Saturday, June 10, 2017

2017 Kalamazoo Election Preview

This article was last updated July 25, 2017.

Michigan will see several elections in 2017. This is a preview of elections in Kalamazoo County.   The November election will have Kalamazoo and Portage city elections.

May 2: Kalamazoo County rejected a tax increase to fund consolidation of 911 service 37.9% to 62.1%.  A renewal of the KRESA tax that was first passed in 2005 passed with 61.7%.

November 3: This is the day for local city elections.

Kalamazoo City Commission

The mayor and three seats on the Kalamazoo City Commission are up for election. The seven commissioners are Mayor Bobby Hopewell (on since 2003), Don Cooney (1997), David Anderson (2005), Shannon Sykes (2015), Erin Knott (2015), Jack Urban (2013), and Matt Milcarek (2015).

In 2014, Kalamazoo voters passed a charter amendment changing the charter by electing the mayor separately and implementing staggered four-year terms for the other seats (similar to the system Portage uses).  In 2015, Cooney, Anderson, and Sykes got four-year terms, while Knott, Urban, and Milcarek got two-year terms.

Hopewell, who has been mayor since 2007, will run again.  He is a liberal democrat.

Urban and Knott are running for reelection; Milcarek is not.  Eric Cunningham, who was appointed to a commission seat but narrowly lost in 2015, is running again.  Also running are
Charley Coss, former R candidate for county commission
Leona Carter, previous candidate for city commission

Portage City Council

The mayor and three seats on the Portage City Council are up for election. Peter Strazdas, who has been mayor since 2005, is retirng.  The other councilmembers are Terry Urban (2001), Claudette Reid (2005), Patricia Randall (2009), Jim Pearson (2011), Nasim Ansari (2013), and Richard Ford (2013).  In recent years, a divide has developed on the council between two factions.  One faction consists of Strazdas, Reid and Urban.  The other has been Randall, Pearson, Ford, and Ansari.

Councilmember Patricia Randall is running for mayor.  Randall had to resign her position to run for mayor.  Councilmember and former county commissioner (2002-2012) Nasim Ansari is also running.  Ansari is a conservative Republican.

The three seats up for election are held Ansari, Reid, and Urban.  Reid and Urban will both run again.  Nonincumbent candidates are
Jim Stephanak, former Kalamazoo Gazette publisher
Phil Stinchcomb, a conservative former Kalamazoo County Commissioner (2010-14)
Lori Knapp, a lawyer
Tim Earl, fire safety consultant
Chris Burns, accountant
Wayne Stoffer, business consultant

There may be a countywide millage on the ballot related to senior services.

Friday, June 09, 2017

2018 Michigan Primary Election Races

This post was last updated June 18, 2017.

Michigan's top constitutional offices, congressional seats, and the entire state legislature will be up for election November 2018.

US Senate: Likely democrat
Democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow is expected to seek reelection.  She won 50-48 in 2000, 57-41 in 2006, and 59-38 in 2012.  She has mediocre approval ratings.  Businesswoman Lena Epstein, a Trump campaign official, former Michigan Supreme Court justice Robert Young, and businessman John James are running.  Congressman Fred Upton and former state senator Randy Richardville have mentioned interest in running.  Musician Robert Ritchie (Kid Rock) has teased an interest in running.

Governor: Tossup
Moderate Republican Governor Rick Snyder is term limited.  Snyder won 58-40 in 2010 and 51-47 in 2014.  The favorite for the R nomination is Attorney General Bill Schuette, who is fairly conservative.  Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, who inherits Snyder's disadvantages without his advantages (rich outsider, nonpartisan image) is running.  Calley is tying his campaign to a part-time legislature proposal.  State senator Patrick Colbeck, a Tea Party favorite, who led the fight for Right to Work, is running.  Doctor Jim Hines of Saginaw is also running.

Former state senator Gretchen Whitmer is the early front-runner for the D nomination.  She faces Detroit health official Abdul Al-Sayed, who is appealing to Bernie Sanders supporters, businessman William Cobbs, and businessman Shri Thanedar.  Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, who is more moderate, is considering running.  Liberal attorney Geoffrey Feiger, who was the D nominee for governor in 1998, is considering running.

Attorney General: Lean Republican
Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette is term limited and running for governor. He won 53-44 in 2010 and 52-44 in 2014.  Both nominees will be decided at party conventions.  Repubican house speaker Tom Leonard and state senator Tonya Schuitmaker are expected to run.  Leonard is more conservative and has a larger platform, which probably makes him the favorite.  No democrats have announced campaigns yet.

Secretary of State: Tossup
Conservative Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is term limited. She defeated democrat Joscelyn Benson 51-45 in 2010 and Godfrey Dillard 54-43 in 2014.  Possible R candidates include conservative state senator Joanne Emmons, moderate state senator Mike Kowall, and Shelby Township clerk Stan Grot.  Benson is likely to be the D nominee.

Michigan Supreme Court Lean Republican
Republicans currently hold a 5-2 majority on the court.  There are two full-term seats up for election on the Michigan Supreme Court. They are those of Joan Larsen and Kurtis Wilder.  Larsen was appointed to a vacancy by Governor Snyder in 2015, and won a partial term 58-29 in 2016.  She has been nominated for a seat on the federal appeals court by President Trump; if confirmed Snyder will appoint a replacement.  Wilder was appointed in May 2017 to replace the retiring Robert Young.

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 Republicans. Democrats have swept these elections in 2006, 2008, and 2012, while Republicans swept in 2010.  The candidates are
State Board of Education:
Republicans: Eileen Weiser, Richard Zeille
Democrats:
UM Board of Regents:
Republicans: Andrew Richner, Andrea Newman
Democrats:
MSU Board of Trustees:
Republicans: Mitch Lyons, Brian Breslin
Democrats:
WSU Board of Governors:
Republicans:
Democrats:

Ballot Propositions
There may be several ballot propositions.  Brian Calley is pushing a part time legislature initiative.  There is an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana.  There is also an initiative to shut down the pipeline that runs under the Mackinaw Straits.

Michigan Congressional Seats
Republicans hold a 9-5 majority in Michigan's congressional delegation, which is unchanged since 2012. It is not yet clear if any races will be competitive.

Michigan Senate
All 38 seats in the Michigan state senate are up for election, and 26 have no incumbent due to term limits and retirements. Republicans currently hold a 27-11 supermajority after winning landslides in 2010 and 2014. Democrats will likely target Republican-held seats in Kalamazoo County (20), Grand Rapids (29), Bay County (31), Muskegon (34), and the UP (38). There may be competitive primaries in some seats.  The post below examines these races in detail.

2018 Michigan State Senate Elections

20th District (Kalamazoo County) Tossup
Republican Senator Margaret O'Brien beat Sean McCann by only 61 votes in 2014.  Either McCann or rep Jon Hoadley is likely to be the D candidate in 2018.

Michigan House
All 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives are up for election. Republicans won a 63-47 majority in 2016.  There will be 24 open seats due to term limits and some additional open seats due to candidates running for state senate.  Both parties have potential targets to pickup.

60th District (Kalamazoo City) Safe democrat
Democrat state rep Jon Hoadley was first elected in 2014.  He may run for state senate or reelection.
61st District (Portage, Oshtemo) Lean Republican
Republican state rep Brandt Iden was elected 48-43 in 2014 and 49-44 in 2016, defeating D Pastor John Fisher both times.  He is expected to run again.
63rd District (E Kalamazoo, S Calhoun) Safe Republican
R state rep David Maturen was first elected in 2014.  He is expected to run again.

Kalamazoo County Commission
All 11 seats on the Kalamazoo County Commission will be up for election. Ds hold a 6-5 majority. Republicans will target democrat Michael Quinn (district 10). Democrats may target districts 7 and 11.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Michigan House Passes Constitutional Carry

On Wednesday, the Michigan state house passed a package of bills to implement constitutional carry in Michigan.  Constitutional carry means that the government does not impose any permits or fees before citizens can exercise their constitutional right to carry firearms. Around five years ago, support for constitutional carry moved from the fringe to a mainstream Republican position.  Twelve states now have constitutional carry, and more are considering it.

The four bills received 59 to 61 yes votes, and 47 to 49 no votes.  Three democrats voted for all four bills.  They are
  • John Chirkun - district 22 (Roseville)
  • Phil Phelps - district 49 (Flint suburbs)
  • Scott Dianda - district 110 (western UP) - running for state senate (district 38) in 2018
Seven Republicans voted against some or all of the bills.  They are
  • Kathy Crawford (against 3 of 4) - district 38 (Novi) - termed out in 2020
  • Michael McCready (against all 4) - district 40 (Bloomfield) - termed out in 2018 - may run for senate (district 12)
  • Martin Howrylak  (against 2 of 4) - district 41 (Troy) - termed out in 2018
  • David Maturen (against all 4) - district 63 (E Kalamazoo) - termed out in 2020
  • Chris Afendoulis (against all 4) - district 73 (GR Township) - termed out in 2020 - may run for senate (district 29)
  • Rob Verhuelen (against all 4) - district 74 (Walker) - termed out in 2018.  Verhuelen ran against Tom Leonard for Speaker last year.
  • Dave Pagel (against all 4) - district 78 (S Berrien) - termed out in 2018
The bills now go to the state senate, where it is not certain whether they will be taken up.  It is also unclear whether Governor Snyder, who has a mixed record on gun rights, would sign them.  Nonetheless, Speaker Tom Leonard and most Republicans in the state house deserve credit for getting them this far.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2018 Michigan State Senate Elections

Last updated July 25, 2017.

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

All 38 seats in the Michigan Senate are up for election in 2014.  Republicans currently have a 27-11 supermajority, and have controlled the senate since 1983.  Republican control of the state senate has prevented democrats from complete control of Michigan's government in some years, and stopped a lot of bad things from being passed.

Fortunately for Republicans, the Michigan state senate is up only in midterms, which usually favor Republicans much more than presidential years.  Republicans had a good year in 2014, picking up one state senate seat, following four pickups in 2010.

The 2010 redistricting produced a map that was moderately pro-Republican, while complying with all relevant laws.

Michigan Redistricting: Official Republican State Senate Map Released
Michigan Redistricting: Republican State Senate Map Passed

There are 26 open seats due to term-limits, 7 D and 19 R.  There may be other openings due to retirement or seeking another office.

All current state senators are former state representatives except three (Colbeck, Conyers, Hertel).  This pattern held in the past, and most credible candidates this time are current or former state reps.

I have included election data for the 2014 state senate election, and McCain (2008), Romney (2012), and Trump (2016) results in each district.  More data is available from Republican Michigander and RRH Elections.

Republican Michigander district profiles (see sidebar)
RRH Michigan Senate Data File

The McCain numbers look terrible for Republicans because he collapsed after publicly pulling out of Michigan.  The largest McCain percentage in any Michigan state senate district won by a democrat in the past twelve years is 46.2% in (old) district 31.

Here is a breakdown of the individual races.  State reps years in office are listed after their names, with P meaning present.


1. [Detroit riverfront, Downriver] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 28-72 McCain: 22.0 Romney: 21.5 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Coleman Young (D term-limited)
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit.  Progressive state rep Stephanie Chang (14-P) is running for the D nomination. Other state reps may compete here.

2. [NE Detroit, Grosse Pointes] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 25-71 McCain: 20.1 Romney: 19.3 Trump: XX
Incumbent:  Bert Johnson (D term-limited)
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit.  Johnson has been indicted on felony charges of theft (hiring a fake employee to pay a debt).  The seat is likely to be vacant before 2018.  Several state reps may compete here, including disgraced rep Brian Banks (12-17), who resigned in a plea bargain.

3. [West-central Detroit, Dearborn, Melvindale] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 20-80 McCain: 16.3 Romney: 14.5 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Morris Hood (D term-limited)
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit.  Several state reps may compete here.

4. [Central Detroit, Lincoln Park, Southgate, Allen Park] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 16-84 McCain: 18.5 Romney: 16.7 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Ian Conyers (D)
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit. Virgil Smith resigned after pleading guilty to shooting at his ex-wife.  The 2016 special election was won by Ian Conyers, the great-nephew of Congressman John Conyers.

5. [W Detroit, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, Inkster, Redford] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 18-82 McCain: 20.6 Romney: 18.4 Trump: XX
Incumbent: David Knezek (D)
Analysis: One of five black-majority districts based in Detroit.  Knezek, who is white, won a split primary with 29% in 2014.

6. [SW Wayne, Westland, Taylor] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 38-62 McCain: 34.3 Romney: 35.1 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D)
Analysis: Moderate D state rep Robert Kosowski (12-18) is running, and rep Erika Geiss (14-P) is likely to run.  Reps Doug Geiss (08-14) and Darrin Camilleri (16-P) are less likely candidates.

7. [Livonia, Canton, Plymouth, Northville, Wayne city] Lean Republican
SS 2014: 52-48 McCain: 47.3 Romney: 50.0 Trump: 49.0
Incumbent: Patrick Colbeck (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state rep Laura Cox (14-P), who represented more than half of the district on the Wayne County commission, is likely the favorite here.  R state reps. Kurt Heise (10-16) and Jeff Noble (16-P) could also run.  D state reps Dain Slavens (08-14), who lost to Colbeck in 2014, and Kristy Pagan (14-P) could run.

8. [N/E Macomb] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 62-38 McCain: 50.3 Romney: 54.0 Trump: 62.4
Incumbent: Jack Brandenburg (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state rep Peter Lucido (14-P) will run.  Pete Lund (08-14), Ken Goike (10-16), and Tony Forlini (10-16) may run here.

9. [Warren, Roseville, Eastpointe, Fraser, S Clinton] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 32-68 McCain: 37.7 Romney: 36.7 Trump: 44.2
Incumbent: Steven Bieda (D term-limited)
Analysis: D state reps Marilyn Lane (10-16) and Paul Wojno (96-02) will run.  Reps Jon Switalski (08-14), Derek Miller (14-16), Patrick Green (16-P), John Chirkun (14-P), and Harold Haugh (08-14) could run.

10. [Sterling Heights, Macomb, N Clinton] Lean Republican
SS 2014: 63-37 McCain: 47.8 Romney: 51.1 Trump: 58.4
Incumbent: Tory Rocca (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state reps Leon Drolet (00-06), Kim Meltzer (06-10), Jeff Farrington (10-16), and Diane Farrington (16-P) may run, though the Farringtons live just outside the district.  D state reps Henry Yanez (12-18) and William Sowerby (16-P) could run.

11. [Farmington, Southfield, Oak Park, Madison Heights] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 24-76 McCain: 25.8 Romney: 26 Trump: 25.6
Incumbent: Vincent Gregory (D term-limited)
Analysis: Gregory narrowly defeated state reps, Vicki Barnett (08-14) and Ellen Cogen Lipton (08-14) in the 2014 primary.  Both could run again, along with reps Christine Grieg (14-P), Robert Whittenberg (14-P), and Jeremy Moss (14-P).

12. [NE Oakland, Pontiac, Bloomfield Twp.] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 57-43 McCain: 46.4 Romney: 50.2 Trump: 50.3
Incumbent: Jim Marleau (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state reps Bradford Jacobsen (10-16), John Reilly (16-P), Michael McCready (12-18), and Jim Tedder (14-P) could run.  D state house minority leader Tim Greimel (12-18) could run, but low turnout in Pontiac hurts Ds in midterms in this district.

13. [Troy, Rochester, Royal Oak, Birmingham] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 58-42 McCain: 46.5 Romney: 50.4 Trump: 46.9
Incumbent: Marty Knollenberg (R)
Analysis: Knollenberg won a very close primary in 2014.  D state rep Jim Townsend (10-16) could run.

14. [SW Genesee, NW Oakland, Waterford] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 58-42 McCain: 48.5 Romney: 51.9 Trump: 58.9
Incumbent: David Robertson (R term-limited)
Analysis: Surprisingly, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, who once represented this area as a state rep (98-04), is exploring moving down to the state senate.  If she doesn't run, state rep Joe Graves (12-18) would likely be the favorite.

15. [SW Oakland] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 58-42 McCain: 48.3 Romney: 52.9 Trump: 52.2
Incumbent: Mike Kowall (R term-limited)
Analysis: Kowall beat Tea Party leader Matt Maddock only 50-43 in the 2014 primary.  Conservative state rep Jim Runestad (14-P) will run, and Maddock will run for his house seat.  Moderate state rep Hugh Crawford (08-14) will run.  Moderate state rep Klint Kesto (12-18) could run.

16. [Jackson, Hillsdale, Branch] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 61-39 McCain: 50.8 Romney: 55.6 Trump: 64.8
Incumbent: Mike Shirkey (R)
Analysis: Shirkey, who led the fights for both Right to Work and Medicaid expansion, may be a candidate for leadership in the state senate.

17. [Monroe, Lenawee] Lean Republican
SS 2014: 51-46 McCain: 47.6 Romney: 49.9 Trump: 61.5
Incumbent: Dale Zorn (R)
Analysis: Rs have held this competitive district for at least the last five elections.  Zorn defeated rep Doug Spade (98-04) in 2014.  Other possible D candidates include state reps Dudley Spade (04-10), Kathy Angerer (04-10), and Bill Lavoy (12-16).

18. [Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 28-72 McCain: 24.9 Romney: 27.0 Trump: 23.6
Incumbent: Rebekah Warren (D term-limited)
Analysis: Ann Arbor loves electing left-wing feminist state senators, including Warren, Liz Brater, Alma Wheeler Smith, and Lana Pollack.  D state reps Jeff Irwin (10-16), David Rutledge (10-16), Adam Zemke (12-18), Yousef Rabhi (16-P), and Ronnie Petersen (16-P) could run.

19. [Calhoun, Barry, Ionia] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 62-38 McCain: 49.6 Romney: 53.4 Trump: 61.8
Incumbent: Mike Nofs (R term-limited)
Analysis: R former rep. Mike Callton (10-16) is likely to run.  Rep. John Bizon (14-P) will run.  Former rep Jase Bolger (08-14) could also run.  D rep Kate Segal (08-14) could run.

20. [Kalamazoo County] Tossup
SS 2014: 45.5-45.4 McCain: 40.1 Romney: 43.3 Trump: 43.2
Incumbent: Margaret O'Brien (R)
Analysis: Kalamazoo County is a battleground, with democrats usually winning the top of the ticket, and Republicans doing better at the bottom.  In 2014, O'Brien (10-14) defeated D state rep Sean McCann (10-14) and Libertarian former state rep Lorence Wenke (04-10).  D state rep Jon Hoadley (14-P) is a likely candidate.

21. [Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 64-36 McCain: 48.1 Romney: 54.6 Trump: 60.5
Incumbent: John Proos (R term-limited)
Analysis: State reps Al Pscholka (10-16), Dave Pagel (12-18), Sharon Tyler (08-12), Matt Lori (08-14) and Kim LaSata (16-P) could run.

22. [Livingston, W Washtenaw] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 59-41 McCain: 52.8 Romney: 57.2 Trump: 59.2
Incumbent: Joe Hune (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state rep Lana Theis (14-P) is likely the favorite. Other possible candidates are state reps Henry Vaupel (14-P), Cindy Denby (08-14), and Bill Rogers (08-14).

23. [Ingham] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 34-66 McCain: 31.9 Romney: 34.5 Trump: 34.6
Incumbent: Curtis Hertel Jr. (D)
Analysis: Hertel, then Ingham Register of Deeds, won in 2014.

24. [Eaton, Clinton, Shiawassee, NE Ingham] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 56-44 McCain: 47.1 Romney: 50.1 Trump: 56.1
Incumbent: Rick Jones (R term-limited)
Analysis: State rep Tom Barrett (14-P) is likely to run.  State reps Brett Roberts (14-P), Ben Glardon (10-16), and Ben Frederick (16-P) could run.  Public affairs specialist Kelly Rossman-McKinney (D) is running.

25. [St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 56-44 McCain: 50.1 Romney: 55.6 Trump: 68.4
Incumbent: Phil Pavlov (R term-limited)
Analysis: State rep Dan Lauwers (12-18) appears to be the favorite.  Reps Andrea LaFontaine (10-16), Pam Hornberger (16-P), Paul Muxlow (10-16), and Shane Hernandez (16-P) could run.

26. [Van Buren, Allegan, Kentwood] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 61-39 McCain: 51.5 Romney: 55.4 Trump: 58.9
Incumbent: Tonya Schuitmaker (R term-limited)
Analysis: Tonya is likely to run for Attorney General. State reps Aric Nesbitt (10-16) and Bob Genetski (08-14) are likely to run.  Reps Beth Griffin (16-P), Mary Whiteford (16-P), Ken Yonker (10-16), and Steve Johnson (16-P) could run.

27. [Flint, central Genesee] Safe democrat
SS 2014: 23-77 McCain: 24.0 Romney: 25.0 Trump: XX
Incumbent: Jim Ananich (D)
Analysis: Ananich, who won a special election in 2013, is now the D state senate minority leader.

28. [N Kent, Walker] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 66-34 McCain: 56.5 Romney: 61.1 Trump: 61.9
Incumbent: Peter MacGregor (R)
Analysis: MacGregor holds one of the safest R districts in Michigan.

29. [Grand Rapids, SE Kent] Tossup
SS 2014: 58-42 McCain: 42.8 Romney: 46.8 Trump: 41.9
Incumbent: Dave Hildenbrand (R term-limited)
Analysis: This district has been trending away from Rs at the top of the ticket, but has more R strength downballot.   D state rep Winnie Brinks (12-18) seems to be the favorite.  Dave LaGrand, 2006 and 2010 D nominee, is now a state rep (16-P).  D state chairman Brandon Dillon (10-15) seems unlikely to run. R state reps Chris Afendoulis (14-P) seems to be the R favorite. Former R state rep Lisa Lyons (10-16) would be a strong candidate, but is now Kent County Clerk.

30. [Ottawa County] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 71-29 McCain: 62.1 Romney: 67.4 Trump: 66.3
Incumbent: Arlan Meekhof (R term-limited)
Analysis: Ottawa County is usually the most Republican in Michigan.  R state reps Roger Victory (12-18), Daniella Garcia (14-P), and Joe Haveman (08-14) are expected to run.  Reps Amanda Price (10-16) and Jim Lilly (16-P) could also run.

31. [Bay, Tuscola, Lapeer] Tossup
SS 2014: 55-45 McCain: 47.2 Romney: 52.0 Trump: 64.4
Incumbent: Mike Green (R term-limited)
Analysis: This district has alternated between parties every 8-10 years since the 1980s.  Mike Green narrowly won the 2014 primary 50-46 over state rep. Kevin Daley of Lapeer County.  Daley has already declared for 2018.  Conservative state rep Gary Glenn (14-P) recently moved to Bay County and could run.  D state rep Charles Brunner (10-16), a moderate from Bay City, is likely to run.

32. [Saginaw, W Genesee] Lean Republican
SS 2014: 54-46 McCain: 43.1 Romney: 45.9 Trump: 53.2
Incumbent: Ken Horn (R)
Analysis: Incredibly, despite D dominance of Saginaw County, Rs have won this district for the last seven elections.  Ds tend to nominate black state reps from Saginaw who don't appeal to the white union voters who dominate the rest of the district.  D state rep Vanessa Guerra (14-P) could run.

33. [Montcalm, Isabella, Gratiot, Mecosta, Clare] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 57-43 McCain: 46.8 Romney: 51.5 Trump: 62.3
Incumbent: Judy Emmons (R term-limited)
Analysis: State rep Rick Outman (10-16) is likely to run.  Reps Joel Johnson (10-16), James Lower (16-P), Kevin Cotter (10-16), Roger Hauck (16-P), and Jim McBryde (90-98) could run.

34. [Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana] Tossup
SS 2014: 56-44 McCain: 39.8 Romney: 46.0 Trump: 55.5
Incumbent: Geoff Hansen (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state rep Jon Bumstead (10-16) of Newaygo, an early endorser of Trump, is already running.  State rep. Holly Hughes (10-12, 14-18) of Muskegon County is also likely to run.  Bumstead is somewhat more conservative.  D state reps Marcia Hovey Wright (10-16) and Terry Sabo (16-P) could run.

35. [NC Lower Peninsula] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 60-40 McCain: 49.8 Romney: 54.5 Trump: 64.6
Incumbent: Darwin Booher (R term-limited)
Analysis: R state reps. Ray Franz (10-16) and Bruce Rendon (10-16) are likely to run.  Reps Phil Potvin (10-16), Curt VanderWall (16-P), and Michelle Hoitenga (16-P) could run.

36. [NE Lower Peninsula, Midland] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 61-39 McCain: 50.8 Romney: 56.0 Trump: 65.4
Incumbent: Jim Stamas (R)
Analysis: This district was competitive in 2002, but has moved right since then.  Stamas is a leadership candidate.

37. [NW Lower Peninsula, E Upper Peninsula] Safe Republican
SS 2014: 61-39 McCain: 51.9 Romney: 56.8 Trump: 61.1
Incumbent: Wayne Schmidt (R)
Analysis: Schmidt won a bitter primary in 2014.  He may get a challenge from the right in the 2018 primary.

38. [Upper Peninsula excluding Mackinac, Chippewa, Luce] Tossup
SS 2014: 62-38 McCain: 46.2 Romney: 51.0 Trump: 59.0
Incumbent: Tom Casperson (R term-limited)
Analysis: This district was held for Ds for decades until Casperson won it in 2010.  R state rep Ed McBroom (10-16) of Dickinson County will run.  Moderate D state rep Scott Dianda (12-18) from western UP will run.

Summary of Ratings:
Safe democrat: 11
Toss-up: 5
Lean Republican: 4
Safe Republican: 18

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2016 Election Results in Kalamazoo County

The trends that led to Donald Trump's statewide victory in Michigan also affected Kalamazoo County.  Trump did well in rural areas.  He also did much better in downscale areas of Comstock and Galesburg.  He did badly in Kalamazoo and underperformed in upscale areas of Portage and Oshtemo.
Compare Romney (2012) and Trump (2016):
Trump got the same two-party percentage (43.2%) as Romney in Kalamazoo County.  The following map compares Trump and Romney.  More green is better for Trump, more yellow/orange is worse for Trump (better for Romney).
Trump did best relative to Romney in Galesburg, Comstock 1-3, and K Township 1, all downscale areas.  Trump did worst relative to Romney in Portage 18 (Moorsbridge), Oshtemo 3, suburban Texas, and Bronson Boulevard, all wealthy upscale areas.

The State Board of Education can be used as a measure of generic R and D vote since almost nobody is familiar with the candidates.  The two-party percentages are Trump 43.2%, SBOE 48.1%.

Trump underperformed Republicn SBOE candidates everywhere except Comstock and Lakewood.  He did especially poorly in Western Portage, southern Kalamazoo, Texas, Oshtemo, and Gull Lake (all wealthy upscale areas).

The following maps show how local Republicans did in Kalamazoo County.  Kalamazoo County Treasurer Mary Balkema led Republicans in Kalamazoo County with 54.7%.
The GOP average (President/Congress/Clerk/ Prosecutor/Sheriff/Treasurer) was 45.6%.
The Republican party continues to lose ground in the City of Kalamazoo.  The results in the city are
34.0% Balkema
31.7% Upton
32.1% Snow
27.4% SBOE
23.1% Trump
22.4% Smith
22.2% Heppler
The most R precinct was #4 (Knollwood).  I suspect this was due to Fraternity Village supporting Trump.

The City of Portage saw many voters split tickets.
59.4% Balkema
57.6% Upton 
56.2% Snow
52.4% SBOE
45.9% Trump
40.9% Smith 
39.1% Heppler

Oshtemo Township has moved left in recent years.  The top of the ticket was too much for local candidates to overcome.
52.1% Balkema
50.2% Upton 
48.9% Snow
46.8% SBOE
40.0% Trump
35.9% Smith 
35.7% Heppler

Oshtemo Township official candidates:
42% Nieuwenhuis
43% Solarek
40% Zondervan
49.3% Carr
44% Corakis
42% Lefler
42% Clem

Federal Judge Gershwin Drain extended straight ticket voting in Michigan after the legislature passed a law to eliminate it.  After the election, some observers claimed that straight ticket voting benefited Republicans since in some counties (e.g. Macomb) more Republicans voted straight ticket.

However, we don’t know what people would have done in its absence.  In Kalamazoo, more democrats voted straight ticket (33218) than Republicans (25159).  The following map shows which party had more straight ticket voters in each precinct.

Monday, January 09, 2017

How Trump Won Michigan

Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the 2016 presidential election was capped off by winning Michigan. The vote total was
Trump 2279543 (47.50%)
Clinton 2268893 (47.27%)
The margin was only 10704 votes. Michigan had the closest percentage margin of any state in the nation.

Analyzing the election results nationwide leads to four basic observations:
1. Trump won huge margins in rural areas.
2. Trump improved significantly in downscale (white working class) areas.
3. Trump did poorly in upscale (wealthy, highly educated) areas.
4. Clinton won blacks by large margins, but turnout was significantly down.

The following maps show Trump/Clinton and Romney/Obama by county.
Trump did significantly better than Romney in the rural Northeast and Midwest.  This allowed him to pick up five states (and Maine 2) in this region.  Trump did worse than Romney in many suburban counties.  The following map compares Trump and Romney’s performance by county.  More red means Trump performed better.
Zooming in to Michigan, we compare Romney 2012 and Trump 2016.
Trump overperformed in most rural counties, particularly in northern Michigan and the Thumb.  He underperformed in Kent, Ottawa, and Washtenaw counties.

To better understand Trump's performance, consider the following map of southern Michigan.  More red indicates a higher Trump percentage, and more blue/black indicates a higher Clinton percentage.  The key is
DarkRed >65%
Red 60-65
Salmon 55-60
Pink 50-55
LightBlue 45-50
DeepSkyBlue 40-45
CornflowerBlue 35-40
SlateBlue 30-35
Blue 25-30
DarkBlue 20-25
MidnightBlue 15-20
Black 0-15
Results are broken down to the precinct level, except in Wayne, Macomb, Ingham, Livingston, and Montcalm Counties, where they are broken down to the municipality.  All maps use 2-party totals.  Some results are approximate due to changes in precinct lines.
Rural areas are overwhelmingly red; cities are blue to black.

Let’s take a closer look at some key areas of the state, starting with Detroit.
Year – GOP (2-party %) and Dem (2-party %):
2000 – 15688 (5.22%), 282111 (93.88%)
2004 – 19343 (5.93%), 305258 (93.65%)
2008 –   8888 (2.65%), 325534 (96.99%)
2012 –   6018 (2.09%), 281743 (97.63%)
2016 –   7682 (3.11%), 234871 (94.95%)
The percentages are about the same, but D turnout was down 46872 votes in 2016.

Here is Wayne county, broken down by municipality.
Here are the numbers for Wayne outside Detroit.
Year – GOP (%) and Dem (%):
2000 – 207333 (45.5%), 248303 (54.5%)
2004 – 238407 (44.7%), 294789 (55.3%)
2008 – 210694 (38.6%), 334551 (61.4%)
2012 – 207796 (39.8%), 314103 (60.2%)
2016 – 221311 (43.7%), 284573 (56.3%)
Trump improved by 43045 votes in Wayne outside Detroit.  Trump gained in Downriver, a downscale union area.  Trump declined in upscale areas – the Grosse Pointes, and Plymouth/Northville.

Macomb County, by municipality:
   Year – GOP (%) and Dem (%):
2004 – 202166 (50.2%), 196160 (48.7%)
2008 – 187663 (44.8%), 223784 (53.4%)
2012 – 191913 (47.5%), 208016 (51.5%)
2016 – 224665 (53.6%), 176317 (42.1%)
Trump gained 64451 votes over 2012.  He improved substantially in the downscale union areas of the county.

Oakland County by precinct:
   Year – GOP (%) and Dem (%):
2004 – 316633 (49.3%), 319387 (49.8%)
2008 – 276956 (42.0%), 372566 (56.5%)
2012 – 296514 (45.4%), 349002 (53.4%)
2016 – 289203 (43.2%), 343070 (51.3%)
Trump lost upscale areas, including Bloomfield, West Bloomfield, Troy and Novi, where Republicans usually win.  He gained in Waterford.  The following compares Romney (2012) and Trump (2016).
Genesee County:
Year – GOP (%) and Dem (%):
2004 – 83870 (39.2%), 128334 (60.0%)
2008 – 72451 (32.9%), 143927 (65.5%)
2012 – 71808 (35.4%), 128978 (63.6%)
2016 – 84175 (42.9%), 102751 (52.4%)
Trump improved by 38594 votes over 2012.  Trump gained significantly in the downscale union-heavy suburbs of Flint.  He won Burton and the entire outer ring (except Grand Blanc).  Republicans came within 4% of picking up state house district 50 in the suburbs, which was completely unexpected.  Here is a closer look at Flint.
St. Clair:
Trump even won Port Huron.
Saginaw:
Trump won everything except the minority areas.
Bay:
Midland:
In past elections, the city of Midland has been more Republican than the surrounding areas.  Not this time.
Tri-cities:
Isabella:
Schiawasee:
Clinton:
Eaton:
Ingham by municipality:
Washtenaw:
Monroe:
Lenawee:
Jackson:
Southwest Michigan:
Calhoun:
Kalamazoo:
St. Joseph:
Cass:
Berrien:
Van Buren:
Allegan:
Kent:
Year – GOP (%) and Dem (%):
2004 – 171201 (59.1%), 116909 (40.4%)
2008 – 148336 (48.9%), 149909 (49.4%)
2012 – 155925 (53.2%), 133408 (45.5%)
2016 – 148180 (48.3%), 138683 (45.2%)
Trump declined by 13020 votes in Kent County.  He lost Kentwood and did poorly in Wyoming.
Muskegon:
Ottawa:
 Year – GOP (%) and Dem (%):
2004 – 92048 (71.6%), 35552 (27.6%)
2008 – 83330 (61.2%), 50828 (37.3%)
2012 – 88166 (66.6%), 42737 (32.3%)
2016 – 88467 (62.3%), 44973 (31.7%)

Ottawa County is usually the most Republican in Michigan.  Why did Trump decline in Kent and Ottawa?  Ottawa, Kent, Allegan, and Missaukee are the only Dutch majority counties.  Dutch Americans tend to be Calvinists (Reformed/CRC) and solid Republicans.

Consider this list of Trump's best counties in 2016.
73.8% Missaukee
70.9% Hillsdale 
70.0% Oscoda
69.9% Sanilac
69.8% Montmorency
69.3% Kalkaska
69.2% Osceola
68.2% Luce
68.0% Alcona
67.2% Huron
67.1% Newaygo
66.8% Branch
66.6% Lapeer
66.4% Tuscola
66.0% Otsego
65.7% Ogemaw
65.4% Wexford
65.3% Dickinson
65.1% Gladwin
64.3% Arenac

Ottawa County dropped to number 32!  Livingston dropped to 34 and Allegan to 48!
Twelve of Trump’s 20 best counties are in the northern lower peninsula.  Four of the top 14 are in the Thumb.  Two (Luce, Dickinson) are in the UP.  Two (Hillsdale, Branch) are on the IN border.  Trump got 60-70% in 43 of 83 Michigan counties.  He got 50-60% in 23 counties.  These are almost all rural areas.

I have explained where Trump got his votes, but not how he got them.  Trump appealed to rural and working class voters with immigration restriction, opposition to free trade agreements, and concern for manufacturing jobs.  These voters were alienated from the democrats due to social justice warriors and environmentalism.

Bernie Sanders’ primary win in Michigan foreshadowed trouble for Hillary.  Rural democrats are not primarily socialists.  Many were clearly disenchanted with Hillary.

Why did Trump do better than Romney, who had a somewhat similar profile (rich businessman, Washington outsider)?  Rick Snyder won Michigan in 2010 on a similar platform.  Republican Michigander writes:
“The other thing that helped Snyder is that while he was a businessman, he ran as a CEO of Gateway. People remember Gateway Computers. That’s a difference with your venture capitalist types who are widely distrusted (with Dan Gilbert a major exception due to his Detroit investments and building). The Midwest respects builders. You’ll hear a different opinion of George Romney than Mitt. Builders built America and builders built Michigan. This is the land of Henry Ford, Roger Penske, Ransom Olds, Mike Illitch, Louis Chevrolet, Pete Karmanos, Fred Meijer, Tom Monaghan, and the Dodge brothers. It’s the cornerstone of this state and one of the rare things that can take root in the very different political factions in this state that are extremely tough to unite. It’s something our pols should remember in 2020 before either putting a bunch of money here, or before writing off altogether. The most important thing here is the job itself and the ability to do it.”
This obviously applies to Trump as well.

Trump’s winning coalition was laid out by several commentators.  Steve Sailer wrote after the 2000 election,
“The reason George W. Bush struggled so much to eke out a 271-267 win in the Electoral College … is not that he got crushed in the minority vote 77% to 21%. No, it`s that he commanded only a measly 54% of the white vote. …
What if Bush II had won 57% of the white vote? … he would have cruised to an Electoral College landslide of 367 to 171. …
So where could Bush have picked up an additional 3 percent of the white vote? The most obvious source: white union families. …
Immigration should be the perfect issue for the GOP to use to split the rank and file from their Democratic bosses.  Since union efforts cost Bush Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (at a minimum), you`d think that the GOP would be hot to win back the Reagan Democrats.”
 After the 2012 election, he wrote
“Romney could have won the Electoral College in what can be called the Big Ten states … He did win Indiana, and he lost Obama’s home state of Illinois badly. The other six states in this region, however, all slipped through his fingers: Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
In each of these Slippery Six states, Romney won at least 45 percent of the vote. … If Romney, rather than Obama, had won all six, he’d be President. …
According to Reuters, Romney lost the Slippery Six states because … he did badly there among white voters—winning only 52 percent, six points worse than nationally. …
But, how much did Romney offer working class whites in this swing region? Did they have much cause for hope that he’d take a strong stand against legal and illegal immigration?”
“These voters were largely downscale, Northern, rural whites. In other words, H. Ross Perot voters.” 
“One option is to go after these downscale whites. … It means abandoning some of its more pro-corporate stances. This GOP would have to be more "America first" on trade, immigration and foreign policy; less pro-Wall Street and big business in its rhetoric; more Main Street/populist on economics.”
Demographics are the biggest factor affecting election results.  For example, some areas have voted for the same party since the Civil War, until very recently.  Dutch Americans have voted conservatively since immigrating here.  Often, changes in election results are the results of demographic changes rather than ideological changes.

Demographic groups can change voting patterns (e.g. downscale whites going for Trump), but such changes are neither easy nor inevitable.  Democrats have been using immigration from left-leaning groups to bring about electoral victories they could not win by persuasion.  Trump and his supporters need to stop this for conservatism to remain viable in America.

Donald Trump is now the face of the Republican party.  His supporters should do what they can to encourage him to adopt sound conservative policies.  There are no permanent majorities.  Republicans should be careful not to overreach (as Obama did with Obamacare).  Conversely, Republicans should accomplish what they can while the opportunity exists, as democrats will come back sooner or later.

Republicans should welcome Trump’s downscale supporters into the party and try to address their concerns on trade and immigration while upholding conservative values.  Upscale voters were likely alienated by Trump’s rhetoric and character.  If Trump is successful, many will come back.  We should run candidates who emphasize competence to appeal to this demographic.