Primary Election Review & Analysis

Commentary on some of the more notable races throughout Michigan's Republican primary.

Conservative First posted results of races from around the state yesterday.

As a candidate I needed time to decompress.  I lost my contest by 89 votes, and as much as I campaigned, I was outworked.  I saw CF’s report and felt there is some more fleshing out that needs to be done.

Prop 1 (tax changes) wins easily 69-31.

This is not surprising as several million was spent to make sure it passed.  Of course THAT begs the question WHY would several million be spent to promote something that had as it’s main promise, an act already done by the legislature?  I guess since we passed it, now we find out what is in it.

1. Benishek wins 70-30.  Alan Arcand needs to fire his pollster.

We all know the polls were push polls, or better yet campaign ads used for shock and awe.
Don’t think 30 percent is a bad number against an incumbent congress critter BTW.  We will see Alan again.


3. Amash wins 57-43.  Probably not enough to scare away future primary challengers.

One thing he did correctly was snuff the ‘unity’ crap.  There is no unity in the MiGOP.  There will be none until Republicans start acting like Republicans.  I think 57-43 is enough however.  No one will challenge Amash without a damn good reason in the future.

4. Moolenaar wins 52-36-11.  Never underestimate the Midland establishment.  I rated this a tossup when Mitchell led by 23.

The TPX had its desired effect.  They needed a champ, and Moolenaar team needed a little boost to break John Moolenaar out.  We rooted for Konetchy here, but expected the Stabenow donations to sink Mitchell (As they SHOULD), and put Moolenaar up by a couple.  The win was significant, and John Moolenaar will be the next CD4 representative easily.

They could do worse.

6. Bussler gets 29% against Upton, confirming my suspicion that about 30% is the anti-Upton baseline in the GOP primary.

Lets suppose that is the case.  That is a powerful voting block.  Not just anti Upton, but GOP willing to vote conscience and not blind.  Consider that there are many more who simply refuse to participate.  Activate THOSE, and we have a new party.Lets continue.

8. Bishop wins 60-40. No shock.  Schertzing survives a scare 43-38 in the dem primary.

I haven’t followed the Dem side, but had hoped for Tom to do better.  Money wins this one.  Bishop is not the worst to work with, but its a shame Tom McMillin is to be sidelined for a short time.

11. David Trott wins 66-34 after Bentivolio ran a terrible campaign.  McKenzie barely wins dem primary 34-32.  Safe R.

THIS is too bad.

Truth about Kerry campaign.  Reality is that Kerry B is/was a lousy campaigner.  He also had people who used to represent him as opposition informants.  Money and power buys much, and Trott with much of the former, now has both.

If Trott wins, expect no conservatism he pretended in the campaign. (Downstate GOP folks sure are are gullible)

Michigan State Senate:   …
15 (R) Mike Kowall holds off Matt Maddock by a relatively narrow 50-43.

Maddock would have been a better choice for reasons we have mentioned before.

34 (R) Hansen beats Sundquist 62-38.

Nick did well at 38% against an incumbent. Watch for him in future races.

37 (R) Schmidt beats MacMaster 55-45.  Boo.  MacMaster only won Cheboygan County.

endure-or-suffer-4-8Straight up slime fest.

Schmidt had been telling folks he was going to use 11th hour crap splatter methods to take out MacMaster in the event polling showed him weak. It might be one the few times that he has told the truth.

Add to this the political patronage that relies on Schmidt to do their bidding, and we may have seen a Three quarter million dollar race. Top 40 donors all below the Clare Michigan line totaling tens of thousands alone. Several hundred thousand spent on advocacy on both sides, with all slime negatives coming from Schmidt supporters and Schmidt himself.

It should be noted that MacMaster had more local donations in qty than Schmidt. Who won here? Northern Michigan voters or Lansing/Detroit interests? And there is one other dynamic that needs to be mentioned.

Voting crossover.

One of the problems with using certain ‘walking lists’ in Grand Traverse County is that the when folks want to win elections, they run as Republicans. This draws progressive liberals and democrats into the Republican primaries a little too often. A walk list that shows R voters by primary voting alone will find republican politicians knocking on Democrat household doors quite often.

This is the symptom of unvetted candidates (like Schmidt) being allowed by voters to advance in the primary process. It is the reason that local parties must grow and be more effective at recruiting candidates that support the platform in words AND deed.

Grand Traverse County Republicans enjoy an 8-10 percent advantage over Democrats, but has a city base that is now well tipped into the Dem side. When Democrats have little to consider on THEIR side of the ballot, the particularly engaged ones will find the most liberal candidates on our side to advance.

In the 104th race, (which we will talk about shortly) a relative unknown Penny Larcom challenged a strong emerging Democrat voice Betsy Coffia. The 37th Senate race was the only other contested race with two unknowns in GT county, thus no reason for GT county Dems to engage in their own contest. There were no other contests whatsoever in the Democrat primary here.

In Grand Traverse County, Only 20% of voters cast ballots on the Democrat side of the ballot for the 37th senate district, vs. 70.5% of the ballots cast for the 37th that were Republican ballots. (9.5% electorally said “A pox on both your houses!”)

Certainly we could discount those Democrats who felt no need to vote at all, and that will account for SOME of the distortion, but I must refer back to the door knocking and the Democrats I encountered as proof of a regular crossover.  “No thanks, I am a Democrat” was heard more than once from someone listed as a REGULAR GOP primary voter while door knocking for my own campaign.

Schmidt’s method of winning has fractured the local Republican party more than many here understand. There are long time GOP party members that want nothing to do with a man they cannot in good conscience, sanction.  Stay tuned for developments on this.

Michigan State House:  ..

36 (R) Lucido beats Grot 51-49.  UAW wins.

Gosh, I wish we would have been a little more forceful in our ‘suggestions.’ Grot would have been a decent guy to see in Lansing.

39 (R) Kesto holds off O’Hagan 55-39.

Surprised? Not really. There is a lot of money in ‘bought and paid for’ incumbency.

42 (R) Lana Theis beats Rich Perlberg 50-26.  Good.

No kidding. Perlberg is someone we have mentioned here before. This is a good sign for constitutional conservative republicanism.

44 (R) Runestad wins 36-33.  Good.

Again we agree.

46 (R) Jacobsen holds off Mark Reilly 56-44.
47 (R) Vaupel beats Day 42-37.

These two bum me out a little. A little more for Wendy who is an OUTSTANDING patriot, mom, and conservative activist. She has built friendships inside and outside the establishment, and has promoted tea values consistently. Its possible the GLEP endorsement hurt her.

56 (R) Sheppard beats Kubiske 67-33.  Good.

AFP got behind Sheppard as well. There are some who see him as a Richardville agent.

61 (R) Iden beats Stinchcomb 55-45.


76 (R) DeJonge beats Allard 44-37.

I hear the twilight zone sound.

79 (R) Pscholka holds off Duran 66-34.

I had really hoped for Cindy to win this. Its tough to beat an incumbent, and particularly one who has loads of political patronage working for him.

80 (R) Cindy Gamrat wins 42-29-25 with most in.  Good.
82 (R) Todd Courser beats Jan Peabody 37-33.

These two races make an otherwise rough night much better.

Cindy Gamrat is a rockstar in her own right. She has had more political impact in Michigan than anyone would expect, but its never been about HER until this race. Her efforts to ensure we have REAL constitutional conservative candidates in the last few elections has engaged activists who might have otherwise given up.

Great job Cindy!

Todd Courser has not let naysayers break his stride. It was everything the party could do to keep him from taking the reigns of the MiGOP, and in that case it was only by a few votes. This win and a (likely) win in November will lend some much needed credibility to Courser, who has faced criticism for losing political contests.

He is respected among tea party types throughout the state, and adheres to platform Republicanism. We congratulate him heartily!

86 (R) Lyons holds off Rigas 71-29.

Damn. Thats all I have to say.


90 (R) Garcia beats Haveman 50-30.

Wow. Something happened here. and it wasn’t our recommendation for Kroll.

98 (R) Gary Glenn beats Karl Ieuter 51-49.

Ha! HA!

Gary’s in da house! A mere formality in November separates this patriot of patriots from assuming a seat in Lansing.

This is good for Michigan.

endure-or-suffer-2-6104 (R) Larry Inman wins with 21%.

21%. If it were a 2 way race it might have hit 30%.

It should be noted that the Democrat Coffia received 700 more votes that Inman in a contest that was reduced from the crossover effect noted earlier. An inman Coffia contest might freak out Lansing as local conservatives have indicated they would rather endure years of a Dan Scripps clone than suffer six with a Wayne Schmidt clone.

105 (R) Triston Cole romps 63-29.  Good.

Triston appeals to all camps. He is conservative and respected for his natural political talent. He is a hard worker, and will be a good representative.

107 (R) Lee Chatfield beats incumbent Frank Foster 54-46.  Big win for conservatives.

This is pure Tea Party GOLD.

Amway financed GLEP (that IS what drives the Devos/McNeilly $$ right?) tried to keep their cabana boy Frank around to promote diverse lifestyle programming through common core in our schools. The Detroit Chamber tried to keep a bought and paid for Foster by encouraging Democrats to vote in the republican primary. Foster tried to win by lying about Chatfield, and about his conservative credentials.

Expect Frank Foster to attempt a ‘Hail Mary’ change to the Elliot Larsen civil rights act as a lame duck.

Congratulations to Lee Chatfield who ran a great campaign, and stands for the traditional conservative values we have missed in Northern Michigan’s 107th District.

Wayne County Executive:
Warren Evans wins with 46%. William Wild second with 24%. Incumbent Robert Ficano finished fifth with only 6%.

Buh-bye Bobby.

You Betcha! (14)Nuh Uh.(0)

  8 comments for “Primary Election Review & Analysis

  1. Conservative First
    August 8, 2014 at 1:06 am

    I think Moolenaar and Bishop will be decent representatives. Not perfect, but probably better than those they replaced. Trott ran as a conservative; let's see how he acts in office.

    You Betcha! (3)Nuh Uh.(3)
  2. Tom Backers
    August 8, 2014 at 9:08 am

    The primary being the most important half of any cycle, the wins are great. The losses incurred however, might still be 'adjusted' in the general election. The vile treatment of some candidates in the primary, and outright lies about their records by others, need to be addressed in emphatic fashion. I've already had strong feedback from conservatives who say they will vote Dem or abstain to protest a few particular outcomes. One of those being myself.

    As a test of wills and strength, an organized resistance to these particular races in the general might prove to be very interesting, and if successful, send a real and strong message to the RINOs and monied patrons controlling the Michigan GOP.

    Stay tuned...

    You Betcha! (4)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Mark
      August 8, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      All due respect, but if these people are telling you they'll vote democrap, its hard to believe they're conservative, even the kind like Mike Kowall, or Dan Benicheck who always tells us they're conservative.

      You Betcha! (0)Nuh Uh.(0)
      • Jason
        August 9, 2014 at 7:57 am

        Mark, its the last resort.

        When voting for the more conservative, consider that it could be the Democrat. OR at the very least we endure 2 to avoid suffering 6. There are people I or others cannot give sanction to.

        What are we to do?

        You Betcha! (1)Nuh Uh.(0)
  3. Danno
    August 8, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    What is this? No mention of Aaron Miller's win?

    He ran against 3 other candidates for the state house seat and won. He is a homeschooled Conservative and will be a welcome change to Matt Lori who was term limited out.

    You Betcha! (3)Nuh Uh.(0)
  4. Republican Michigander
    August 9, 2014 at 10:33 am

    The results of the 42nd were ideology based. The results of the 47th Primary was geographicly based.

    Lana won because of Right to Life's endorsement (they didn't mention Nick who got a raw deal), Perlberg's work at the newspaper/candidate forum answers, and Lana's campaign outworking everybody. The results should not have been a surprise to anyone in Livingston County although I thought Nick would have had better numbers.

    The 47th district was the Joe Hune/Cindy Denby effect. The west side of Livingston County almost always votes as a bloc and votes heavily for their own. Wendy Day won everywhere east of Howell (52% in tea party heavy Tyrone Township was her best area). Hank Vaupel won everyone west of Howell outside of parts of Marion Township which was about 50/50 (Wendy's home - she won her precinct and one next to her home) and parts of the City of Howell (Phil Campbell's home). Vaupel got 72% in his home of Handy Twp, 64% in Conway Twp, and 61% in Iosco Township.

    You Betcha! (1)Nuh Uh.(0)

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