The filing deadline for the 2010 elections has passed. Michigan's top constitutional offices, congressional seats, and the entire state legislature will be up for election next November.
2010 Unofficial Primary Candidate Listing
Democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm is term-limited. She is fairly unpopular due to the state of Michigan's economy on her watch. Both parties will pick nominees in primaries in August. Republicans have a good chance of picking up this seat.
On the democrat side, Lieutenant Governor John Cherry was seen as the clear favorite, but dropped out due to the widespread perception that he could not win the general election. The candidates are state house speaker Andy Dillon of Redford and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. Dillon is nominally pro-life and is seen as somewhat pro-business. Bernero is seen as more pro-union and 'progressive'.
The Republicans in the race are Attorney General Mike Cox, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, Second district Congressman Pete Hoekstra, State Senator Tom George of Kalamazoo County, and businessman Rick Snyder. See this post for a more detailed analysis of the candidates and their positions: The Race for Governor.
Of all the candidates, only Cox has signed a pledge not to increase taxes, while the others have refused to do so.
The Race for Governor
Republican Michigander Endorses Mike Cox
Mike Cox Runs for Governor
George for Governor?
Rick Snyder's Ten Platitudes
Current Republican Attorney General Mike Cox is term limited and is running for governor. Both parties will nominate candidates at conventions in August. Democrats have endorsed Genessee County Prosecutor David Leyton to be their nominee. He won a close battle with trial lawyer David Bernstien.
There are two candidates on the Republican side. There are former Michigan Court of Appeals Judge, state senator, and congressman Bill Scheutte from the Midland area, and state senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop from northeastern Oakland County. Both Scheute and Bishop are generally considered conservative.
Secretary of State
Current Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is term limited. After flirting with a run for governor, she instead endorsed Mike Bouchard, and is running with him for lieutenant governor. WSU professor Jocelyn Bensen has been endorsed for the democrat nomination.
There are five Republican candidates seeking nomination at the state convention in August. They are state senator Cameron Brown from St. Joseph County, state senator Michelle McManus from the northwestern lower peninsula, Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson, and Calhoun County Clerk Anne Norlander, and state rep. Paul Scott from southern Genesse County.
Most of the candidates appear fairly conservative and reasonably close on the issues. Scott, who is 27, is also running for reelection as state representative, and has the support of the Yob faction of the state party.
Michigan Supreme Court
There are two seats up for election on the Michigan Supreme Court. They are those of conservative Republican Robert Young and renegade moderate Republican Elizabeth Weaver. Young is running for reelection. It isn't clear whether Weaver will run for reelection and if so, whether it will be as a Republican. Weaver has been bitterly hostile to the conservatives on the court. Weaver is currently the swing vote on the court between three conservatives and three liberal democrats, after conservative Cliff Taylor was defeated in 2008. Several other Republican candidates are running. It isn't clear yet who the democrats will nominate.
Other Statewide Offices
One or two seats on the state Board of Education and boards of trustees of U of M, MSU, and WSU will be up for election. Andrew Richner is running for reelection to the U of M Board. Incumbent Don Nugent, Mitch Lyons, and Brian Breslin are running for the MSU board. It isn't clear yet who else will run for these seats. Democrats have swept these elections in 2006 and 2008.
Michigan Congressional Seats
Democrats picked up two Michigan congressional districts in 2008. These will be highly contested seats in 2010. Long-time incumbents Bart Stupak, Pete Hoekstra, and Vern Ehlers are retiring. Most other seats will be safe for the incumbent party. Several other districts may see competitive primaries.
1st District (Upper Peninsula, Northern Lower Peninsula) Toss-up.
Democrat Bart Stupak announced his retirement shortly after voting for Obamacare. While Stupak held this seat for 18 years, it is politically competitive and has been won by Republicans in the past. The democrat nominee will be state rep. Gary McDowell, who is nominally pro-life and pro-gun, after democrats forced all the other candidates (Joel Sheltrown, Connie Saltonstall, Matt Gillard) out of the race. There are six Republican candidates. They are State Senator Jason Allen, Doctor Dan Benishek, Patrick Donlon, Ron Paul supporter Linda Goldthorpe, frequent candidate Don Hooper, and Tea Party member Tom Stallings. Allen has represented much of the district in the state senate but only recently moved into it. He and Benishek are the most likely Republican candidates.
2nd District (Holland/Muskegon) Safe Republican.
Republican Pete Hoekstra is giving up this seat to run for Governor. This seat is safely Republican, probably the most heavily Republican in Michigan. Seven Republicans are seeking the nomination. They are state senator Wayne Kuipers, former state rep. Bill Huizinga, businessman Bill Cooper, former NFL player and Family Research Council official Jay Riemersma, Chris Larson, Field Reichardt, and Tea Party member Ted Schendel. The first four are the most competitive. All four are generally considered conservative, and there aren't many known issue differences between them. Democrats will choose between Fred Johnson and Nicolette McClure.
3rd District (Kent County) Safe Republican.
Republican moderate Vern Ehlers is retiring. Five Republicans are seeking to replace him. They are conservative state rep. and Tea Party favorite Justin Amash, state senator Bill Hardiman, former Kent County Commissioner Steve Heacock, Louise Johnson, and Bob Overbeek. Democrats will choose between Paul Mayhue and Pat Miles.
6th District (Kalamazoo/St. Joseph) Safe Republican.
Moderate Republican Fred Upton is running for a 13th term. He is being challenged by staunch conservative former state rep. Jack Hoogendyk, who has support from local Tea Party groups. The democrat candidate will be Kalamazoo City Commissioner Don Cooney, who lost to Upton in 2008 by over 20%.
7th District (Battle Creek/Jackson) Toss-up.
Democrat Mark Schauer very narrowly defeated Republican Congressman Tim Walberg 49-46 in a hard-fought and bitter race in 2008. In 2009, Republicans picked up the senate seat that Schauer vacated by a landslide 61-34 margin. Now Walberg is seeking to reclaim his seat. He is the clear favorite for the Republican nomination, though he will face Iraq veteran Brian Rooney and Marvin Carlson in the primary. Schauer has compiled a highly liberal voting record in Washington, supporting socialized medicine, cap-and-trade, the Obama stimulus plan, and more.
9th District (eastern Oakland County) Leans Democrat.
Democrat Gary Peters won this seat by defeating Republican Joe Knollenberg by a wide margin. Four Republican candidates are seeking the nomination. They are former Oakland County GOP chairman Paul Welday, former state rep. Rocky Rachowski, Anna Janek, and Richard Kuhn.
12th District (Warren, Southfield) Safe Democrat.
Longtime Congressman Sander Levin is being challenged by state senator Michael Switalski. There do not appear to be major issue differences between the two.
13th District (eastern Detroit) Safe Democrat.
Democrat Carolyn Kilpatrick won a three-way primary with less than a majority in 2008 after her son, former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sent to prison. She is being challenged by five other democrats, including state senator Hansen Clarke and pastor Glen Plummer.
All 38 seats in the Michigan state senate are up for election, and 29 have no incumbent due to term limits. Republicans succently hold a 22-16 advantage after winning a 2009 special election to replace Mark Schauer. Democrats will likely target Republican-held seats in Kalamazoo County, Grand Rapids, the northeastern lower peninsula, Muskegon County, and western Wayne County. Republicans will target democrat-held seats in southern Genessee County, the Thumb, central Macomb county, and Livonia.
Michigan Senate Races
This district includes all of Kalamazoo County and a small part of VanBuren county. Republican Senator Tom George is leaving due to term limits. There are contested races on both sides. On the democrat side, state Rep. Robert Jones of Kalamazoo is the clear favorite. He faces law professor Robert Totten. Both are liberals.
On the Republican side, there are three candidates. They are former state rep. Lorence Wenke, who represented about 55,000 people in the 21st district on the east side of Kalamazoo county 2002-2008, state rep. Tonya Schuitmaker, who has represented about 30,000 people in the 21st district in VanBuren County since 2004, and state rep. Larry DeShazor, who has represented about 90,000 people on the west side of Kalamazoo county since 2008. All three are moderate to conservative. Wenke is a major 'gay rights' supporter who has voted for some tax increases, while Schuitmaker and DeShazor both oppose making English the official language of Michigan and voted to ban smoking in restaurants and bars.
The state senate seats surrounding Kalamazoo County are safely Republican. Mike Nofs should easily hold the 19th district [Calhoun, Jackson Counties] while the seats vacated by Cameron Brown [St. Joseph, Branch, Hillsdale, Lenewaee Counties], Ron Jelenik [Berrien, VanBuren, Cass Counties] and Patty Birkholz [Allegan, Barry, Eaton Counties] should stay Republican.
All 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives are up for election. Democrats currently have a 67-43 majority. Republicans will likely target a number of seats that they lost over the past three cycles.
Area State House Races
The above post examines local state house races in greater detail. Most local state house races are not especially competitive.
Kalamazoo County Commission
All 17 seats on the Kalamazoo County Commission will be up for election. Democrats hold a 9-8 edge. Republicans will target democrats John Niewenhuis in Oshtemo Township and Michael Quinn in central Portage. Democrats may target Ann Niewenhuis in Comstock Township and Nasim Ansari in northern Portage. The races are examined in greater detail in the following post.
Kalamazoo County Commission Races