Friday, August 05, 2016

Lessons from the 2016 Primary Elections

What can we learn from the 2016 primary elections?  This article explains what the winning candidates had in common.  I wrote a similar article in 2014.

They don't call it the establishment for nothing  Establishment candidates won many races.  They have the inside track on fundraising, endorsements, and organization.  Notably, several winning conservatives, including Beth Griffin, Tommy Brann, Shane Hernandez, Ben Frederick, and Scott VanSingel had substantial establishment support.

Be the establishment  One answer to this is to become the establishment.  Shane Hernandez is a former county party chairman.  It takes time to build political connections, but it pays off eventually.

Experience counts  Elected experience is valuable for winning candidates.  Bob Howey, Steve Marino, Julie Alexander, Beth Griffin, Ben Frederick, Roger Hauck, and Curt VanderWall have all been elected to local office.

Incumbency Matters  All incumbents won renomination.  Beating an incumbent in a primary is very hard.  The only times a conservative challenger beat a Republican incumbent in recent years are Tim Walberg in 2006 and Lee Chatfield in 2014.  Certainly many incumbents deserve primary challenges, but conservatives have limited resources.  Winning an open seat is much easier than beating an incumbent.  Politicians can still be held to account when they run for other offices.  Tom Casperson, Jason Allen, Tony Forlini, and (to a lesser extent) Phil Pavlov had bad voting records that contributed to losing their congressional bids.

There are still some benefits to primary challenges, though, as they may encourage the incumbent to vote better for awhile and may help the challenger to win an open seat later.  John Reilly lost a primary challenge in 2014, but won an open seat this time.

Don't Ignore Life  Every candidate who won a Republican primary was endorsed by Michigan Right to Life (either solely or jointly).

Don't split the vote  Conservatives did much better this year than in 2014.  Only in district 30 did a more conservative candidate likely lose due to vote splitting.  Conservatives may have benefited from splits in the establishment in districts 20 and 72.

Money is essential  Money does not guarantee victory, but it is essential to get your message out.  This is particularly true in local elections, which are often decided by name recognition.  Look at how much winning conservative candidates raised.
Bob Howey 57K
Steve Marino 69K
John Reilly 46K
Julie Alexander 86K
Beth Griffin 81K
Tommy Brann 77K
Shane Hernandez 35K
Ben Frederick 101K
Scott VanSingel 49K

The candidate who raised the most money won in 19 of 26 primaries in open Republican seats (three others were very close seconds).  I have written before that the minimum amount needed to be a credible candidate is $30,000.  This year, there were three open Republican seats where no Republican raised that much (79, 99, 108), though all those winners were over $20,000.  Only two winners raised less than $20,000.  Jeff Noble raised 16K, had Tea Party support and the endorsement of Pat Colbeck, and pulled the upset in district 20.

Exceptions are exceptional  There is one huge exception to the above points.  Steven Johnson, an unemployed 25-year-old military veteran and Christian constitutional conservative won district 72 with 30% in a five candidate field.  He raised only 6K (most from him and his parents) yet beat two well-funded candidates and two elected officials.  This mirrors Aaron Miller's similarly unlikely win in 2014.  So it is possible for a candidate who works hard to catch on with voters without the usual advantages.  But it definitely isn't the way to bet, and it shouldn't be an excuse to ignore the usual path to victory.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

2016 August Primary Election Results

1 (R) Bergman 39 Casperson 32 Allen 28
Great win for a good conservative over two moderate legislators.  Allen won only Grand Traverse and Leelanau.  Casperson won at least 52% in every county in his district, and at most 35% in all counties outside it.  Bergman was first or second in every county.
(D) Johnson 72 Cannon 28
This will be an interesting race in the fall.
10 (R) Mitchell 38, Pavlov 28, Sanborn 16, Forlini 10, VanAssche 8
Mitchell's anti-tax advocacy was money well spent.  Pavlov only won Huron and St. Clair.
13 (D) Conyers 60 Winfrey 40
Conyers will only leave on a stretcher.

State Senate
4 (D) Conyers 37 Durhal 27 Score one for name recognition.

Michigan State House:
1 (D) Banks 45 Sossi 35  Banks will only leave in handcuffs.
20 Noble 40 Roosen 38  Tea Party wins with Colbeck endorsement.
23 Howey wins 77-14
24 Marino wins 80-17
30 Farrington 40 Shallal 39 (54 votes)
32 Hornberger 40 Schmina 33
33 Yaroch 37 Carl 28
46 Reilly beats Kent 31 votes.  Big win for Tea Party, barring recount.
57 Kahle 63 Cottrell 29
64 Alexander 42 Tripp 30
66 Griffin 61 Nilson 31  Griffin is Tea Party with establishment support.
70 Lower 45 Van Kleeck 20
72 Johnson 30 Noto 23
77 Brann 90 Murin 10
79 LaSata 54 Arnt 30  At least Pscholka's guy didn't win.
83 Hernandez 47 Muxlow 31  Big win for Tea Party candidate with good fundraising and endorsements.
85 Frederick 66 Aue 23  Good candidate.
86 Albert 31 Johnson 29 Henry 23
89 Lilly 60 Stille 32
97 Wentworth 42 Link 24
99 Hauck 65 Stressman 35
100 VanSingel 76 Wilterink 16
101 VanderWall 58 Walter 28
102 Hoitenga 34 Langworthy 28  Langworthy has been 2nd three times (04, 10, 16).
103 Rendon 81 Kumar 19  Good since Kumar faces sex crime charges.
104 Inman 60 Gillman 40  Closest R primary challenge.
106 (R) Allor 37 Krawczak 35 
(D) Kennedy 51 Kieliszewski 49  Preferred D candidate loses.
107 Chatfield 73 Twardy 27
108 (R) LaFave 44 Arcand 32
(D) Celello 58 Dziedzic 42  The top D recruit wins an unimpressive victory.

All incumbents won.  The establishment and top fundraisers won most races.  The Tea Party candidates with the best fundraising and endorsements (Noble, Reilly, Hernandez) won.

Kalamazoo County:
Prosecutor (D) Getting 66 Payne 34  Payne won the Northside.
Sheriff (R) Heppler 68 Munn 32 (D) Fuller 76 Swafford 24
Treasurer (D) Sahu 51 Jackson 49

County Commission:
4 (D) Seals 66 Thompson 34
6 (R) Kendall 39 Carahaly 35 Brooks 26  Kendall worked hard here.
9 (R) Shugars 76 Kovacik 24

Alamo Supervisor: Hyet 69 Conti 31
Comstock Supervisor:
(R) Bloomfield 64 White 36
(D) Thompson 64 Cherry 36
Comstock trustees: (R) Amos, Beister, Austin, McIver win
Cooper Supervisor: Sorenson 69 Rakow 31
Kalamazoo Township Clerk: Miller 43 Goodacre 33 Thall 24  Incumbent last.
Oshtemo Treasurer: Culp 61 Taylor 39  Haha!
No word on R write-ins yet.
Pavilion Supervisor: White 79 Randles 21
Richland Supervisor: Harma 46 Chalker 40 Byrne 15
Schoolcraft Supervisor: Ulsh 58 McMillan 29 Allen 13
Texas Supervisor: Hinkle 57 VanderRoest 43
Texas Treasurer: Cutting 50 Roberts 50 (Tie! Recount!)
Texas trustees: Mazer, Brown, Boven, Loeks win.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Primary Recommendations

There are a bunch of contested primary elections on Tuesday.  It can be hard to find good information about these races.  What follows is this blog's judgement about who is the best conservative for each position.  Recommendations are in bold.

District 1:  State senator Tom Casperson and former senator Jason Allen are attacking each other for voting to raise taxes, and both are correct.  General Jack Bergman is a solid conservative in the race, with a particularly good position on immigration.

District 10:  This one is tougher.  Businessman David VanAssche supports amnesty. State rep Anthony Forlini voted for Proposal 1, Medicaid expansion, and against Right to Work. Former state senator Alan Sanborn voted conservative in the legislature, but has raised almost nothing in this race. Senator Phil Pavlov voted right on Medicaid expansion, Proposal 1, and the Amazon tax, but wrong on the Hollywood subsidies. He also avoided discussion of Common Core for years before finally coming out against it. Businessman Paul Mitchell hasn't held office and his positions aren't clear on everything, but he earned a lot of goodwill for funding the opposition to Proposal 1.

Michigan State House:
20. Pastor Jeff Noble is endorsed by Pat Colbeck.
23. Trenton Councilman Bob Howey is endorsed by Right to Life and is running the strongest campaign is this vulnerable seat.
24. Macomb County Commissioner Steve Marino is endorsed by Right to Life and is running the most credible campaign.
30. no clear choice
32. no clear choice
33. Colleen Carl, daughter of the late senator Doug Carl, comes from a conservative family.
46. Businessman John Reilly nearly beat Bradford Jacobsen two years ago, and is back this year.  He is endorsed by Tom McMillin.
57. Bronna Kahle is endorsed by Michigan Right to Life and is running the most credible campaign in this vulnerable district.
64. County commissioner Julie Alexander seems to be a decent conservative.
66. County commissioner Beth Griffin, a Tea Party member, is endorsed by Michigan Right to Life.
70. James Lower is endorsed by the NRA.
72. no clear choice
77. Restaurant owner Tommy Brann is fairly conservative.
79. no clear choice
80. Conservative activist Abigail Nobel is challenging incumbent Mary Whiteford.
83. Conservative activist Shane Hernandez, an active Tea Party and GOP leader, is running.
85. Owosso Mayor Ben Frederick seems to be a good conservative.
86. Lawyer Katherine Henry is endorsed by Justin Amash and Pat Colbeck.
89. no clear choice
97. no clear choice
99. Township Trustee Roger Hauck is endorsed by the NRA.
100. Accountant/businessman Scott VanSingel is endorsed by Gary Glenn and John Bumstead.
101. County commissioner Curt VanderWall is endorsed by the NRA and is running the most credible campaign in this vulnerable district.
102. no clear choice
103. Daire Rendon is a clear choice over Vijay Kumar, who has been charged with sex crimes.
104. Former county commissioner and owner Jason Gillman was endorsed by the NRA over moderate incumbent Larry Inman.
106. no clear choice
107. State rep. Lee Chatfield has made a couple bad votes since ousting moderate Frank Foster.  But he is still more conservative than Kathy Twardy, who is backed by supporters of Foster.
108. Veteran Alan Arcand is solidly conservative, but may have trouble in this vulnerable district.

Input from conservatives across Michigan is welcome.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Beth Griffin for State Representative

Michigan's 66th state house district, which covers Van Buren County and Alamo, Cooper, and Parchment in Kalamazoo County, is open due to term limits.  There are three Republican candidates.  The best choice for conservatives is Beth Griffin.

Griffin is a Van Buren County Commissioner who was first elected in 2012.  She is a longtime member of the VanKal Tea Party.  She is solely endorsed by Michigan Right to Life, and has an Aq rating from the NRA.

Her main opponent, Matthew Nilson is not endorsed by Michigan Right to Life and has a C- rating from the NRA.

Beth Griffin is the best choice for conservatives.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

2016 Michigan State House Races

Last updated July 29, 2016.

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

All 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives will be up for election in November. Republicans won a 63-47 majority in 2014, up from 59-41 after 2012. There are 42 open seats, 27 held by Republicans and 15 held by democrats. There are 41 open due to term-limits and 1 (Gretchen Driskell) just seeking another office.

Republicans picked up four seats (62, 71, 84, 91) in 2014.

Democrats are hoping to take back the state house. They will benefit from higher turnout in a presidential year and possibly coattails from the presidential race. They will try to take advantage of Republican support for a tax increase for roads and Governor Snyder's handling of the Flint water crisis, though state house candidates had nothing to do with the latter. There are also many Republican seats first won in 2010 that are now term-limited. Republicans may benefit from the recent elimination of straight ticket voting.

There are a number of interesting primaries in August. 2014 saw a number of primaries between establishment and Tea Party/antiestablishment conservatives. While the establishment won the majority of them, the antiestablishment won enough that the relatively conservative faction of the state house won the leadership races. The state house has served as a check on some of the Governor's less conservative plans.

This year, there are contests between relatively conservative candidates backed by the state house establishment, more moderate establishment candidates, and some antiestablishment conservatives supported by various Tea Parties and the Michigan Prosperity Project. Most primary battles are in open seats, but there are a few primary challenges to incumbents worth watching.

State house fundraising is analyzed in this article.

2016 Unofficial Michigan Primary Candidate Listing

The following lists district number, current incumbent, geographic description, 2012 and 2014 state house results, 2012 Romney %, and political rating. I did not use 'likely' in the general election ratings. Candidates are labeled as establishment (E), conservative (C), Tea Party (T), and antiestablishment conservative (AC), when these labels clearly apply. Candidates solely endorsed by Michigan Right to Life (RTL) are also noted.

1. (Brian Banks) [Detroit] 29-71, 31-69, 23.5%, Safe D
(D) Brian Banks won the 2012 primary before his long criminal record and ethical issues were exposed. He won a 2014 primary against divided opposition. This year, he again faces divided opposition and also new felony charges.
2. (OPEN-Alberta Tinsley Talibi) [Detroit] 26-72, 33-67, 23.8%, Safe D
3. (Wendell Byrd) [Detroit] 3-96, 3-97, 1.6%, Safe D
4. (Rose Robinson) [Detroit] 5-95, 5-95, 3.4%, Safe D
5. (Fred Durhal III) [Detroit] 6-94, 5-95, 2.7%, Safe D
6. (Stephanie Chang) [Detroit] 5-92, 6-94, 5.3%, Safe D
7. (LaTanya Garrett) [Detroit] 2-98, 2-98, 0.9%, Safe D
8. (Sherry Gay-Dagnogo) [Detroit] 3-97, 3-97, 2%, Safe D
9. (OPEN-Harvey Santana) [Detroit] 5-95, 4-96, 3.3%, Safe D
10. (Leslie Love) [Detroit] 14-86, 18-82, 16.4%, Safe D
11. (OPEN-Julie Plawecki) [Inkster, Garden City] 28-72, 30-70, 29.3%, Safe D
(D) This seat is open after Julie Plawecki's sudden death. There will be a special primary August 30. Party insiders picked Inkster Councilman Jewell Jones for the full term.
12. (Erika Geiss) [Taylor, Romulus] 25-75, 30-70, 29.5%, Safe D
13. (Frank Liberati) [Southgate, Allen Park, Dearborn Heights] 35-65, 39-61, 40.3%, Safe D
14. (OPEN-Paul Clemente) [Riverview, Wyandotte, Lincoln Park, Melvindale] 26-71, 30-70, 34.9%, Safe D
15. (OPEN-George Darany) [Dearborn] 25-75, 32-68, 33.5%, Safe D
16. (Robert Kosowski) [Westland, Wayne] 28-68, 32-68, 33.3%, Safe D
17. (Bill Lavoy) [N Monroe, Sumpter, Huron] 39-61, 40-60, 45.3%, Safe D
18. (OPEN-Sarah Roberts) [St. Clair Shores, Eastpointe] 34-64, 38-62, 40.7%, Safe D
19. (Laura Cox) [Livonia] 60-40, 62-38, 52%, Safe R
20. (OPEN-Kurt Heise) [Plymouth, Northville] 56-44, 60-40, 51.8%, Lean R
(R) (Lean Nielson) Attorney Jeffrey Neilson, pastor Jeff Noble (AC), and Northville Township Trustee Chris Roosen are running.
21. (Kristy Pagan) [Canton, Van Buren] 38-62, 45-55, 43.3%, Safe D
22. (John Chirkun) [Roseville, E Warren] 30-70, 32-64, 36.2%, Safe D
23. (OPEN-Pat Somerville) [SE Wayne] 50.5-49.5, 52.1-47.9, 47.5%, Tossup
Pat Somerville won three close victories in this seat, which is the top D target.
(R) (Likely Howey) Trenton Councilman Bob Howey (E/RTL) faces Michael Frazier and Mike Taylor.
(D) Township Clerk Sherry Berecz, Parks commissioner Darin Calmilleri, Trenton councilmember Steve Rzeppa, and Elayne Petrucci are running.
24. (OPEN-Anthony Forlini) [Harrison, N Clinton, SW Macomb] 54.7-45.3, 59-39, Lean R
(R) (Likely Marino) Macomb County Commissioner Steve Marino (E/RTL), Arzo Smith, and Darrel Smith are running.
25. (Henry Yanez) [E Sterling Heights, NC Warren] 48.6-51.4, 46.5-53.5, 47.8%, Safe D
26. (OPEN-Jim Townsend) [Royal Oak, Madison Heights] 36-60, 39-61, 40.3%, Safe D
27. (Robert Whittenberg) [Oak Park, Ferndale, Hazel Park] 20-76, 24-76, 24.8%, Safe D
28. (OPEN-Derek Miller) [W Warren, Center Line] 21-79, 36-64, 35.8%, Safe D
29. (Tim Greimel) [Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Orchard Lake] 23-77, 26-74, 23.9%, Safe D
30. (OPEN-Jeff Farrington) [W Sterling Heights, Utica, SE Shelby] 53.3-46.7, 55-45, 51.5%, Lean R
(R) (Likely Farrington) Diana Farrington (E), wife of the incumbent, faces Joseph Bogdan, Jackie Ryan, and Michael Shallal.
31. (OPEN-Marilyn Lane) [S Clinton, Fraser, Mt. Clemens] 34-62, 39-61, 41.8%, Safe D
32. (OPEN-Andrea LaFontaine) [Chesterfield, C St. Clair] 59-41, 62-38, 53.9%, Safe R
(R) (Lean Hornberger) School board treasurer Pamela Hornberger (E), Michael Schmina, and Justin Tranchita are running.
33. (OPEN-Ken Goike) [NE Macomb, Macomb Twp.] 62-38, 66-34, 56.2%, Safe R
(R) (Tossup) city councilman Jeff Yaroch, Mel Koch, Colleen Carl (C) daughter of late state senator Douglas Carl (1986-1997), Julianne Cusumano, Chales Karafa, and Steven Stoll are running.
34. (Sheldon Neeley) [Flint] 13-87, 9-91, 8.3%, Safe D
35. (Jeremy Moss) [Southfield] 17-83, 17-83, 17.6%, Safe D
36. (Peter Lucido) [Shelby, Washington, Bruce] 64-36, 70-30, 61%, Safe R
37. (Kristine Greig) [Farmington] 38-62, 43-57, 40.3%, Safe D
38. (Kathy Crawford) [Novi, Lyon] 59-41, 63-37, 53.6%, Safe R
39. (Klint Kesto) [W West Bloomfield, Commerce, Wixom] 53.3-46.7, 52.3-47.7, 51.5%, Lean R
40. (Michael McCready) [Bloomfield, Birmingham, E West Bloomfield] 57-41, 58-42, 52.8%, Safe R
41. (Martin Howrylak) [Troy, Clawson] 50.5-49.5, 56-44, 51.6%, Lean R
42. (Lana Theis) [SE Livingston] 63-33, 65-35, 60.2%, Safe R
43. (Jim Tedder) [Waterford, Independence] 66-34, 58-42, 54.8%, Safe R
44. (Jim Runestad) [Springfield, White Lake, Highland, Milford] 63-33, 68-32, 59.1%, Safe R
45. (Michael Webber) [Rochester, S Oakland Twp] 56-44, 56-44, 55.9%, Safe R
46. (OPEN-Bradford Jacobsen) [NE Oakland] 64-36, 69-31, 60.1%, Safe R
(R) (Tossup) Bradford Jacobsen narrowly beat back a primary challenge 54-46 from John Reilly in 2014. This time, Reilly (AC) faces Joe Kent (E).
47. (Henry Vaupel) [N Livingston] 64-32, 69-27, 62.5%, Safe R
48. (Pam Faris) [NE Genesee] 36-64, 38-62, 39.8%, Safe D
49. (Phil Phelps) [Flint Twp., Mt. Morris, SW Flint] 25-75, 26-74, 28.8%, Safe D
50. (OPEN-Charles Smiley) [Burton, Grand Blanc, Mundy] 39-61, 41-59, 42.7%, Safe D
51. (Joe Graves) [W Genesee, Fenton, NW Oakland] 54.3-45.7, 58-42, 53.1%, Safe R
52. (OPEN-Gretchen Driskell) [W Washtenaw] 47-53, 44-56, 47.5%, Safe D
This seat is open since Driskell, who beat an incumbent R in 2012, is running for Congress.
(D) Road commissioner Barb Fuller and school board treasurer Donna Lasinski are running.
53. (OPEN-Jeff Irwin) [Ann Arbor] 19-81, 18-82, 19.5%, Safe D
54. (OPEN-David Rutledge) [Ypsilanti] 23-77, 25-75, 23.8%, Safe D
55. (Adam Zemke) [Pittsfield, NE Ann Arbor, York, Augusta] 32-65, 32-68, 31.6%, Safe D
56. (Jason Sheppard) [S Monroe] 58-42, 50.3-47.1, 50.6%, Lean R
Jason Sheppard narrowly beat Tom Redmond in 2014 and faces a rematch in 2016.
57. (OPEN-Nancy Jenkins) [Lenawee] 52.5-47.5, 59-41, 49.9%, Tossup
(R) Senior center director Bronna Khale (E/RTL), Jim Cottrell, and Brian Good are running.
58. (Eric Leutheuser) [Branch, Hillsdale] 70-30, 71-29, 60.1%, Safe R
59. (Aaron Miller) [St. Joseph, E Cass] 62-38, 62-38, 54.7%, Safe R
60. (Jon Hoadley) [Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Twp.] 26-74, 30-70, 26.8%, Safe D
61. (Brandt Iden) [Portage, Oshtemo, Texas, Schoolcraft, Prairie Ronde] 58-42, 48.4-42.7, 49.1%, Lean R
Iden, who hurt himself by lying about a DUI in 2014, faces a rematch with liberal pastor John Fisher.
62. (John Bizon) [Battle Creek, Albion, N Calhoun] 42-58, 51.2-48.8, 43.8%, Tossup
Dr. Bizon faces Calhoun County Commissioner Jim Haadsma in this dem-leaning district.
63. (David Maturen) [E Kalamazoo, S Calhoun] 50.9-49.1, 56-44, 54.6%, Safe R
64. (OPEN-Earl Poleski) [Jackson city, W Jackson] 56-44, 61-39, 51.2%, Lean R
(R) (Lean Alexander) Jackson County Commissioner Julie Alexander, John Griffin, brother of the last D to hold this seat, and car dealer Phil Tripp are running.
65. (Brett Roberts) [N Jackson, SE Eaton] 57-43, 57-40, 53.4%, Safe R
66. (OPEN-Aric Nesbitt) [Van Buren, Cooper, Alamo, Parchment] 59-41, 57-43, 49.7%, Lean R
(R) (Likely Griffin) Van Buren County Commissioner Beth Griffin (E/T/RTL) faces Greg Kolich and veteran Matthew Nilson.
67. (Tom Cochran) [S Ingham] 44-56, 46-54, 44.8%, Safe D
68. (Andy Schor) [Lansing] 23-77, 23-77, 24.6%, Safe D
69. (Sam Singh) [East Lansing, Meridian] 35-65, 32-68, 35.9%, Safe D
70. (OPEN-Rick Outman) [Montcalm, N Gratiot] 54.5-45.5, 62-38, 52.6%, Safe R
(R) (Lean Lower) Former county commissioner James Lower (E), Alexander Gregory, Charles Mulholland, Jeremy Putansu, Dale Reyburn, and Michael Van Kleeck are running.
71. (Tom Barrett) [Eaton] 46.6-53.4, 50.4-49.6, 47.3%, Tossup
Tom Barrett beat dem state rep. Theresa Abed in 2014. She is back for a rematch in 2016.
72. (OPEN-Ken Yonker) [Kentwood, Gaines, NE Allegan] 59-38, 68-32, 56.3%, Safe R
(R) (Tossup) Teacher Ryan Gallogly, restaurateur Tony Noto, Bill Hirsch, Steven Johnson, and Robert Coughlin are running.
73. (Chris Afendoulis) [Grand Rapids Twp, Plainfield, NE Kent] 64-32, 68-32, 60.9%, Safe R
74. (Rob Verhuelen) [Grandville, Walker, Alpine, NW Kent] 66-34, 69-31, 60.4%, Safe R
75. (Dave LaGrand) [central Grand Rapids] 24-76, 26-74, 23.8%, Safe D
76. (Winnie Brinks) [peripheral Grand Rapids] 39-52, 45.6-52.1, 44.2%, Safe D
77. (OPEN-Thomas Hooker) [Wyoming, Byron] 60-36, 67-33, 58.3%, Safe R
(R) (Safe Brann) Restaurant owner Tommy Brann (E/C) faces Frank Murin.
78. (Dave Pagel) [S Berrien, SW Cass] 61-39, 67-33, 56.1%, Safe R
79. (OPEN-Al Pscholka) [N Berrien] 52.8-45.7, 59-39, 51.5%, Lean R (R) (Tossup) Realtor Ryan Arnt, teacher Kim LaSata, wife of former rep (1998-2004) Charles LaSata, Mary Brown, and Troy Rolling are running.
80. (Mary Whiteford) [Allegan] 62-38, 63-34, 57.6%, Safe R
(R) (Likely Whiteford) Mary Whiteford won a special election in March 2016 to replace expelled rep. Cindy Gamrat. She faces a primary against Abigail Nobel (C/T) this time.
81. (Dan Lauwers) [NW, E St. Clair] 53.8-46.2, 65-35, 55%, Safe R
82. (Gary Howell) [Lapeer] 59-41, 55-45, 55.1%, Safe R
83. (OPEN-Paul Muxlow) [Sanilac, Port Huron] 56-44, 62-38, 52.5%, Lean R
(R) (Tossup) Sanilac County Commissioner Justin Faber, conservative activist Shane Hernandez (C/T), and Matt Muxlow (son of the incumbent) are running.
84. (Edward Canfield) [Tuscola, Huron] 38-53, 59-41, 53-43, 55.6%, Safe R
85. (OPEN-Ben Glardon) [Shiawassee, W Saginaw] 54-40, 53-43, 48.9%, Lean R
(R) (Likely Frederick) Owosso Mayor Ben Frederick (C/E) faces Shiawassee County Commissioner Hartmann Aue. Robert Cotrell, and George Sode are also running.
86. (OPEN-Lisa Posthumus Lyons) [SE Kent, N Ionia] 70-30, 66-34, 63%, Safe R
(R) (Tossup) Marine Thomas Albert, attorney Katherine Henry (C), Jeffrey Johnson, and Bartholomew Lower are running.
87. (OPEN-Mike Callton) [Barry, S Ionia] 62-35, 67-33, 58.7%, Safe R
(R) Ionia County Commissioner Julie Calley, wife of LG Brian Calley, is unopposed in the primary.
88. (Roger Victory) [NE Ottawa] 87-0, 80-20, 72.9%, Safe R
89. (OPEN-Amanda Price) [W Ottawa] 66-34, 68-32, 61.6%, Safe R
(R) (Likely Lilly) Banker Jim Lilly (E/RTL) is the favorite over blogger Brandon Hall (AC), and Tracy Stille-Mulligan.
90. (Daniela Garcia) [Holland] 100-0, 78-22, 66.5%, Safe R
91. (Holly Hughes) [S, W Muskegon] 47.3-48.1, 46.5-46.3, 48.5%, Tossup
Holly Hughes defeated dem state rep. Colleen LaMonte in 2014, who defeated her in 2012. LaMonte is back for a rematch in 2016.
92. (OPEN-Marcia Hovey Wright) [Muskegon city] 27-73, 33-67, 31.3%, Safe D
93. (Tom Leonard) [S Gratiot, Clinton] 57-43, 56-35, 52.9%, Safe R
94. (Tim Kelly) [Saginaw Twp, E Saginaw] 56-44, 62-38, 55.7%, Safe R
95. (Vanessa Guerra) [Saginaw city] 22-78, 24-76, 24.8%, Safe D
96. (OPEN-Charles Brunner) [Bay] 31-69, 32-68, 45.3%, Safe D
(D) Principal Brian DuFresne, former county commissioner Brian Elder, and county commissioner Donald Tilley are running.
97. (OPEN-Joel Johnson) [Arenac, Gladwin, Clare, E Osceola] 62-38, 63-37, 53.2%, Lean R
(R) (Lean Wentworth) Veteran Jason Wentworth, George Gilmore, Brian Johnson, Jacob Link, and Thomas Winarski are running.
98. (Gary Glenn) [C Midland, N Bay] 59-41, 55-45, 56%, Safe R
99. (OPEN-Kevin Cotter) [Isabella, W Midland] 57-43, 51.5-48.5, 48.1%, Tossup
(R) (Lean Hauck) Township Trustee Roger Hauck and realtor Robin Stressman are running.
(D) Bryan Mielke is running again after coming close in 2014.
100. (OPEN-Jon Bumstead) [Newaygo, Oceana, Lake] 62-38, 63-37, 55.5%, Safe R
(R) (Likely VanSingel) Accountant/businessman Scott VanSingel (C/E), John Wilterink and Dan Eley are running.
101. (OPEN-Ray Franz) [Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee, Mason] 51-49, 50.4-49.6, 50.7%, Tossup
(R) (Likely VanderWall) Mason county commissioner Curt VanderWall, Mark Walter, and Cary Urka are running.
102. (OPEN-Phil Potvin) [Wexford, W Osceola, Mecosta] 54.8-45.2, 60-40, 56.3%, Safe R
(R) (Tossup) Veteran Jason Briscoe, Manton Mayor Michelle Hoitenga, party official Ormand Hook, and Morris Langworthy, who came close in 2010 and 2004, are running.
103. (OPEN-Bruce Rendon) [Kalkaska, Crawford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw] 52.8-47.2, 60-34, 55.9%, Lean R
(R) (Likely Rendon) Daire Rendon (E/RTL), wife of the incumbent, faces self-funding doctor Vijay Kumar, who has been charged with sexual abuse.
104. (Larry Inman) [Grand Traverse] 57-43, 53.2-46.8, 55.4%, Lean R
(R) (Likely Inman) Inman (E) won the Republican primary in 2014 with 21%. He is being challenged by former county commissioner Jason Gillman (AC).
105. (Triston Cole) [Antrim, Charlevoix, Otsego, Montmorency, Oscoda] 67-33, 63-37, 58.5%, Safe R
106. (OPEN-Peter Petallia) [E Cheboygan, Presque Isle, Alpena, Alcona, Iosco] 52.2-45.3, 55-45, 53.6%, Lean R
(R) (Tossup) Cheboygan County Commissioner Sue Allor, David Chandler, Chamber of Commerce official Jackie Krawczak, and Benishek staffer Jesse Osmer are running.
107. (Lee Chatfield) [Emmet, Mackinac, Chippewa, N Cheboygan] 58-42, 61-39, 55.5%, Safe R
(R) (Likely Chatfield) Lee Chatfield (C/E) defeated incumbent moderate Republican Frank Foster in the 2014 primary. Supporters of Foster are backing Sioux Sioux Ste Marie City Commissioner Kathy Twardy this year.
108. (OPEN-Ed McBroom) [Delta, Menominee, Dickinson] 54.6-45.4, 60-40, 54.6%, Tossup
(R) Veteran Alan Arcand (AC), Beau LaFave, and Darryl Shann are running.
109. (John Kivela) [Marquette, Alger, Schoolcraft, Luce] 42-58, 34-66, 45.4%, Safe D
(D) Kivela was arrested for 'super drunk' driving last year. He is being challenged by Marquette City Commissioner Sara Cambensy.
110. (Scott Dianda) [W Upper Peninsula] 48.4-51.6, 39-61, 51.6%, Safe D

Safe D: 47
Lean D: 0
Tossup: 8
Lean R: 17
Safe R: 38

Monday, July 25, 2016

2016 Michigan State House Fundraising

July 22 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.  Primary ratings are included.  XX means the report has yet to be filed.

1. (D) Banks 136K Sossi 30K Broman 11K Youson 6K
20. (R) (Lean Nielson) Nielson 79K (37K self) Roosen 24K Noble 16K
23. (R) (Likely Howey) Howey 57K (25K self) Frazier XX Taylor 2K
    (D) (Tossup) Berecz 60K (26K self) Rzeppa 54K Camilleri 53K Petrucci 5K
24. (R) (Safe Marino) Marino 69K (35K self) D Smith 2K
    (D) Peterson 59K
30. (R) (Likely Farrington) Farrington 59K Shallal 14K Bogdan 3K
    (D) Notte 36K Spica 6K
32. (R) (Lean Hornberger) Hornberger 44K Shmina 19K Tranchita XX
33. (R) (Tossup) Yaroch 52K (49K self) Koch 21K Carl 15K Karafa 12K
39. (R) Kesto 151K (D) Stack 22K
41. (R) Howrylak 77K (D) Peltonon 4K
46. (R) (Tossup) Kent 97K (27K self) Reilly 46K
52. (R) Clark 13K (D) Fuller 116K Lasinski 99K
56. (R) Sheppard 102K (D) Redmond 18K
57. (R) (Likely Kahle) Kahle 73K Cottrell 10K Good $100 (D) Wimple 19K
60. (R) Ross 1K (D) Hoadley 84K
61. (R) Iden 125K (D) Fisher 26K
62. (R) Bizon 106K (D) Haadsma 55K
63. (R) Maturen 32K (D) Shiflea waiver
64. (R) (Lean Alexander) Griffin 92K Alexander 86K Tripp 65K (36K self)
    (D) Brooks 13K
66. (R) (Likely Griffin) Griffin 81K (40K self) Nilson 10K (6K self)
    (D) Brown 57K
70. (R) (Lean Lower) Lower 47K (17K self) VanKleek 10K Mulholland 6K Reyburn 5K Putansu XX
71. (R) Barrett 122K (D) Abed 43K
72. (R) (Tossup) Gallogly 33K Noto 25K Coughlin 12K Johnson 6K Hirsch 2K
76. (R) O'Neill 34K (D) Brinks 70K
77. (R) (Safe Brann) Brann 77K (51K self)
79. (R) (Tossup) Arnt 24K LaSata 23K Rolling 3K
80. (R) (Likely Whiteford) Whiteford 26K Nobel 8K
83. (R) (Tossup) Hernandez 35K Muxlow 26K Faber 20K (10K self)
85. (R) (Likely Frederick) Frederick 101K Aue 27K
    (D) Karhoff 8K Hovarth 6K Surprenant 5K
86. (R) (Tossup) Johnson 47K (38K self) Henry 43K (40K self) Albert 36K VanderWerff 3K Lower 2K
89. (R) (Likely Lilly) Lilly 85K Mulligan 37K Hall $100
91. (R) Hughes 166K (D) Lamonte 104K
96. (D) Elder 37K (26K self) Tilley 25K (10K self) DuFresne 18K
97. (R) (Lean Wentworth) Wentworth 41K (21K self) Gilmore 20K (16K self) Link 19K (12K self) Winarski 16K (7K self)
98. (R) Glenn 168K (D) Malicoat 13K
99. (R) (Lean Hauck) Hauck 26K Stressman 26K (D) Mielke 91K
100. (R) (Likely VanSingel) VanSingel 49K (17K self) Wilterink 7K
101. (R) (Likely VanderWall) VandelWall 38K (21K self) Walter 8K (D) Scripps 88K
102. (R) (Tossup) Hoitenga 44K (30K self) Hook 41K Briscoe 8K Langworthy 4K
103. (R) (Likely Rendon) Kumar 139K self Rendon 62K (D) Stancil 29K
104. (R) (Likely Inman) Inman 112K Gillman 22K (8K self) (D) Coffia 24K
106. (R) (Tossup) Allor 67K (56K self) Krawkzac 33K Osmer 27K Chandler 8K self
    (D) Kieliszewski 53K Kennedy 15K
107. (R) (Likely Chatfield) Chatfield 166K Twardy 23K (8K self)
108. (R) (Tossup) Lafave 27K Shann 17K Arcand 6K
    (D) Celello 56K Dziedzic 7K
109. (D) Kivela 23K Cambensey 6K

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Michigan Right to Life Endorsements

Michigan Right to Life has just issued its endorsements for the 2016 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.

1. Allen, Bergman, and Casperson meet criteria.
3. Justin Amash is endorsed after nonendorsements in 2012 and 2014.
6. Fred Upton is again endorsed, despite his long pro-abortion record.
10. All five Rs meet criteria.

State House:
20: All meet criteria
23: Bob Howey
24: Steve Marino
25: Ronald Albers
30: All meet criteria
32: All meet criteria
33: All but Stoll meet criteria
46: All meet criteria
57: Bronna Kahle
64: All meet criteria
66: Beth Griffin
70: Lower, Mulholland, Reyburn, Van Kleeck meet criteria
72: All meet criteria
77: All meet criteria
79: All meet criteria
83: All meet criteria
85: Aue and Frederick meet criteria
86: All meet criteria
89: Jim Lilly
96: (D) Brian Elder
97: All meet criteria
99: All meet criteria
100: VanSingel and Wilterink meet criteria
101: Vanderwall and Walter meet criteria
102: All meet criteria
103: Daire Rendon
106: All meet criteria
108: All meet criteria

Kalamazoo County Commission:
5: Chad Dillon
6: Frank Brooks
7: Roger Tuinier
9: Dale Shugars
10: Jerry Whitaker
11: Scott McGraw

NRA Endorsements

The NRA has released its grades for contested state house races.  They endorse all incumbents who meet their minimum criteria.  They endorsed in some, but not all open seats.  Notable grades and endorsements (in bold) include:

20: Noble and Roosen get Aq.  Nielson gets a D.
33: Carl, Koch, and Yaroch get Aq.
66: Griffin and Kolich get Aq.  Nilson gets C-.
70: Lower gets Aq.
72: Noto and Johnson get Aq.
77: Brann gets B-.
85: Frederick and Aue get Aq.
86: Henry and Johnson get Aq.
89: Lilly get Aq
97: Gilmore and Link get Aq.
99: Hauck gets Aq, Stressman gets C.
100: VanSingel and Wilterink get Aq.
101: VanderWall gets Aq.
103: Rendon gets Aq.
104: Gillman gets Aq and endorsement over Inman C.  This is the only endorsement of a primary challenger to an incumbent.
107: Chatfield gets A+ over Twardy C+.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

6th District Shenanigans

The Michigan GOP convention held its district caucuses Friday night. The purpose of the caucus was to elect delegates and three alternates to the national convention in Cleveland. For many years, the 6th district has used an allocation plan that distributes delegates and alternates among the counties by sex. (For example, Allegan County gets a female alternate.) This allocation prevented anyone from one county (St. Joseph) from running for anything, people from two others (Allegan and Van Buren) from running for delegate, and many from running based on their sex.  Restricting delegates based on sex arguably violates state rules, but objections to this policy were not sustained.  Only 34% of state convention delegates were allowed to run for national delegate under this plan.

Unlike previous presidential elections, this time candidates for delegate had to pledge support to a particular candidate prior to the caucus. The sixth district (like all districts) got one delegate/alternate pair for Trump, Cruz, and Kasich. The establishment rules committee proposed rules affirming this allocation. Supporters of Cruz offered an alternative set of rules to split into three subcaucuses, one for each candidate, to elect the delegate and alternate pledged to each candidate. After much discussion, the alternate proposal failed 67-81, and the establishment rules passed by a larger margin.

Four counties had had meetings days before the caucus to pick who they wanted as their delegate or alternate (this should not have been binding on the caucus but was treated as such).  This included delegates pledged to Cruz and Trump, which meant that only the Kasich delegate was left.

Kalamazoo went into a subcaucus.  Several supporters of Cruz (including me) and Trump tried to run for delegate, and were told that this was not allowed.  I pointed out that allocating candidates' delegates by county was not in the rules.  We argued with party officials, then stood around for half an hour or so.  Then we were called back into the room and a motion was made to set up a slate allocating the delegates and alternates by county, sex, and presidential candidate (tacitly admitting that my objection was correct).  The motion passed, and I was prevented from running.  Kalamazoo County went back to sub-caucus and voted on our Kasich delegate and Cruz alternate.  The establishment slate was passed without opposition, as everyone was exhausted after over three hours in caucus.

Delegate - Cass - Male - Cruz - Vic Fitz, 6th District Chairman, county prosecutor
Delegate - Kalamazoo - Male - Kasich - Scott McGraw, county chairman, county commissioner
Delegate - Berrien - Female - Trump - Sharon Tyler, county clerk
Alternate - Allegan - Female - Kasich - Mary Whiteford, state representative
Alternate - Kalamazoo - Male - Cruz - Bonnie Landrum, local activist
Alternate - Van Buren - Male - Trump - Paul DeYoung, Register of Deeds

The slate is all establishment and almost all elected officials.  I don't know if any of them actually support the candidates they are pledged to (none publicly endorsed prior to the primary as far as I can tell).

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Why not Trump?

Donald Trump is currently leading the race for the Republican presidential nomination. What should conservatives think of this?
THE GOOD Trump has attacked political correctness and skewered some deserving targets, from Jeb Bush to Bill Clinton. He also brought greater prominence to immigration issues and pushed the debate on these issues to the right.
THE ISSUES So where does Trump stand on the issues? With the exceptions of trade and eminent domain, he doesn’t seem to have been consistent on any issue. Most positions have changed over time, and some seem to vary from day to day or even minute to minute.
ABORTION In 1999, Trump said “I’m pro-choice” and refused to support a partial-birth abortion ban, citing his “New York background”. He claims to have become pro-life (with exceptions) a few years ago. He has continued to praise Planned Parenthood for its non-abortion services during the campaign.
GUN RIGHTS Trump once said that “I hate the concept of guns” and supported banning “assault weapons” and waiting periods. During his campaign, he has taken pro-gun positions.
TAXES In 1999, Trump advocated a 6 trillion dollar wealth tax to eliminate the national debt. More recently, he has said the plan was good at the time, but is now impractical. During the campaign, Trump has proposed a tax plan that has mostly been well-received by conservatives.
HEALTH CARE Trump has pledged to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. But replace it with what? Trump has praised socialized medicine in Canada and Scotland in the past. He seems to advocate this for America as well, calling for government to pay for everyone.
RACIAL PREFERENCES One issue where Trump has not taken a politically incorrect position is racial preferences (“affirmative action”). When Antonin Scalia asked a question critical of affirmative action (citing the mismatch theory), Trump criticized Scalia. He went on to declare support for affirmative action.
EMINENT DOMAIN Trump has consistently defended the use of private eminent domain—that is, the government taking someone’s land (with compensation) for a private developer. Trump tried to take the Atlantic City house of elderly widow Vera Coking for a limousine parking lot but lost a court battle. He supports the Kelo Supreme Court case allowing private eminent domain. While this isn’t the most pressing issue (most states have banned private eminent domain) it shows that Trump favors the interests of big business over the rights of average citizens.
IMMIGRATION Trump proposed a great immigration plan, which was apparently written by Senator Jeff Sessions and his staff. However, he has not always advocated for tough immigration policies. In 2012, he opposed Mitt Romney’s support of ‘self-deportation’ (illegals leaving on their own in response to restriction of jobs and benefits), calling it “mean-spirited”, and defended his position in 2015. In 2013, he met with ‘immigrant advocates’ saying that “you’ve convinced me” on the issue. In June 2015, he supported a path to citizenship for illegals. In August 2015, he called for taking in Syrian refugees, before dramatically reversing himself and calling for ending all Muslim immigration.
DONATIONS Trump has donated to a raft of liberal politicians, including Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Ted Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and many more. Trump excuses this as a business necessity, rather than the product of ideological conviction. Of course, Michigan conservatives have not excused donations to democrats by moderate Republicans like Rick Snyder and Bobby Schostak. At a minimum, Trump’s donations show a willingness to go along to get along, rather than fight a corrupt system.
CHARACTER Trump has been married three times, and had several affairs. He can be gracious to win people over, but will viciously attack those who don’t give him what he wants.
ELECTABILITY Trump has trailed Hillary Clinton in most polls, performing worse against her than Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. His unfavorable rating is 58% as of this writing, far higher than any candidate who has ever been nominated for president. Liberals are compiling opposition research files on his business dealings, treatment of employees and acquaintances, and controversial statements in past interviews. Barring some game-changing event (such a Clinton indictment or Bloomberg third-party campaign), Trump is likely to lose the general election.
SUMMARY Donald Trump has very little history in the Republican party, much less the conservative movement. He has very recently taken more conservative positions. The question voters must ask is whether there is any reason to believe him. Did he really have a massive political conversion within the past few years, or is he just cynically saying what voters want to hear?

See also:
Is Donald Trump Conservative? Here's the Rundown
Conservative Review on Trump
Club for Growth on Trump

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ted Cruz for President

Senator Ted Cruz is the best choice for the Republican nomination for President.
EXPERIENCE Cruz has a variety of government experience. He has been a Senator from Texas since 2012. Before that, he was Solicitor General of Texas, working on numerous high-profile legal cases, including winning eight cases before the Supreme Court. Before that, he was a member of the Federal Trade Commission, where he fought to protect free markets, including keeping the internet free from government regulation.
ISSUES Cruz is a solid conservative who is pro-life and pro-marriage. He supports gun rights completely. He is a free market conservative who supports cutting government spending, taxes, regulations, and bureaucracy. He is a patriot who advocates a realist foreign policy with a strong military willing to intervene when it is in American interests, but not to support a Utopian vision of imposing democracy and nation-building. He is an immigration patriot who opposes amnesty for illegal aliens and supports enforcing the law, securing the border with a real fence, and cutting back on legal immigration when it is not in America's interest.
RECORD Lots of candidates talk conservative during the campaign, but don't act that way in office. That's why it is essential to examine their records. Ted Cruz ran for senate promising to be a solid conservative who led the fight on important issues. His voting record backs that up. He has lifetime ratings of 100% from the American Conservative Union, 98% form Heritage Action, 98% from Freedomworks, and 96% from Club for Growth. He was a leader of the successful effort to defeat President Obama's 2013 gun control plan. He led the filibuster of Obamacare funding, and fought against budget-busting spending bills. Cruz was a major part of the successful opposition to the Gang of Eight amnesty bill.
Cruz's conservative record precedes the Senate. As Texas Solicitor General, he successfully defending several conservative laws in the Supreme Court. One case is particularly instructive. When a Mexican citizen committed murder in Texas, he was sentenced to death. Mexico objected, and got the World Court to demand that Texas commute his sentence. The Bush administration, to its discredit, echoed the demand. Cruz fought back, and won the case 6-3 in the Supreme Court, defeating Mexico, the World Court, and a President of his own party. He demonstrated his support for tough sentences for criminals, defense of states powers and American sovereignty, and willingness to stand up to his own party when it was the right thing to do.
KNOWLEDGE AND INTELLIGENCE Cruz is obviously brilliant. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where one of his professors declared him to be one of the smartest students he had ever had. He has taken the time to study issues carefully and learn the details of public policy. He is rarely, if ever, tripped up by a question. Unlike other candidates, he doesn't sound like he just learned about the issues last week, or just repeated something written by an advisor. Cruz has an audiographic memory, and so can remember anything he has heard, which would be a valuable skill for a President.
CHARACTER Cruz is a committed Christian, whose father is a pastor. He is married to his wife Heidi for 15 years. He has two daughters. Cruz has a calm, even temperament, and doesn't crack under pressure or personally insult other candidates. He is highly disciplined and a very hard worker. He is capable of working across party lines (as on the FTC) but will stand up to others in his own party when necessary.
CAMPAIGN Cruz has run a strong campaign so far. He has raised the second most money (behind Jeb Bush) of any Republican, with both a lot of small dollar donations, and some large donations as well. He has put together the best grassroots organization of any campaign. His campaign has developed new technologies for identifying and targeting voters. He has avoided wasting money on overpriced political consultants.
ELECTABILITY It is difficult to predict election results before the campaign, but it is worth noting that many supposedly electable Republican nominees (Romney, McCain, Dole) were not actually very electable in practice. They pursued strategies of pandering to the media (McCain) or avoiding controversy (Romney) which didn't hold up well in a Presidential campaign. They often seemed incapable of making conservative arguments. In contrast, Ted Cruz knows not to expect any sympathy from the media. He can make conservative arguments that can win over undecided voters while uniting and motivating the Republican base. He is a national champion debater who won't put his foot in his mouth or pull his punches against Hillary. He has led Hillary Clinton in many polls, and performs better than Trump, Carson, or Kasich in general election matchups. There are no guarantees, but Cruz stands a reasonable chance of winning the general election.
ENDORSEMENTS Cruz has been endorsed by conservative leaders, including James Dobson (Focus on the Family), Tony Perkins (Family Research Council), Glenn Beck, Thomas Sowell, Gun Owners of America, the National Organization for Marriage, and many solidly conservative members of the House of Representatives. For all these reasons, I endorse him as well.

Private Security in Detroit

This interview with a private security firm in Detroit is fascinating.
Ep. 597 Can the Private Sector Protect Against Crime? This Case Study Will Blow Your Mind

Monday, January 04, 2016

The Acid Test of Climate Change

Leftists are still doing their best to promote hysteria about global warming climate change, despite average citizens not caring at all about the issue.  They claim that we will be doomed to a terrible fate at some point in the not-to-distant future if we don't agree to their demands.

Conservatives have long suspected that this is a cynical attempt to gain control of the world economy.  To test leftists' sincerity, we can consider their support for alternatives to regulation of the global economy.  One big alternative is nuclear energy, which has zero carbon emissions.

Even if this isn't the left's ideal solution, it is one that most on the right would accept.  Are climate change hysterics advocating the expansion of nuclear energy?  If not, why should anyone believe that they are sincere?

2016 Michigan Primary Election Races

This post was last updated August 5, 2016.

Michigan's presidential electors, congressional seats, and the entire state house will be up for election November 8, 2016.  A primary on August 2 will decide most partisan nominees.

List of Michigan Presidential Candidates
List of Michigan candidates

On March 8, Michigan Republicans gave Donald Trump 36.5%, Ted Cruz 24.9%, John Kasich 24.3%, and Marco Rubio 9.3%.  Trump will face Hillary Clinton in November.

Michigan Supreme Court
Republicans currently hold a 5-2 majority on the court.  There are two seats up for election on the Michigan Supreme Court.
Republican David Viviano is seeking a full term after winning a two year term in 2014. He was appointed to fill a vacancy following the resignation of disgraced democrat Diane Hathaway following her conviction for tax fraud.  Likely Republican
Republican Joan Larsen was appointed following the resignation of Republican Mary Beth Kelly.  No democrats are seeking either seat yet.  Likely Republican

Other Statewide Offices
Two seats on the state Board of Education and boards of trustees of U of M, MSU, and WSU will be up for election. All eight seats up are held by democrats. Democrats have swept these elections in 2006, 2008, and 2012, while Republicans swept in 2010.  Republicans won one seat in 2014.  The candidates are
State Board of Education:
Republicans: Al Gui, Tom McMillin, Jeff Phillips, Mike Rowley, Nicolette Synder, Bill Runco
UM Board of Regents:
Republicans: Ron Weiser, Carl Meyers
MSU Board of Trustees:
Republicans: Dan Kelly, William Deary
WSU Board of Governors:
Republicans: Mark Koroi, Marco Bisbikis, Michael Busuito, Nick Fiani

Ballot Propositions
There may be a marijuana legalization proposal on the ballot.

Michigan Congressional Seats
Republicans hold a 9-5 majority in Michigan's congressional delegation, which is unchanged since 2012. Two districts (1 and 10) are open.  Democrats will target districts 1, 7, and 8, though all favor Republicans.

2016 Michigan Congressional Races

Michigan House
All 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives are up for election. Republicans hold a 63-47 majority.  There will be 40 open seats due to term limits and candidates running for Congress.  Democrats are likely to gain some seats.

2016 Michigan State House Races

60th District (Kalamazoo City) Safe democrat
Democrat Jon Hoadley defeated county commissioner David Buskirk of SE Kalamazoo and Kalamazoo Township Trustee Pamela Goodacre in the 2014 primary to replace Sean McCann, who lost a bid for state senate.  He faces Republican Kalamazoo College student Alexander Ross.
61st District (Portage, Oshtemo) Lean Republican
Republican Brandt Iden defeated fellow county commissioner Phil Stinchcomb in the 2014 primary to replace Margaret O'Brien, who was elected to the state senate.  Iden defeated democrat Pastor John Fisher 48.4-42.7 in 2014.  Fisher is running again in 2016.
62nd District (Battle Creek, Albion) Tossup
Republican John Bizon defeated democrat Andy Helmboldt 51.2-48.8 in 2014, replacing term-limited democrat Kate Segal.  Democrat Calhoun County Commissioner Jim Haadsma is running this year.
63rd District (E Kalamazoo, S Calhoun) Safe Republican
Moderate Republican Kalamazoo county commissioner David Maturen, defeated Marshall school board president Vic Potter in the 2014 primary to replace Speaker Jase Bolger.  Lynn Shiflea is the democrat candidate.
66th District (Van Buren, Cooper) Lean Republican
Republican state rep. Aric Nesbitt is term-limited.  Republican Van Buren County Commissioner Beth Griffin beat Matthew Nilson and Greg Kolich 61-31-8 in the primary.  Nesbitt defeated democrat Annie Brown 57-43 in 2014.  Brown is the D nominee again in 2016.

Kalamazoo Countywide Offices
All six countywide offices are up for election. Republicans hold three of six offices.

Sheriff: Leans democrat
Democrat Richard Fuller defeated Republican Michael Anderson in 2008 and won 55-45 in 2012.  Fuller, who has had problems with fiscal management, beat Thomas Swafford 76-24 in the democrat primary.  County commissioner (2002-2016) and police officer Jeff Heppler beat Robert Munn 68-32 in the Republican primary.
Prosecutor: Likely democrat
Democrat former assistant prosecutor Jeffrey Getting defeated Republican assistant prosecutor Scott Pierangeli 51-49 in 2012 to replace Republican Jeff Fink.  He beat Dorphine Payne 66-34 in the democrat primary and faces Republican Donald Smith in the general.
Clerk: Tossup
Incumbent moderate Republican Tim Snow will seek reelection after a narrow 51-49 win in 2012. Democrat county commissioner John Taylor (2002-2016) is running.
Treasurer: Leans Republican
Republican Mary Balkema, who was appointed in 2007, will seek reelection. Balkema barely defeated a token challenger in 2008, but defeated Grace Borgfjord 53-47 in 2012. Sunny Sahu beat James Jackson 51-49 in the D primary.
Drain Commissioner: Safe democrat
Democrat Patricia Crowley won easily in 2008 and 2012 (60-40).  She is unopposed.
Surveyor: Safe Republican
Incumbent Republican Bill Hahn has been unopposed since 2008. The position is unpaid, and its holder must be a licensed surveyor.

Kalamazoo County Commission
All 11 seats on the Kalamazoo County Commission will be up for election. Democrats hold a 6-5 majority. Republicans will target democrats in districts 5 and 10. Democrats may target districts 7 and 11.  Districts 3, 6, and 10 are open.

2016 Kalamazoo County Commission Races

Township Elections
There were plenty of contested township primary elections.  Only Oshtemo and Comstock are contested in the general.

Alamo Township:  Lou Conti was elected Supervisor in 2012 and recalled in 2014, being replaced by Tony Hyet.  Hyet beat Conti 69-31 in the 2016 R primary.

Comstock Township:
Supervisor:  Republican Supervisor Ann Nieuwenhuis, who defeated trustee Randy Thompson 52-40 in 2012, is retiring.  Democrat trustee Sandra Bloomfield beat nurse Lisa White 64-36 for the Republican nomination.  Thompson beat Kristie Cherry 64-36 for the democrat nomination.
Clerk:  Republican Michelle Mohney faces democrat Tafari Brown
Treasurer:  Democrat Bret Padgett is unopposed.
Trustees:  Republicans incumbent conservative Jerry Amos, Randy Beister, Art Austin, and Terry McIver and face democrats Bob Pratt, David Camburn, Robert Reilman for four trustee seats.

Cooper Township:  Longtime Supervisor Jeffrey Sorenson beat Richard Rakow 69-31 in the primary.  Trustee DeAnna Janssen is unopposed for Clerk.  Longtime trustees Brenda Buiskool, Robert Schledel, and Fred Vlietstra and former trustee Jim Frederick were nominated over Rob Bricker and Marc Rowlson.

Kalamazoo Township:  Democrat Supervisor Ron Reid is unopposed.  Trustee Mark Miller beat trustee Pamela Goodacre and incumbent clerk Donald Thall 43-33-24 in the democrat primary.

Oshtemo Township:
Supervisor:  Democrat Supervisor Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell won 57-43 over former democrat John Nieuwenhuis in 2012. He is seeking a rematch this year.
Clerk:  Democrat trustee Dusty Farmer is seeking the seat of (former) Republican Clerk Deb Everett.  She faces Karen Solevik, who won the R primary as a write-in.
Treasurer:  Republican Treasurer Nancy Culp beat Democrat trustee Grant Taylor, who was elected in a 2014 special election, for the democrat nomination.  Scott Zondervan won the R nomination as a write-in.
Trustees:  Democrat candidates for trustee are former Republican trustee Dave Bushouse, Republican Clerk Deb Everett, incumbent Zak Ford, and Ken Hudok.  Themi Corakis and write-ins trustee Nancy Carr, Gene Clem, and Jim Lefler are the R nominees.

Texas Township:  Appointed trustee John Hinkle beat trustee Jeff VanderRoest for the open supervisor position.  Clerk Linda Kerr is unopposed.  Treasurer Paul Cutting beat trustee Trish Roberts after winning a tie-breaker.  Incumbent conservative Wendy Mazer, Tim Brown, former trustee Don Boven, and Nikolas Loeks beat Catherine DiBiaggio and Habib Mandwee for trustee.

There are no contested races.

2016 Kalamazoo County Commission Races

This post was last updated August 5, 2016.

Democrats won a 6-5 majority on the Kalamazoo County Commission in 2014, otherwise a mostly Republican year.  They picked up one seat, while six new commissioners were elected due to retirements.  There are three retirements in 2016 and several seats are likely to be hotly contested.

The following post has detailed descriptions of the districts and their political leanings. The numbers given are the percentage the Republican county commission candidate got in 2012 and 2014, Mitt Romney's 2-party percentage in 2012, and Ruth Johnson's percentage in 2010.  Incumbents are marked below with asterisks.

Kalamazoo County Commission Districts.

List of Kalamazoo County Candidates

District 1 [N Kalamazoo] Safe Democrat
R12: 13.9 R14: 0 Romney: 13.5 Johnson: 20.3
Democrat: Stephanie Moore*
Republican: Jessica Salvano
Stephanie Moore replaced Carolyn Alford, who retired, having held office since 2006.  She won the 2014 primary in this majority minority district with 55%.  Moore was a Kalamazoo city commissioner and has been convicted of several crimes over the years.

District 2 [SE Kalamazoo] Safe Democrat
R12: 0 R14: 29.5 Romney: 28.1 Johnson: 33.4
Democrat: Kevin Wordelman*
Republican: T Casey Fawley
Incumbent David Buskirk (1992-2014) retired to run for the democrat nomination in the 60th state house district, which he lost. Wordelman, a union organizer at WMU, defeated Jeremy Orr 68-32 in the 2014 primary.

District 3 [SW Kalamazoo] Safe Democrat
R12: 31.1 R14: 32.3 Romney: 30.1 Johnson: 37.2
Democrat: Tracy Hall
Republican: Charley Coss
John Taylor, who was first elected in 2002 is running for county clerk.  Hall was a candidate for Kalamazoo city commission in 2013.

District 4 [Kalamazoo Twp, Parchment] Safe Democrat
R12: 32.2 R14: 0 Romney: 31.7 Johnson: 41.8
Democrat: Michael Seals*
Republican: none
Seals defeated fellow democrat commissioner (2002-2010) Franklin Thompson in 2010.  Seals beat Thompson 66-34 in 2016.

District 5 [Alamo, N Oshtemo, NW Kalamazoo Twp] Likely Democrat
R12: 44.3 R14: 44.7 Romney: 47.2 Johnson: 56.9
Democrat: Julie Rogers*
Republican: Chad Dillon
Rogers won this swingy seat in 2012.  Dillon is a staffer for Congressman Fred Upton.

District 6 [Cooper, Richland, Ross] Safe Republican
R12: 54 R14: 100 Romney: 54.7 Johnson: 62.9
Democrat: none
Republican: Ron Kendall
Jeff Heppler, who has been on the board since 2002, is running for Sheriff.  Kendall is a staffer for state rep. Tom Barrett of Eaton County.  He beat Vince Carahaly, a moderate businessman, and Frank Brooks, a passionate Trump supporter, 39-35-26 in the primary.

District 7 [Comstock, Galesburg, Charleston, Climax, Wakeshma] Lean Republican
R12: 50.9 R14: 54.9 Romney: 50.6 Johnson: 59.3
Democrat: Pat Clark
Republican: Roger Tuinier*
Tuinier, who is a greenhouse owner, barely defeated Leroy Crabtree in 2012.  He beat David Burgess, a Comstock Township Trustee, in 2014.  Clark is a Climax Village Trustee.

District 8 [Pavillion, Brady, Schoolcraft, Prairie Ronde] Safe Republican
R12: 100 R14: 61 Romney: 55.1 Johnson: 63.5
Democrat: none
Republican: John Gisler*
Moderate Republican board chairman David Maturen (2002-2014) won the 63rd district state house seat in 2014.  Commissioner John Gisler, who was elected in 2010 but deferred to Maturen in the 2012 Republican primary due to redistricting, won in 2014.

District 9 [Texas, SE Oshtemo] Safe Republican
R12: 53.9 R14: 61.3 Romney: 51.7 Johnson: 62.5
Democrat: Emily Adams
Republican: Dale Shugars*
Shugars, a conservative former state senator (1994-2002) and state rep (1990-1994), won 72% to moderate Brian Kovacik's 28% in the 2014 primary, succeeding Brandt Iden.  He won a rematch 76-24 in the 2016 primary.

District 10 [W Portage] Tossup
R12: 52.8 R14: 49.6 Romney: 49.4 Johnson: 58.8
Democrat: Michael Quinn
Republican: Jerry Whitaker
Conservative Republican Phil Stinchcomb defeated democrat commissioner (2008-2010) Michael Quinn 56.4-43.6 in 2010.   Provancher was a democrat county commissioner representing central Portage 1995-2002.  He is retiring, and Quinn is running again. Whitaker was a Portage School Board member 1999-2004.

District 11 [E Portage] Likely Republican
R12: 52.5 R14: 54.2 Romney: 47.5 Johnson: 56.5
Democrat: Jason Foster
Republican: Scott McGraw*
McGraw succeed John Zull (2000-2014).  McGraw formerly worked for the Kalamazoo Homebuilders Association and is now Chairman of the Kalamazoo GOP.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Best of The Western Right 2015

The Western Right had a slow year in 2015, with 25 posts, but still had a few good ones.

Conservative of the Year: Matt Bevin
Vote NO on the Homeless Tax
Second Hoax at Kalamazoo College
2016 Michigan Congressional Races
2014 ACU Michigan Legislature Ratings
Is Fred Upton More Conservative?
Race Hoax at Kalamazoo College
Where Did Lorence Wenke’s Votes Come From?
Pay for Your Own Buses!

Conservative of the Year: Matt Bevin

2015 was another year of stalemate in Washington, with Republicans largely conceding to the President on spending issues.

The Presidential primary campaigns are well underway.  Establishment favorites Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Chris Christie quickly tanked.  The race appears to be down to three candidates.  Donald Trump is conservative on immigration but moderate on most other issues.  He has a unique style that cuts through the media filter but also misses key facts and unnecessarily offends many.  Ted Cruz is a solid anti-establishment conservative who has run a shrewd campaign and has good shot at the nomination.  Marco Rubio is trying to bridge the gap between conservatives and the establishment, but will be hampered by his work on the Gang of Eight amnesty bill.

Meanwhile, there was one significant conservative victory at the state level.  In Kentucky, Matt Bevin was elected Governor.  Bevin is a businessman who in 2014 challenged Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the 2014 primary.  He lost, but put up a strong showing that gained him a following around the state.  In 2015, he ran for governor, and barely won a three-way primary against two less conservative candidates.  He was considered the underdog against democrat Attorney General Jack Conway, a position supported by polls that showed him trailing.  But on election day, Bevin won by a nine-point margin.

Bevin campaigned on eliminating Kentucky's Obamacare exchange and Medicaid expansion, ending Common Core, passing Right to Work, and other conservative priorities.  He will have the opportunity to implement many conservative reforms in a state that has mostly been run by democrats for generations.  He is already working to flip the democrat-controlled state house in 2016.

Matt Bevin showed that conservatives can win without compromising their principles if they run good candidates with good campaigns.  He is 2015's conservative of the year.

Previous winners (including retroactive):
2014: Dave Brat
2013: Jeff Sessions
2012: Ted Cruz
2011: Scott Walker
2010: Jim DeMint
2009: Glenn Beck
2008: Sarah Palin
2007: Ron Paul
2006: Jerome Corsi
2005: Tom Tancredo
2004: John O'Neill
2003: Roy Moore
2002: John Ashcroft
2001: George W. Bush
2000: William Rehnquist

Repeal Straight-Ticket Voting

The state legislature recently passed Senate Bill 13 to eliminate straight-ticket voting in Michigan. The Governor should sign this bill.

Democracy works best when voters are informed.  At a bare minimum, voters should have to actually read the name of the office and names of the candidates that they will decide between.  It is an insult to the candidates and informed voters that some choose to vote in elections without even looking at the names on the ballot.

One common objection to eliminating straight-ticket voting is that it would lead to long lines at the polls.  This objection is without merit.  This might be true if Michigan used direct recording or puchcard machines, but we use optical scan machines that count votes but do not record them directly.  The only potential lines at the polls are the line to receive a ballot and the line to submit it, neither of which are affected by the amount of time it takes to fill out the ballot.

Only ten states have straight ticket voting, and the other forty seem to manage fine without it.  Michigan should join them.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

2015 Election Results

Nationally, the election results were pretty good for conservatives, headlined by Matt Bevin's election as governor of Kentucky.  Michigan results were less good.

State house:
District 80: Mary Whiteford 52%, Jim Storey 24%, Cindy Gamrat 9%, Bill Sage 8%
District 82: Gary Howell 26%, Jan Peabody 21%, Chris Tuski 21%, Ian Kempf 18%, Sharna Smith 5%, Todd Courser 4%
Gamrat and Courser were unsurprisingly crushed in their comeback attempt after being kicked out of the legislature.  They put themselves above the cause and damaged the conservative movement across the state.  They will be replaced by two establishment-friendly candidates.  Notably, the state legislature finally passed a gas tax hike the night of the election.

Kalamazoo Homeless Tax: Passed 56-44
This passed thanks substantially to being placed on the ballot when Kalamazoo and Portage had other elections and most townships did not.  The democrats who control the county commission will probably put more millages up in the future.

Kalamazoo Mayor: Hopewell 88%, Mbah 12%
Kalamazoo City Commission:
Elected: Cooney 62%, Anderson 61%, Sykes 51%, Knott 47%, Urban 39%, Milcarek 38.3%
Not elected: Cunningham 37.5%, Carter 27%, Dekker 14%, Hulbert 14%, Fletcher 14%, VanSweden 14%, Youngs 12%, Staten 9%, Milan 7%
Don Cooney finally made it to vice-mayor, bumping down David Anderson.  The commission will lurch even further to the left, as relatively moderate Barb Miller and Bob Cinabro will be replaced by Shannon Sykes, social justice consultant, and Erin Knott, Obamacare enrollment organizer.  Jack Urban was reelected, and Matt Milcarek bumped appointed commissioner Eric Cunningham out of office.  With this group running the show, Kalamazoo will probably have an emergency manager in a few years.  Mitt Romney got 7280 votes in Kalamazoo, but Republicans Hulbert and Youngs didn't find a way to turn them out to vote.  VanSweden got 1073 votes despite dropping out.

Portage City Council:
Elected: Randall 59%, Pearson 52%, Ford 48%
Not elected: Bright 32%, Earl 25%
The status quo won in Portage, as the Randall faction reelected all three incumbents up this time.  Turnout was very high (31%) due to the school millages. Those millages passed with 64% and 56%, so Portage taxpayers will be supporting new schools and football stadiums for years to come.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Vote NO on the Homeless Tax

The following opinion piece appears on the Kalamazoo GOP website.


On November 3, voters will be asked to support yet another tax increase, this time claiming to address the issue of homelessness.  The Kalamazoo GOP urges votes to oppose this measure.

Voters in Kalamazoo County are being subjected to more and more taxes.  Just in the last year, tax increases for buses and KRESA passed in most of Kalamazoo County.  In addition, the legislature passed the “Amazon tax”, and following the defeat of Proposal 1, it is considering a substantial gas tax increase.  A city income tax is being discussed in Kalamazoo.  We have been taxed enough.

The homeless tax was passed by a 6-5 party-line vote by the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners.  It would increase taxes by .1 mills, generating $800,000 per year.  Doubtless most of those supporting the millage have good intentions and sincerely want to address the issue of homelessness in Kalamazoo County.  But good intentions are not enough to ensure good policy outcomes.  Many policy disasters have been caused by people with the best of intentions.

Thus we should ask what the actual effects of this tax increase would be.  Recall the basic economic principle of incentives:  If you punish something, you will get less of it, and if you reward something, you will get more of it.  Thus if people are given money on the condition that they are homeless, you will end up with more homelessness.  This may seem counterintuitive to some, but decades of trying to fight poverty with handouts has only served to lock people into poverty.

In addition, increasing property taxes, and hence apartment rents, will make life worse for people who are not homeless.  Some people on the margin who are just getting by may actually be pushed into homelessness thanks to this tax.

We should not forget that there is already an institution in this county fighting homelessness—the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission.  It recognizes that to end homelessness requires not just a handout, but a “hand up”, addressing the behaviors and conditions that lead to homelessness.  Creating a new government bureaucracy to compete with the Gospel Mission could undermine its effectiveness.  Government is usually more wasteful and less effective than the private sector.

This tax proposal was timed to coincide with city elections in Kalamazoo and Portage, when townships don’t have anything else on the ballot.  Please remember to vote on November 3.  We urge you to oppose this tax increase.

Kalamazoo GOP Executive Committee

The Welfare State Explained

This profound little speech occurs in the middle of the action movie Fast Five.