, 49-48.4, but easily won in 2010. It dropped Madison Heights, and moved 1/1.1% to the right. State rep. Tom McMillin of dropped out to run for Congress. Three former state reps are running. 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 sonof 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. Fishman is a 25-year-old lawyer who claims to be a former Republican.

14. [SW Genesee, NW Oakland, Waterford] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 55-40, McCain: 47.6, 2006 R Avg: 58.5 Romney: 51.4
Republican: David Robertson (incumbent)
Democrat: Tim Terpening, Bobbie Walton
Analysis: Robertson,a strong conservative, picked up the previously dem district in 2010. It dropped dem areas of Genesee, including Burton and Mt. Morris, moving 5.2/5.9% to the right.

15. [SW Oakland] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 62-38, McCain: 47.6, 2006 R Avg: 59.8 Romney: 52.6
Republican: Mike Kowall (incumbent), Matt Maddock, Ron Molnar
Democrat: Tom Crawford, Michael Smith
Analysis: Kowall briefly announced a challenge to Congressman Thad McCotter in 2012 before dropping out. McCotter was replaced by Kerry Bentivolio after his implosion. Kowall’s supported Medicaid expansion.

16. [Jackson, Hillsdale, Branch] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 64-36, McCain: 49.9, 2006 R Avg: 61.4 Romney: 55
Incumbent: Bruce Caswell (retiring)
Republican: Mike Shirkey
Democrat: Kevin Commet
Analysis:The district lost Lenawee and St. Joseph, and added Jackson County. Caswell is retiring. State rep Mike Shirkey, a leading advocate of Right to Work (but also supporter of Medicaid expansion), seems to be the consensus candidate.

17. [Monroe, Lenawee] Tossup.
Old SS 2010: 59-38, McCain: 46.8, 2006 R Avg: 54.4 Romney: 49.4
Incumbent: Randy Richardville (term-limited)
Democrat: Doug Spade
Republican: Dale Zorn
Analysis: Richardville, the senate majority leader, is termed out. He won 53-47 in 2006 and 59-38 in 2010. This district is fairly union-friendly, with the state rep seats it contains repeatedly flipping between parties. The district added Lenawee and dropped portions of Washtenaw and Jackson, moving 1.2/1% to the right. Spade was a state rep from Lenawee 1998-2004. Zorn has represented all of Monroe some times in 2010-2014.

18. [Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti] Safe democrat.
Old SS 2010: 34-66, McCain: 24.6, 2006 R Avg: 35.9 Romney: 26.7
Democrat: Rebekah Warren (incumbent)
Republican: Terry Linden
Analysis: Ann Arbor loves electing left-wing feminist state senators, including Warren, Liz Brater, Alma Wheeler Smith, and Lana Pollack.

19. [Calhoun, Barry, Ionia] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 64-36, McCain: 48.6, 2006 R Avg: 57.5 Romney: 52.7
Republican: Mike Nofs (incumbent)
Democrat: Greg Grieves
Analysis: Nofs picked up this seat previously held by Mark Schauer 61-34 in a 2009 special election. It moves right 3/1% by dropping Jackson and adding Barry and Ionia. Nofs is the most moderate Republican in the state senate, and was one of the four Republican votes against Right to Work.

20. [Kalamazoo County] Tossup.
Old SS 2010: 58-42, McCain: 39.4, 2006 R Avg: 51.1 Romney: 42.9
Incumbent: Tonya Schuitmaker (running in district 26)
Republican: Margaret O’Brien, Ron Zuiderveen
Democrat: Sean McCann
Libertarian: Lorence Wenke
Analysis: Tonya won 58-42% in 2010 over Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell. (The result was 53-48 in 2006.) Hopewell was a last-minute replacement for State rep. Robert Jones, who died shortly before the election. Tonya is from Van Buren county. Due to increases in population, Kalamazoo County became large enough to be its own senate seat, and the portion of Van Buren was lost. This moved the district to the left by 0.3/0.2%. Tonya will run in the new 26th district. Kalamazoo County is a battleground, with democrats usually winning the top of the ticket, and Republicans doing better at the bottom. O’Brien is a state rep from Portage (2010-2014). Lorence Wenke (Comstock, 2004-2010) is a free-spending but unpopular former state rep. McCann is a state rep (2010-2014 from Kalamazoo.

21. [Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 67-33, McCain: 47.4, 2006 R Avg: 57.4 Romney: 54.1
Republican: John Proos (incumbent)
Democrat: Bette Pierman
Analysis: This district swaps Van Buren for St. Joseph, but remains safe for former Fred Upton staffer Proos.

22. [Livingston, W Washtenaw] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 67-30, McCain: 52, 2006 R Avg: 63.5 Romney: 56.7
Republican: Joe Hune (incumbent)
Democrat: Shari Pollesch
Analysis: This is the third most Republican state senate district. Hune has been rated the most conservative member of the state senate.

23. [Ingham] Safe democrat.
Old SS 2010: 36-64, McCain: 31.4, 2006 R Avg: 44.8 Romney: 34.2
Incumbent: Gretchen Whitmer (term-limited)
Democrat: Curtis Hertel Jr., Harold Leeman, Larry Hutchinson
Republican: Craig Whitehead
Analysis: Whitmer is the senate democrat leader. She is one of the few bright spots on the Michigan dems weak bench. She has ruled out a race for governor, but not for some other office. Hertel, the Ingham Register of Deeds, is the favorite here.

24. [Eaton, Clinton, Shiawassee, NE Ingham] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 66-34, McCain: 46.3, 2006 R Avg: 56.2 Romney: 49.6
Republican: Rick Jones (incumbent)
Democrat: Dawn Levey
Analysis: This district drops Allegan and Barry and adds Clinton, Shiawassee, and NE Ingham, moving 4.2/4.1% left. It is safe for Jones, but could be competitive if open.

25. [St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 67-33, McCain: 49.1, 2006 R Avg: 60.4 Romney: 55
Republican: Phil Pavlov (incumbent)
Democrat: Terry Brown
Analysis: This district traded Lapeer for Sanilac, Huron, and a small part of Macomb. Brown is a state rep (2006-2010, 2012-2014), but only represents 13% of the district.

26. [Van Buren, Allegan, Kentwood] Safe Republican.
(New district) McCain: 50.6, 2006 R Avg: 62.6 Romney: 54.8
Republican: Tonya Schuitmaker (incumbent)
Democrat: Jim Walters
Analysis: This new district replaces one eliminated from Wayne County. It contains Tonya’s home and all of her old state house district, but only about 10% of her current state senate district. Tonya is usually conservative and resides in Van Buren.

27. [Flint, central Genesee] Safe democrat.
Old SS 2010: 31-66, McCain: 23.6, 2006 R Avg: 31.6 Romney: 24.8
Democrat: Jim Ananich (incumbent)
Republican: Brendt Gerics
Analysis: The old district was vacated by John Gleason, who was elected Genesee County Clerk in 2012. In the special democrat primary, Jim Ananich beat Woodrow Stanley, and won the general election 75-23. The new district moves 6.1/6.4% left, consolidating the most democrat parts of Genesee in one district.

28. [N Kent, Walker] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 72-25, McCain: 55.5, 2006 R Avg: 67.6 Romney: 60.5
Incumbent: Mark Jansen(term-limited)
Democrat: Deb Havens
Republican: Peter MacGregor, Kevin Green
Analysis: This suburban Grand Rapids district is the second most Republican in Michigan. MacGregor is a state rep (2010-2014) from North Kent. Green was a state rep (2004-2010) from Wyoming.

29. [Grand Rapids, SE Kent] Likely Republican.
Old SS 2010: 51.8-46.5, McCain: 42.1, 2006 R Avg: 57.2 Romney: 46.3
Republican: Dave Hildenbrand (incumbent)
Democrat: Penny Lance, Michael Scruggs
Analysis: Hildenbrand narrowly defeated Dave LaGrand in 2010 in the closest state senate race that year. The district drops Kentwood and adds several very conservative southwestern townships. It moved right 2.8/2.3%. Still, Grand Rapids has moved left over the past decade. Both democrats have lost previous races.

30. [Ottawa County] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 76-21, McCain: 61.2, 2006 R Avg: 73.7 Romney: 66.8
Republican: Arlan Meekhof (incumbent)
Democrat: Sarah Howard
Analysis: Ottawa County is consistently the most Republican in Michigan. Meekhof is the favorite to be Senate majority leader next term.

31. [Bay, Tuscola, Lapeer] Likely Republican.
Old SS 2010: 59-41, McCain: 46.2, 2006 R Avg: 54.3 Romney: 51.4
Republican: Mike Green (incumbent), Kevin Daley, Jeffery Phillips
Democrat: Ron Mindykowski
Analysis: Green beat Jeff Mayes in 2010, picking up the seat formerly held by democrat Jim Barcia. The new district drops Huron, Sanilac and Arenac, and adds Lapeer. It is unchanged by 2008 Pres and moves 0.3% left by 2006 avg, though Lapeer is less prone to large swings than the Thumb counties. 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. [Saginaw, W Genesee] Tossup.
Old SS 2010: 57-43, McCain: 42.4, 2006 R Avg: 50.7 Romney: 45.5
Incumbent: Roger Khan (term-limited)
Democrat: Stacy Erwin Oakes, Garnet Lewis
Republican: Ken Horn
Analysis: Khan won a nail-biter 49-48.5 in 2006, and was re-elected more easily in 2010. This district drops Gratiot and adds Western Genesee, moving to the right 0.9/0.4%. Horn is a moderate who opposed Right to Work in this union-friendly district. Oakes, a black state rep (2010-2014) from Saginaw, will battle Lewis, a white progressive lesbian for the democrat nomination.

33. [Montcalm, Isabella, Gratiot, Mecosta, Clare] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 65-32, McCain: 46, 2006 R Avg: 56.4 Romney: 50.9
Republican: Judy Emmons (incumbent)
Democrat: Fred Sprague
Analysis: Emmons was appointed as Republican nominee in 2010 to replace Brian Calley, who was selected to be Rick Snyder’s running mate for Lieutenant Governor after winning the primary.

34. [Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana] Lean Republican.
Old SS 2010: 58-39, McCain: 39.1, 2006 R Avg: 51.4 Romney: 45.5
Republican: Geoff Hansen (incumbent), Nick Sundquist
Democrat: Cathy Forbes
Analysis: Hansen won a blow-out over Valentine in 2010 in a district that usually has competitive elections. The district drops Mason for population reasons, moving 0.9/0.7% left. Hansen supported Medicaid expansion. Forbes is a Oceana County Road Commissioner.

35. [NC Lower Peninsula] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 63-34, McCain: 39, 2006 R Avg: 58.5 Romney: 53.9
Republican: Darwin Booher (incumbent)
Democrat: Glenn Lottie
Analysis: Booher was easily elected in 2010.

36. [NE Lower Peninsula, Midland] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 64-36, McCain: 49.9, 2006 R Avg: 57.4 Romney: 55.4
Incumbent: John Moolenaar (running for Congress)
Republican: Jim Stamas
Democrat: Joe Lucasiewicz
Analysis: Moolenaar, who defeated Andy Neumann in 2010, is running for Congress. Midland punches above its weight politically, always having a state senator and congressman despite only having 42,000 residents. Stamas is a state rep (2008-2014) from Midland.

37. [NW Lower Peninsula, E Upper Peninsula] Safe Republican.
Old SS 2010: 65-35, McCain: 51, 2006 R Avg: 60.3 Romney: 56.2
Incumbent: Howard Walker (retiring)
Republican: Greg McMaster, Wayne Schmidt
Democrat: Phil Bellfy, Jimmy Schmidt
Analysis: Walker unexpectedly retired, opening up this district.Two Republican state reps elected in 2010, conservative McMaster (2010-2014) and moderate Schmidt (2010-2014, Grand Traverse) are running.

38. [Upper Peninsula excluding Mackinac, Chippewa, Luce] Likely Republican.
Old SS 2010: 56-44, McCain: 45.3, 2006 R Avg: 47.2 Romney 50.3
Republican: Tom Casperson (incumbent)
Democrat: Chris Lamarche, Christopher Germain
Analysis: Casperson beat Michael Lahti in 2010 to become the first Republican to win the UP state senate district in decades. The district drops Luce, moving it 0.2/0.1% left. The UP swings substantially depending on the year and the candidate. Casperson has voted a fairly moderate line in the state senate, in contrast to his conservative record in the state house.He opposed Right to Work, likely for political reasons, and switched his vote to support Medicaid expansion.

Summary of Ratings:
Safe democrat: 11
Toss-up: 3
Lean Republican: 3
Likely Republican: 3
Safe Republican: 18

You Betcha! (4)Nuh Uh.(0)

  3 comments for “2014 Michigan State Senate Elections

  1. Jason
    May 16, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Great reference material! Thanks CF!

    You Betcha! (0)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Richard Carlson
      May 16, 2014 at 11:24 pm

      Appreciate the good analysis on this...hat tip

      You Betcha! (0)Nuh Uh.(0)
  2. Corinthian Scales
    May 19, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Ah yes, Jim Stamas.

    There is nothing like the thought of being able to vote for Midland's DOW-GOP Democrat-lite... and not doing so.

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

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