Friday, August 15, 2014

Aaron Miller for State Representative

The biggest surprise of the August primary in Michigan was victory of Aaron Miller for the Republican nomination in the 59th state house district.  The district, which is being vacated by moderate Matt Lori, contains all of St. Joseph County and most of Cass County.

Aaron Miller, John Bippus reflect on Miller's stunning win in Tuesday's 59th State House race

Aaron Miller is a 27-year-old high school math teacher with little political experience won a four-way race with 38%.  The next-closest candidate was John Bippus with 28%.

Miller is an alumnus of the WMU College Republicans, which this blog was formerly associated with.  Another alumnus, Tom Barrett, is running for state house in district 71.

In the August primary, most candidates who raised the most money won.  Miller was a huge exception, as he raised only 11K, the least of the four candidates.  Bippus had raised 169K.

Hard work isn't usually enough by itself to win, but this was the exception.  Miller apparently connected with voters in a way that the other candidates didn't.

This blog endorsed Bippus in the primary, as we didn't think Miller had a chance.  We are happy to be wrong.  Miller is a strong Christian conservative who is honest and intelligent.  He deserves support in the general election.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lessons from the Primary Election

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 Lana Theis, Jim Runestad, Jason Sheppard, and Triston Cole had substantial establishment support.

Be the establishment  One answer to this is to become the establishment.  Lana Theis and Triston Cole are both former county party chairs.  It takes time to build political connections, but it pays off eventually.

Experience counts  Elected experience is valuable for winning candidates.  Lana Theis, Jim Runestad, Jason Sheppard, and Gary Glenn have all been elected to local office.

If at first you don't succeed  Tom Barrett, Todd Courser, and Triston Cole have all lost elections before, but gained valuable experience in the process.  This time, they won their primaries.  Candidates who lost this time should look for opportunities to run again in the future.

Build a brand  Lana Theis, Gary Glenn, Cindy Gamrat, and Todd Courser are known across Michigan for advocating conservative causes.  This provides a larger fundraising base to tap when you run for office.

Don't Ignore Social Issues  In recent years, conservatives have shifted much more emphasis to fiscal issues.  While these issues are vitally important, conservative candidates should not ignore social issues.  Notably, three conservative victors, Todd Courser, Gary Glenn, and Lee Chatfield, are all known as strong defenders of traditional marriage.

Don't split the vote  In several districts (45, 47, 58, 73, 104), several conservative candidates split the vote and allowed a more moderate candidate to win.  Conservatives who care more about the cause than themselves should meet and agree on one candidate to support.

Money doesn't buy elections  Self-funding candidates have a bad electoral track record.  Notably, Paul Mitchell and Brian Ellis, who both spent millions of their own money trying to get elected to Congress, lost handily.  Self-funder David Trott did win, but that had more to do with Kerry Bentivolio's weak campaign.

Money is essential  This does not contradict the previous point.  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.  Lana Theis raised 80K.  Jim Runestad raised 82K.  Jason Sheppard raised 36K.  Tom Barrett raised 55K.  Cindy Gamrat raised 39K.  Gary Glenn raised 171K.  Triston Cole raised 37K.  The only Republican to defeat a state house incumbent, Lee Chatfield, raised 74K.

The candidate who raised the most money won in 18 of 21 primaries in open Republican seats.  With one exception, the lowest amount raised by any successful Republican primary winner in a winnable district was Todd Courser's 27K.  A Republican candidate for state house who isn't willing to raise (or self-fund) at least $30,000 is usually only going to waste everyone's time.

Exceptions are exceptional  There is one huge exception to the above points.  In district 59, Aaron Miller, a 27-year-old Christian conservative teacher with little political experience who raised only 11K won with 38% of the vote in a four-candidate field.  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 06, 2014

2014 August Primary Election Results

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

Congress:
1. Benishek wins 70-30.  Alan Arcand needs to fire his pollster.
3. Amash wins 57-43.  Probably not enough to scare away future primary challengers.
4. Moolenaar wins 52-36-11.  Never underestimate the Midland establishment.  I rated this a tossup when Mitchell led by 23.  Good to have another Dutchman in Congress ;)
6. Bussler gets 29% against Upton, confirming my suspicion that about 30% is the anti-Upton baseline in the GOP primary.
8. Bishop wins 60-40. No shock.  Schertzing survives a scare 43-38 in the dem primary.
11. David Trott wins 66-34 after Bentivolio ran a terrible campaign.  McKenzie barely wins dem primary 34-32.  Safe R.
13. Conyers wins 75-25.  Being on the ballot helps.
14. Brenda Lawrence wins 36-32-31 over Hobbs and Clarke.

Michigan State Senate:
2 (D) Johnson wins easily 63-22.
4 (D) Smith holds off Tlaib 52-41 after the race was initially miscalled.
5 (D) Knezek (white dem) leads Jackson (pro-life) 29-25.
11 (D) Gregory wins by 117 votes, 35-34-31.
13 (R) Knollenberg wins by 72 votes over Rocky and Moss 36-36-20.  Good.
13 (D) Ryan Fishman raised 211K and lost 55-45 to Cyndi Peltonen, who raised 7K.  Hahahaha!  Move to Safe R.
15 (R) Mike Kowall holds off Matt Maddock by a relatively narrow 50-43.
20 (R) Margaret O'Brien wins 77-23.
28 (R) MacGregor beats Green 68-32.
31 (R) Mike Green beats Kevin Daley 49-46.
32 (D) Oakes beats Lewis 62-38.
34 (R) Hansen beats Sundquist 62-38.
37 (R) Schmidt beats MacMaster 55-45.  Boo.  MacMaster only won Cheboygan County.

Michigan State House:
1 (D) Felon Brian Banks wins 43-36.
19 (R) Laura Cox wins easily 73-27.
36 (R) Lucido beats Grot 51-49.  UAW wins.
38 (R) Crawford beats Lauffer 59-41.
39 (R) Kesto holds off O'Hagan 55-39.
42 (R) Lana Theis beats Rich Perlberg 50-26.  Good.
43 (R) Tedder beats Schroeder and Aliaga 31-29-22.
44 (R) Runestad wins 36-33.  Good.
45 (R) Webber beats Avery 46-43.
46 (R) Jacobsen holds off Mark Reilly 56-44.
47 (R) Vaupel beats Day 42-37.
56 (R) Sheppard beats Kubiske 67-33.  Good.
58 (R) Eric Leutheuser win with 34%.
59 (R) Aaron Miller wins with 38%.  Complete shock.  Miller is a 27-year-old teacher and distant friend of mine.
60 (D) Jon Hoadley beats David Buskirk 59-27.  Gay beats union.
61 (R) Iden beats Stinchcomb 55-45.
62 (R) Bizon beats Kale 55-45. (D) Helmboldt wins with 39%.
63 (R) Maturen beats Potter 53-47.
65 (R) Roberts wins with 26%.
73 (R) Afendoulis wins with 36%.
76 (R) DeJonge beats Allard 44-37.
79 (R) Pscholka holds off Duran 66-34.
80 (R) Cindy Gamrat wins 42-29-25 with most in.  Good.
82 (R) Todd Courser beats Jan Peabody 37-33.
84 (R) Canfield wins with 31%.
86 (R) Lyons holds off Rigas 71-29.
90 (R) Garcia beats Haveman 50-30.
95 (D) Guerra beats Braddock 58-42.
98 (R) Gary Glenn beats Karl Ieuter 51-49.  Good.
104 (R) Larry Inman wins with 21%.
105 (R) Triston Cole romps 63-29.  Good.
107 (R) Lee Chatfield beats incumbent Frank Foster 54-46.  Big win for conservatives.

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

Saturday, August 02, 2014

2014 Michigan August Primary Preview

Michigan has no contested statewide primaries on the ballot on August 5.  Governor Rick Snyder and his democrat challenger Mark Schauer are unopposed.  So are US Senate candidates Terri Lynn Land and Gary Peters.  But there is plenty of action further down the ballot.  Polls close at 8PM Eastern except in the extreme western UP.

Results: SOS AP Election Magic

2014 Michigan Congressional Races
MI-1 (R) (Lean Benishek) In 2010, Dr. Dan Benishek won an open seat vacated by democrat Rep. Bart Stupak against democrat state Rep. Gary McDowell 52-41 and won the rematch 48.1-47.6 in 2012.  Benishek has generally voted with the leadership, displeasing some of his former Tea Party supporters.  He is being challenged by Tea Partyer Alan Arcand, who was seen as a longshot, but recently released a poll claiming that he leads 56-44.

MI-3 (R) (Likely Amash) Republican state rep. Justin Amash won the primary to replace moderate Republican Vern Ehlers, in 2010. He won 60-37 in 2010 and 53-44 in 2012 over former state rep Steve Pestka. Amash is a libertarian in the mold of Rep. Ron Paul. He has stepped on some toes in Washington, most notably getting into spats with the NRA and Michigan Right to Life.  He is being challenged in the primary by moderate businessman Brian Ellis, who has significant self-funding and support from the Chamber of Commerce.  Amash has support from AFP and Club for Growth.  A recent poll showed Amash leading 51-31.

MI-4 (R) (Tossup) Republican Dave Camp, who has been winning big margins in this district since 1990, is retiring.  Conservative state senator John Moolenaar of Midland and self-funding businessman Paul Mitchell are running.  Mitchell attacked Moolenaar (somewhat dishonestly) from the right, and spent his way to an early lead.  But Moolenaar has the support of the Midland establishment (including Camp and AG Bill Schuette), national conservatives such as Mike Lee and Rick Santorum, and Michigan Right to Life and NRA.  Recent polls have shown the race a tie.  Tea Party candidate Peter Konetchy, a businessman from Roscommon who ran for Senate in 2012, had announced a primary challenge to Camp, but has not attracted much support.

MI-6 (R) (Safe Upton) Moderate Republican Fred Upton is being challenged by libertarian Jim Bussler, who has not attracted much support.

MI-8 (R) (Lean Bishop) Republican Mike Rogers, who has won big margins since 2000, announced his retirement late in the cycle.  Former state senator Mike Bishop of NE Oakland is running. Tea Party favorite state rep. Tom McMillin announced that he will run for this seat rather than state senate.  Both are from Rochester Hills.
(D) (Likely Schertzing)  Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing is the preferred democrat candidate.  State demographer Ken Darga, CMU Professor Susan Grettenberger, and Jeffrey Hank are also running.

MI-11 (R)  (Lean Trott) Tea Party Republican Kerry Bentivolio became an "accidental congressman" in 2012 after incumbent Thad McCotter was disqualified in a petition fraud scandal. A coalition of establishment Republicans endorsed a write-in campaign by former state senator Nancy Cassis, but Bentivolio won 65-35.  He defeated democrat Canton Township Trustee Taj Syed 50.8-44.4.  Since then, Bentivolio has mostly kept his head down and voted a conservative line.  He is being challenged in the primary by foreclosure lawyer David Trott, who has the support of the Oakland County establishment.  Bentivolio has run a weak campaign and seems likely to lose.
(D) (Lean McKenzie) Democrats Bobby McKenzie, Nancy SkinnerAnil Kumar, and LaRouchie Bill Roberts are running.

MI-12 (D)  (Safe Dingell) Democrat John Dingell, in Congress for over 58 years since Eisenhower's first term, is finally retiring.  Dingell's wife Debbie Dingell is running to succeed him.  Attorney Ray Mullins is also running.

MI-13 (D) (Lean Conyers) This district has been represented by democrat John Conyers since 1964. Conyers' image has been tarnished since his wife Monica, formerly Detroit city council president, pled guilty to bribery and served time in federal prison.  Conyers won the 2012 primary 55% to 18% for Glenn Anderson, 13% for Shanelle Jackson, and 10% for Bert Johnson.  Conyers was nearly disqualified due to having signature gatherers who were not registered to vote, but a judge ordered him back on the ballot.  He is being challenged this year by Pastor Horace Sheffield, who has his own ethical problems.

MI-14 (D)  (Lean Clarke) This district had an interesting primary in 2012.  Congressman Gary Peters, first elected in 2008, ran here after his old 9th district was split into four pieces.  Peters did very well in endorsements and fundraising, and he won this majority black district 47-35-13 over fellow Congressman Hansen Clarke and Southfield mayor Brenda Lawrence.  Peters is now running for Senate, so the district is open.  Lawrence, state rep. Rudy Hobbs, Clarke, and Burgess Foster are running.  Hobbs has led in fundraising and endorsements but struggled to turn this into votes.  Clarke has a base of support in Detroit.

2014 Michigan State Senate Elections
All 38 Michigan state senate seats are up for election.  Ten seats are open, and several others have competitive primary challenges.
2. (D) (Safe Johnson) Bert Johnson is safe against dem-turned-independent John Olumba and several others.
4. (D) (Lean Smith) Virgil Smith is being challenged by Rep. Rashida Tlaib in the primary.  Smith has advantages in incumbency, geography, and race, but Tlaib has better fundraising.
5. (D) (Lean Knezek) State reps. David Nathan, David Knezek, Thomas Stallworth, and former rep. Shanelle Jackson are competing here.  Knezek, the only white rep, seems to have the edge based on fundraising.  Jackson is pro-life.
11. (D) (Lean Gregory) Vincent Gregory is a black democrat representing the dem areas of southern Oakland.  He had announced a run for Congress in the 14th district, but dropped out to seek reelection.  Two term-limited state reps, Vicki Barnett and Ellen Cogen Lipton, had announced for the open seat; both are staying in the race.
13. (R) (Tossup) Three former state reps are running for the seat of John Pappageorge.  Chuck Moss (Bloomfield Hills, 2006-2012) is an establishment favorite, but represents are fairly small part of the district.  Marty Knollenberg (Troy, 2006-2012), the son of former Congressman Joe Knollenberg, lost races for Oakland Treasurer (2012) and Troy Mayor (2013).  Rocky Raczkowski represented a completely different district (Farmington, 1996-2002) before moving to Troy.  He lost races for US Senate (2002) and Congress (2010), but has the support of Pappageorge.
(D) (Likely Fishman) Ryan Fishman, a 25-year-old lawyer who claims to be a former Republican, has strong fundraising and is favored over Cyndi Peltonen.
15. (R) (Likely Kowall) Mike Kowall is being challenged by Tea Party candidate Matt Maddock.
28. (R) (Likely MacGregor) Mark Jansen is term-limited here.  Peter MacGregor is a state rep (2010-2014) from North Kent.  Kevin Green was a state rep (2004-2010) from Wyoming.
31. (R) (Lean Green) Mike Green is the strongest gun rights advocate in the state senate.  He voted against Right to Work, likely for political reasons in this union-friendly district. He will face a primary against conservative state rep. Kevin Daley.
32. (D) (Lean Oakes) Stacy Erwin Oakes, a black state rep (2010-2014) from Saginaw, will battle Garnet Lewis, a white progressive lesbian for the democrat nomination.
37. (R) (Lean MacMaster) Howard Walker unexpectedly retired, opening up this district.  Two Republican state reps elected in 2010, conservative Greg MacMaster (2010-2014) and moderate Wayne Schmidt (2008-2014, Grand Traverse) are running.  Schmidt has huge fundraising, but MacMaster has more endorsements and grassroots support.

2014 Michigan State House Races
There are 40 open seats in the Michigan state house due to term limits.  There are also many primary challenges by Tea Party candidates against incumbent Republicans and democrat primaries against incumbents in Detroit.  There are way to many to list here; see the post for a complete rundown.

Proposal 1 (Tossup) This proposal, which was put on the ballot by the legislature, would repeal the "Personal Property Tax", which is a tax on business equipment.  It would be replaced by other taxes.  The proposal has institutional support across the political spectrum, but voter confusion could lead to its defeat.

Wayne County Executive (Tossup) Wayne CE Robert Ficano has been plagued by scandals and is highly unpopular.  He faces eleven (!) challengers.  Former Sheriff Warren Evans has the support of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.  Westland Mayor William Wild has the support of the business community.  The other credible candidates are state rep. Phil Cavanaugh and Wayne County Commissioner Kevin McNamara, son of the infamous Ed McNamara.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Jim Lefler for Oshtemo Trustee

In the special election for Oshtemo Trustee, Jim Lefler is the clear choice.

Oshtemo Trustees are elected to four year terms in presidential years.  David Bushouse was a trustee for 16 years who was narrowly defeated in 2012.  Shortly after the election, one of the winning candidates resigned, and Bushouse was appointed to fill the vacancy until a 2014 special election.

Bushouse is nominally a Republican, but he has never had any involvement with the local Republican party.  His record as a trustee does not clearly distinguish him from the democrats.

There are several serious issues with how the incumbent trustees are managing the township.

1. They pushed through a special assessment for additional police protection but never negotiated an agreement with the Sheriff.  Thus we are not receiving the additional protection that we are being assessed for.

2. They have a fund balance on hand that is far higher than what is appropriate for sound fiscal management.

3. They created a "Downtown Development Authority" that collects money but so far has done nothing but buy a defunct gas station at Stadium and 9th and do nothing with it.

4. They are now trying to create another authority along the Drake Road corridor that would collect tax money and do who knows what with it.

The existing board in Oshtemo is widely disliked by other local government officials.  They are mismanaging taxpayers' money.  Dave Bushouse has been on the board for 18 years and he will not be part of the solution.

Jim Lefler is a smart, fearless conservative who will shake up the existing clique on the Oshtemo board.  He has significant financial experience in business.  He is the leader of the VanKal Tea Party Patriots and is active in the Kalamazoo GOP.  He deserves the support of conservatives on August 5.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cindy Gamrat for State Representative

The following is an (edited) message from former state rep. Jack Hoogendyk.

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There is a hotly contested primary race in Allegan County; the election is one week from today. Two women are running for the Republican nomination in the 80th district seat currently held by conservative Christian, Bob Genetski. He has represented his district well over the last six years. His principles and ideals and his voting record have reflected the principles and ideals of his district.

Bob has stated that Cindy is a good conservative and spoke at her event last week.

Before Bob Genetski, Fulton Sheen served the 80th district for six years. During that time, he was rated one of the most consistently conservative members in the legislature. He too, represented Allegan County well. Fulton Sheen is wholeheartedly endorsing Cindy Gamrat for state representative.

Next week, voters in the 80th district have the opportunity to carry on that tradition by electing Cindy Gamrat as their Republican candidate for state representative.

As someone who served six years in the state legislature, right alongside Fulton Sheen, and as virtually the only legislator to ever be rated MORE conservative that Fulton Sheen, (we traded that honor back and forth!), I can tell you that the right choice for the 80th district is Cindy Gamrat and that is why I endorse Cindy Gamrat for state representative.

I know Cindy Gamrat and I can confidently encourage voters of the 80th district to cast your ballot for Cindy Gamrat next Tuesday. Whether you live in the district or not, you can help. Knock on doors for Cindy this week and say a prayer for her as she continues working hard to earn the vote in Allegan County.
Pancake Breakfast

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Michigan State House Fundraising

July 25 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.  Ratings are included.  Based on fundraising, 52 and 110 move to safe D, and 91 moves to tossup.

1. (D) Banks 26K Thompson 55K (12K self)
19. (R) (Likely Cox) Cox 62K Crider 21K (20K self)
21. (Lean D) (R) Fausonne 58K (D) Mathis ? Mosher 63K Pagan 88K (23K self)
23. (Lean R) (R) Somerville 118K (D) Haener 5K Linko 36K Ptaszynski $100
25. (Lean D) (R) Hawatmeh 47K (D) Yanez 96K
30. (Lean R) (R) Farrington 82K (D) Bogdan waiver Karpinsky 28K
36. (R) (Lean Grot) Grot 98K (32K self) Lucido 251K (136K self)
38. (R) (Likely Crawford) Lauffer 17K (13K self) Crawford 47K
39. (Lean R) (R) (Lean Kesto) Kesto 199K O'Hagan 23K (D) Colvin 31K
41. (Lean R) (R) Howrylak 72K (D) Kerwin 32K
42. (R) (Likely Theis) Fiani 4K Perlberg 32K (15K self) Rogers 2K Theis 80K
43. (R) (Tossup) Aliaga 14K Knapper 10K Schroeder 47K (32K self) Tedder  47K (31K self)
44. (R) (Likely Runestad) Runestad 82K Fessler Smith ? Garlick 13K Tierney 52K
45. (R) (Lean Webber) Avery 26K Mangiapane $484 Webber 29K
46. (R) (Likely Jacobsen) Jacobsen 128K Reilly 20K
47. (R) (Tossup) Campbell 30K Day 32K Vaupel 82K (58K self)
52. (Safe D) (R) Hochstetler waiver (D) Driskell 129K
56. (Lean R) (R) (Likely Sheppard) Sheppard 36K Kubiske 34K (16K self) (D) Redmond 24K
57. (Lean R) (R) Jenkins 61K (D) Wimple 19K
58. (R) (Tossup) Benzing 12K Haberl 17K Jacques 4K Leutheuser 34K (10K self) Nottingham 2K Ray 34K (33K self)
59. (R) (Lean Bippus) Bippus 169K (160K self) Miller 10K Rathburn 58K (37K self) Sills 17K
60. (D) (Lean Buskirk) Buskirk 53K Goodacre 5K Hoadley 138K
61. (R) (Tossup) Iden 56K Stinchcomb 32K (D) Fisher 20K
62. (Lean D) (R) (Tossup) Bizon 105K (65K self) Kale 34K
    (D) (Lean Todd) Helmboldt 11K Morgan 9K Todd 5K
63. (R) (Lean Potter) Maturen 46K (25K self) Potter 46K (40K self) (D) Farmer 23K
65. (R) (tossup) Calhoun 27K (23K self) Moretz 25K (18K self) Roberts 49K (46K self) Stormont 20K (10K self) Sutherby (7K self)
71. (Tossup) (R) Barrett 55K (D) Abed 92K
72. (R) (Likely Yonker) Hudson 18K (15K self) Yonker 47K
73. (R) (Lean Afendoulis) Afendoulis 95K Decker 31K (10K self) Norton 23K (10K self) Pfaff 27K (12K self) Regan 29K (23K self)
76. (Lean D) (R) (Tossup) Allard 34K (19K self) DeJonge 43K (10K self) (D) Brinks 131K
79. (R) (Lean Pscholka) Duran 16K Pscholka 135K
80. (R) (Lean Gamrat) Gamrat 39K Schulz 40K (26K self) Whiteford 62K (43K self)
82. (R) (Tossup) Courser 27K (23K self) Hunsanger 10K Peabody 59K (29K self) Smith 13K
84. (R) (Tossup) Boehmer 8K Canfield 71K (15K self) Damrow 4K Grimshaw 6K Jobe 10K (6K self) Wassa 35K (33K self) Wencel 60K (50K self) (D) Jaroch 14K
86. (R) (Likely Lyons) Lyons 64K Rigas 6K
90. (R) (Lean Garcia) Garcia 63K Harmsen 5K Haveman 7K (6K self) Kroll waiver
91. (Tossup) (R) (Safe Hughes) Erb 1K Hughes 195K (100K self) Riekse ? (D) Lamonte 145K
95. (D) Braddock 8K Guerra 14K
98. (R) (Lean Glenn) Glenn 171K (26K self) Ieuter 151K
101. (Lean R) (R) Franz 78K (D) Stobie 86K
104. (R) (Tossup) Callahan 26K Hentschel 5K Hinton (28K self) Inman 40K (24K self) Lundy 2K Renny 35K (25K self) Vore 13K Wunsch 39K (29K self)
105. (R) (Lean Cole) Cole 37K Cutler 25K Vickory 3K
107. (R) (Tossup) Chatfield 74K (25k self) Foster 116K
110. (Safe D) (R) Michaels $0 (D) Dianda 77K

Friday, July 25, 2014

Michigan State Senate Fundraising

The deadline for pre-primary campaign finance reports for the Michigan state legislature was July 25.  The following details the amount raised in competitive primary elections, and cash on hand (COH) in competitive general elections.  Ratings for the races are included.  Districts 29 and 38 move to safe R based on fundraising.

2. (D) Safe Johnson
Bert Johnson: 60K
John Olumba: waiver
Georgia Lemmons: waiver

4. (D) Lean Smith
Virgil Smith: 164K
Rashida Tlaib: 230K

5. (D) Lean Knezek
David Nathan: 34K
David Knezek: 109K
Shanelle Jackson: ?
Thomas Stallworth: ?

7. Lean R
Pat Colbeck (R) 214K (28K COH)
Dian Slavens (D) 114K (101K COH)

11. (D) Lean Gregory
Vincent Gregory: 55K
Vicki Barnett: 56K
Ellen Cogen Lipton: 150K

13. Lean R
(R) Tossup
Chuck Moss: 179K (89K COH)
Marty Knollenberg: 50K (3K COH)
Rocky Raczkowski: 70K (12K COH)
Al Gui: waiver
Ethan Baker: 20K (3K COH)
(D) Likely Fishman
Ryan Fishman: 211K (74K COH)
Cyndi Peltonen: 7K ($352 COH)

15. (R) Likely Kowall
Mike Kowall: 290K
Matt Maddock: 68K (28K self)

17. Tossup
Dale Zorn (R) 125K (74K COH)
Doug Spade (D) 81K (56K COH)

20. Tossup
Margaret O'Brien (R) 173K (120K COH)
Sean McCann (D) 268K (209K COH)
Lorence Wenke (L) (3K COH)

24. Safe R
Rick Jones (R) 149K (62K COH)
Dawn Levey (D) 35K (33K COH)

25. Safe R
Phil Pavlov (R) 175K (144K COH)
Terry Brown (D) 42K (26K COH)

28. (R) Likely MacGregor
Peter MacGregor: 273K (119K COH)
Kevin Green: 19K (15K self)

29. Safe R (change from likely R)
Dave Hildenbrand (R) 278K (204K COH)
(D)
Penny Lance: 8K (5K COH)
Michael Scruggs: waiver

31. Likely R
(R) Lean Green
Mike Green: 315K (153K COH)
Kevin Daley: 57K (11K COH)
Ron Mindykowski (D) 24K (9K COH)

32. Tossup
Ken Horn (R) 190K (96K COH)
(D) Lean Oakes
Stacy Erwin Oakes: 207K (119K COH)
Garnet Lewis: 96K (33K COH)

34. Lean R
(R) Safe Hansen
Geoff Hansen: 301K (249K COH)
Nick Sundquist: 17K (1K COH)
Cathy Forbes (D) 80K (67K COH)

37. (R) Lean MacMaster
Greg McMaster: 60K (11K COH)
Wayne Schmidt: 313K (72K COH)

38. Safe R (change from likely R)
Tom Casperson: 303K R, 135K COH
(D)
Chris Lamarche: ?
Christopher Germain: 1K ($560 COH)

Madison Project Michigan Endorsements (Round 2)

The Madison Project Michigan has issued its second and final list of endorsements for the August 2014 primary election. The first list is here. We encourage conservatives across Michigan to vote for these candidates and to donate to the Madison Project Michigan.

House District 38 Dan Lauffer, Republican - Walled Lake
Dan Lauffer is a retired pastor and college professor. He is running on opposition to Medicaid expansion and tax increases. He faces a competitive primary against Kathy Crawford in a safely Republican district.

House District 56 Jason Sheppard, Republican - Lambertville
Jason Sheppard is a Monroe County commissioner and business owner. He is running on a solidly conservative platform. He is solely endorsed by Michigan Right to Life. He faces a contested primary in this highly competitive district.

House District 58 Jeff Jacques, Republican - Jonesville
Jeff Jacques is a small businessman with an economics degree from Hillsdale College. He is running on a solidly conservative platform. He faces a competitive primary in a safely Republican district.

House District 59 John Bippus, Republican - Three Rivers
John Bippus is a former St. Joseph County commissioner and current road commission chairman. He has advocated for fiscally conservative policies. He is solely endorsed by Michigan Right to Life. He faces a competitive primary in a safely Republican district.

House District 65 Robert Sutherby, Republican - Jackson
Robert Sutherby is a Leoni Township Trustee and local businessman. He is running on opposition to tax increases. He is solely endorsed by Michigan Right to Life. He faces a competitive primary in a safely Republican district.

House District 72 Gabe Hudson, Republican - Byron Center
Gabe Hudson was a career US Army soldier and Vietnam veteran. He is running on opposition to Medicaid expansion and Common Core. He is challenging moderate incumbent Republican Ken Yonker in the primary in this safely Republican district.

House District 73 Frank Pfaff, Republican - Comstock Park
Frank Pfaff is a US Army veteran and salesman in the jewelry industry. He is a solid fiscal and social conservative. He faces a competitive primary in a safely Republican district.

House District 79 Cindy Duran, Republican - St. Joseph
Cindy Duran is a registered nurse and conservative activist in Berrien County. She is passionately opposed to Medicaid expansion and Common Core. She is challenging moderate incumbent Republican Al Pscholka, who supported Medicaid expansion and Common Core, in the primary. The district leans Republican in the general election.

House District 90 Geoff Haveman, Republican - Hudsonville
Geoff Haveman is a lawyer and Republican activist. He is running on a strong limited government platform. He faces a competitive primary in a safely Republican district. (Note that David Kroll is also an acceptable candidate in this race.)

House District 105 Triston Cole, Republican - Mancelona
Triston Cole is a small business owner and family farmer. He has successfully advocated for legislation that reduced regulations on farming and trucking. He faces a competitive primary in a safely Republican district.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

John Bippus for State Representative

The best choice for conservatives in Michigan's 59th state house district is John Bippus.

The district is being vacated by moderate Matt Lori due to term limits.  The district contains all of St. Joseph and the majority of Cass Counties.

There are four Republican candidates to replace him.  John Bippus is a St. Joseph County road commissioner and former county commissioner.  Roger Rathburn is the Three Rivers school superintendent.  Bob Sills is a former legislative staffer and Republican activist.  Aaron Miller is a teacher.

Bippus is solely endorsed by Michigan Right to Life, which means that at least one of the other candidates in the race is not pro-life.  Voting for one of the other candidates risks splitting pro-life vote and allowing a pro-abortion candidate to win. 

Bippus is tied (with Miller) for the highest pro-gun rating from NRA and MCRGO.  Bippus is a fiscal conservative who privatized a county-run nursing home during his time on the county commission.  He is worthy of conservative support.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Vic Potter for State Representative

Conservatives have a clear choice for state representative in Michigan's 63rd district: Vic Potter.

Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger is term-limited in the 63rd district, which encompasses eastern Kalamazoo and southern Calhoun Counties.  The population is about evenly split between the two counties.

There are two Republican candidates running.  Vic Potter is a businessman (towing) and president of the Marshall School Board in Calhoun County.  David Maturen is the chairman of the Kalamazoo County Commission.  Maturen represents only Brady and Pavilion Townships in the 63rd district.

Potter is a solid conservative who saved money for the Marshall School district.  Maturen is a 'good government' moderate who has long opposed conservatives in the Republican party.  Potter is solely endorsed by Michigan Right to Life; Maturen is pro-abortion.  Potter has significantly higher ratings from pro-gun groups (NRA and MCRGO) than Maturen does.  Potter would be a stronger supporter of limited government than Maturen.

Vic Potter deserves the support of conservatives in the 63rd state house district.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Phil Stinchcomb for State Representative

In the Republican primary for state representative in the 61st district, conservatives have a clear choice: Phil Stinchcomb.

The district is being vacated by Margaret O'Brien, who is running for state senate.  There are two Republican candidates: Phil Stinchcomb and Brandt Iden.  Both are Kalamazoo County Commissioners who were first elected in 2010.  However, they have different approaches to politics.

Phil Stinchcomb is a principled conservative who will vote for conservative values even when it isn't convenient.  His focus in office has been reforming the property tax system, including the way that home values are assessed.  This may not be the most glamorous issue, but it has a real impact on many homeowners.  In the process, he attracted the ire of many local government officials worried that fixing property tax assessments would threaten their budgets.

Similarly, Phil can be counted on to vote against Medicaid expansion, Common Core, gas tax increases, and corporate welfare, unlike many Republicans in Lansing.  This blog is not aware of Brandt Iden having taken positions on these issues.  Phil has higher ratings on gun rights from both the National Rifle Association and Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners.

None of this should imply that Brandt Iden is a bad guy.  But his short career in politics so far suggests that he would go along to get along, and support bad legislation if it would be politically convenient.  Iden also touts his endorsements from various business lobbies.  But while these groups support some good things, they also support all sorts of corporate welfare spending, subsidies, and tax loopholes.  Their support for Iden suggests that he is likely to do the same.

Phil Stinchcomb would be a consistent defender of the free market, right to life, gun rights, and family values.  Conservatives should give him their support on August 5.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Invading Vassar

The border crisis is coming to Michigan, as the government is shipping some of the invaders to the small town of Vassar in Tuscola County.

MI: SOUTHERN BORDER IMMIGRATION CRISIS COMES TO VASSAR
The current crisis on the southern border, involving tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, has now become a concern for Michiganders who live in a rural community with less than 3000 people.

Wolverine Human Services, a social services agency which typically helps needy Michigan children, is in the process of securing a contract and negotiating with the Office of Refugee Resettlement to bring between 60- 120 male illegal immigrants, between the ages of 12-17, to the small city of Vassar without any input from residents of the community.

Mattawan Divided

Julie Mack has a long article on the alleged divide in the Mattawan School District between Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

Mattawan quest for new schools is partly struggle between rural working-class and affluent suburbanites

It starts with the usual wailing about how much the district needs new buildings.
Yet while Mattawan is one of the region's most affluent school districts, it arguably has among the worst facilities -- particularly the drab, half-century-old elementary school complex on Murray Street, which serves almost 2,000 students in grades K-5. The buildings are routinely described as severely overcrowded and sorely outdated.

School supporters say such facilities are an embarrassment in a district known for its stellar academics and programs. Indeed, the school system is one of the biggest magnets drawing new residents into the area.
How is it possible that Mattawan has "stellar academics and programs" when its facilities are "severely overcrowded and sorely outdated"?  Has anyone considered the possibility that facilities don't make much difference in student outcomes?

So what is the divide?  The article notes that the Kalamazoo side is richer:
Currently, Kalamazoo County accounts for 60 percent of the district's voters, 69 percent of the district's tax base and is the residence of four of the seven school board members
And zero percent of the district's schools, curiously.

However, opposition to tax increases is stronger on the Van Buren side.
In the May 2011 election, the Van Buren and Kalamazoo precincts each had the same number of "no" votes -- 1,047. But there were 1,081 "yes" votes in Kalamazoo County, compared to 610 in Van Buren County.

In the November 2011 election, which had higher turnout, the bond proposal was defeated by 52 percent of the voters in Kalamazoo County and 59 percent in Van Buren.
So it is the richer people pushing for a tax increase and the poorer people resisting, which is the opposite of the usual class warfare narrative.

Here are a couple more statistics.  Julie Mack quotes three supporters of the millage and zero opponents.  Also, 100% of the authors of the article obviously support the millage.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Madison Project Michigan Endorsements (Round 1)

The Madison Project Michigan has just issued its first round of endorsements.

Our values are Pro-Life, Pro-Family, Limited Government, Defenders of Religious Freedom. We only endorse candidates who clearly demonstrate their conservatism. We evaluate every House and Senate race in Michigan, and our endorsements are only extended to key competitive races which have a strong conservative candidate with the ability to win.

The Madison Project Michigan PAC raises money for conservative candidates through our network of grassroots conservatives. We provide our members with campaign profiles of selected candidates, and contributions to the PAC are used to support those candidates.

Please DONATE to the Madison Project Michigan PAC to help us elect solid conservatives in Michigan.

ENDORSED CANDIDATES (more endorsements will follow soon):

Senate District 7 Patrick Colbeck, Republican - Canton              
Senator Patrick Colbeck is a leading conservative voice in the Michigan state senate.  He was first elected in 2010, defeating several more established politicians.  He immediately became a champion for Right to Work, building a coalition that eventually saw the bill passed and signed into law in 2012.  He also led the effort to stop Medicaid expansion in Michigan and has been a reliable vote for conservative causes.  He faces a primary challenge, but his main battle will be in the general election.  He is being targeted by democrats and unions, and his opponent will be democrat State rep. Dian Slavens.

House District 42 Lana Theis, Republican -  Brighton                LanaFrontPagePic.jpg
Lana Theis is Brighton Township Treasurer and former Chairwoman of the Livingston GOP.  She has been a leading advocate for conservative causes for many years, including limiting government's power to raise taxes.  She is solely endorsed by Michigan Right to Life.  She faces a primary that includes a liberal "Republican" who endorsed Obama and raising taxes.  The district is safely Republican.
 
House District 43 Jose Aliaga, Republican - Clarkston                 
Jose Aliaga is an Independence Township Trustee who is also a teacher.  He has advocated for conservative causes in both Independence Township and across the state.  He faces a competitive primary in a safely Republican district.

House District 44 Jim Runestad, Republican - Waterford         
Jim Runestad is an Oakland County Commissioner and small business owner.  He led the effort to mandate E-verify for county contractors, to ensure that these jobs go to American citizens.  He has also advocated for fiscal responsibility and civil liberties on the county commission.  He faces a competitive primary in this safely Republican district.

House District  47  Wendy Day, Republican - Howell                 
Wendy Day is a former Howell School Board Trustee who fought to bring transparency and fiscal accountability to the district.  She also ran the Tea Party group Common Sense in Government which helped to eliminate the illegal SEIU ripoff of home health care workers. She faces a competitive primary in this safely Republican district.  (Note that Phil Campbell is also an acceptable candidate in this race.)

House District 61 Phil Stinchcomb, Republican - Portage       
Phil Stinchcomb has been a Kalamazoo County Commissioner since 2010.  He is a sales representative selling steel to manufacturers.  He has been a leading advocate for property tax reform and fair valuation of housing.  He faces a competitive primary in this fairly Republican house district.  See Phil's Announcement Video here.

House District 71 Tom Barrett, Republican - Potterville               
Tom Barrett is a US Army veteran who has served three tours overseas, including one in Iraq.  He is a longtime conservative activist who has fought for many conservative causes and candidates across the state.  He is not opposed in the primary.  He is challenging liberal democrat State rep Theresa Abed in the general election in this highly competitive district.

House District 80 Cindy Gamrat, Republican - Plainwell            
Cindy Gamrat is a Registered Nurse and homeschool mom.  She is also the founder of the Plainwell Patriots TEA Party group. She has advocated for many conservative causes across the state.  Cindy faces a competitive primary in this safely Republican district.

House District  98  Gary Glenn, Republican - Midland               
Gary Glenn is a longtime conservative activist in Michigan.  He is President of the American Family Association of Michigan.  He was the author of the Michigan Marriage Amendment passed by public vote in 2004.  He was a leader of the Michigan Freedom to Work Coalition which helped to pass Michigan's Right to Work law in 2012.  He faces a competitive primary in this safely Republican district.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Mattawan v Taxpayers, Round Three

Mattawan School District is back for a third try at raising taxes.

Mattawan school board moves to put $75M-$80M in bond requests on November ballot
Proposal 1 would seek $59 to $62 million for new construction to replace Mattawan Early Elementary and Mattawan Later Elementary schools.

Proposal 2 would seek $16 to $18 million to build additions at the middle and high school, and upgrade building technology and security systems as well as the purchase of new school buses.

Proposal 1 would increase taxes by 2.4 to 2.7 mills, and Proposal 2 by 1.1 to 1.2 mills. On a home with a taxable value of $100,000 and a market value of $200,000, Proposal 1 would increase taxes by $240 to $270 and Proposal 2 by $110 to $120.
This is Mattawan's third try at a tax increase.
In May 2011, 55 percent of voters rejected a $88 million bond proposal that would have raised taxes by 3.88 mills and paid for construction of two new elementaries plus upgrades to the middle and high school.

Six months later, in November 2011, 55 percent of voters rejected a $60 million bond proposal to replace the two elementary schools.
Why are Mattawan's facilities 'overcrowded'?  Well, as of two years ago, Mattawan took in 469 students from outside the district.  Despite the supposedly terrible facilities, Mattawan is still considered to have 'good schools', since this is really a function of who the students are, not what the facilities are.

Yes means yes; no means try again.

Previous:
Vote NO on the Mattawan Tax Hike
No Means Try Again
Mattawan Lies about Kindergarten Mandate
Mattawan Schools Enroll 469 Outside Students
Arlen Winther for Mattawan School Board

Vote YES on Proposal 1

The Detroit News explains proposal 1, which will appear on the August ballot.

-------------------------------

Editorial: Vote yes on Prop 1

■Prop 1 would repeal Michigan’s Personal Property Tax, which is levied on business equipment.

■The Personal Property Tax, or PPT, is arcane and has been eliminated in all of our neighboring states. The fact that Michigan retains the tax makes it less competitive for jobs and investment.

■The PPT is a double tax that discourages businesses to add the equipment needed to create jobs. Employers must pay the sales tax on whatever they buy, and then pay the PPT every year the equipment is in use.

■Passing Prop 1 will not result in a tax increase for individuals.

■Tax revenue lost to local communities, which are the primary beneficiaries of the PPT, will be replaced by expiring business tax credits. There will also be a new special assessment on businesses to recoup some of the PPT dollars.

Alamo Recall is On

Alamo Supervisor Lou Conti and Trustee Dawn-Potter Williams will face a recall election is November.

Recall of Alamo Township supervisor, trustee headed to November ballot after petition signatures verified
The recall election will operate differently than in years past due to new laws instituted in 2012, according to Snow.

In prior years, a "yes or no" recall question accompanied by petition language would appear on the November ballot to determine whether or not a municipality supported the recall, according to Snow. If a recall was approved, then another election would be held to find a replacement for the remainder of the term.

Under the new law, Snow said, there will now be only one election. Democrats have until 5 p.m. July 7 to nominate an opponent to run against Conti and any other citizens seeking to run as nonaffiliated candidates must also file by that date. Snow said he has not received notification from the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party yet as to whether or not they plan to nominate a candidate.
Previous:
Recall the Alamo?
Bad Idea