Cross-posted at The Western Right, Right Michigan, and Red Racing Horses.
This is a guide to the key races in Michigan's August primary.
US Senate The biggest race is the battle for the Republican nomination for US Senate to take on democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow, who is seeking a third term. The favorite is Pete Hoekstra, former congressman who represented the 2nd district in West Michigan 1992-2010. He lost the Republican primary for governor in 2010. His main competitor is Clark Durant, businessman and former member of the state board of education (1994-98), who has significant Tea Party support. Social conservative Randy Hekman, former Kent county judge, is also running. Gary Glenn, a conservative activist who had some Tea Party support, dropped out several weeks before the primary and endorsed Durant. Hoekstra is the favorite, leading in the polls and in fundraising, but Durant has been gaining momentum.
2012 Michigan Congressional Races
District 3 (Kent, Calhoun) Moderate democrat former state rep. Steve Pestka and leftist Trevor Thomas will compete for the democrat nomination to challenge Congressman Justin Amash. Amash is probably safe regardless, but Pestka is definitely the stronger candidate.
District 6 (SW Michigan) Moderate Republican Fred Upton has won by wide margins since defeating conservative Mark Siljander in 1986. In 2010, former state rep. Jack Hoogendyk, running with Tea Party support got 43% in the Republican primary. The race received almost no outside attention and Jack raised only $60,000 in that race. Since then, Upton became Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and his record received more scrutiny from national conservatives. Hoogendyk is challenging Upton again in 2012. Upton has raised far more money, but Jack has significant grassroots support.
District 11 (NW Wayne, SW Oakland, Troy) Republican Thad McCotter saw the most improvement in his district, trading increasingly democrat suburbs of Detroit in Wayne County for Republican areas of Oakland County. But McCotter's staff committed fraud, leading to his being disqualified and dropping out. Tea Party Republican Kerry Bentivolio is the only Republican on the ballot. A coalition of establishment Republicans has endorsed a write-in campaign by former state senator Nancy Cassis. Democrats Canton Township Trustee Taj Syed and William Roberts, a "LaRouche democrat", are competing for their party's nomination.
District 13 (W Detroit, Westland) This district contains the bulk of John Conyers' base, although Republicans drew him out of the district. Conyers, in Congress since 1964, hasn't had a tough primary or general election in decades. Conyers' image has been tarnished since his wife Monica, formerly Detroit city council president, pled guilty to bribery and is now serving time in federal prison. He is being challenged by state senator Glenn Anderson, whose base in the mostly white suburbs of Westland and Redford was moved from McCotter's district into the 13th. Senator Bert Johnson, who is a convicted felon since he robbed a country club at age 19, is also running. State Rep. Shanelle Jackson and John Goci are also running in the democrat primary, as Godfrey Dillard was disqualified. There may be polarized voting between white suburban supporters of Andersen and black Detroit supporters of Conyers, Johnson, and Jackson. Polls have shown Conyers leading and Andersen second.
District 14 (E Detroit, Southfield, Farmington, Pontiac) This district promises a very interesting primary. The majority of the district is the old 13th of democrat Hansen Clarke, who beat the scandal-plagued Carolyn Kilpatrick in 2010, though he was drawn out of the district. Congressman Gary Peters, whose old 9th district was split into four pieces, is running here. This is his best shot, although none of his options were good. Also running are Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence, former state rep. Mary Waters, who has pled guilty to filing a false tax return, and Bob Costello. Peters has done very well in endorsements and fundraising, and has led in the polls.
2012 Michigan State House Races
There are four incumbent-versus-incumbent primaries, all on the democrat side.
2. Tim Bledsoe (white) versus Alberta Tinsley Talabi (black)
3. John olumba versus Jimmy Womack (both black)
6. Rashida Tlaib (Muslim) versus Maureen Stapleton (black)
28. Jon Switalski versus Lesia Liss. Liss is pro-life and pro-gun; Switalski is the opposite. Liss faced criticism in her own party after criticizing Lisa Brown's "war on women" hissy fit. Liss has a geographic advantage, but Switalski has raised more.
There are "only" 22 open house seats. There are eleven open democrat seats, which I will not try to handicap. District 4 has eleven candidates. There are two tossup districts, 25 and 67, which will see primaries.
On the Republican side, there are many primary challengers, but only a few are serious.
76. Party-switchin' Roy Schmidt, whose scheme to recruit a fake democrat blew up in his face, faces a (probably) long-shot write-in challenge from Bing Goei.
84. Kurt Damrow has faced a number of ethics controversies. His fundraising is weak. He is easily the most endangered Republican.
104. Wayne Schmidt, a generic Republican, faces Tea Party leader and county commissioner Jason Gillman, who also edits Right Michigan.com.
There are nine open Republican seats.
39. Six Republicans face off. Michigan Right to Life (MRTL) endorsed Nick Kennedy.
40. In this very expensive primary, David Wolkinson (MRTL endorsed) faces county commissioner David Potts and two others.
41. I'm rooting for Deb DeBacker in her primary against Matt Pryor and Martin Howrylak (MRTL endorsed).
74. Steve Mass (endorsed by Dave Agema) versus Rob VerHeulen.
78. County commissioner Dave Pagel (MRTL endorsed) is probably the favorite.
81. Five Republicans are competing here, including Dan Lauwers (MRTL endorsed).
88. I'm rooting for Amanda VanEssen (endorsed by Dave Agema) over Roger Victory in the most Republican district in the state.
93. I'm rooting for Tom Leonard over Michael Trebesh and Kevin Kirk.
94. County commissioners Tim Kelly and Ann Doyle face off.
There are also a variety of local issues, most notably the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) tax increase.