Friday, June 09, 2017

2018 Michigan Primary Election Races

This post was last updated December 4, 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.  Businessman John James and businessman Sandy Pensler are running for the R nomination.  Businesswoman Lena Epstein and former Michigan Supreme Court justice Robert Young, dropped out of the race.

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) will run.  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.  Republican house speaker Tom Leonard and State senator Tonya Schuitmaker are running.  Leonard is somewhat more conservative and has a larger platform, which probably makes him the favorite.

Former US attorney Pat Miles and attorney Dana Nessel are seeking the D nomination.

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.  Shelby Township clerk Stan Grot, MSU professor Joseph Guzman, Johnson chief of staff Mike Senyko, and accountant Mary Treder Lang are running.  Moderate state senator Mike Kowall announced a run, but later dropped out.  Conservative state senator Joanne Emmons is also a possible R candidate.  Benson will run again.  Ingham County Clerk Diane Byrum is also a possible D candidate.

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 Elizabeth Clement and Kurtis Wilder.  Clement was appointed in November 2017 to replace Joan Larsen, who was appointed to a seat on the federal appeals court by President Trump.  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
UM Board of Regents:
Republicans: Andrew Richner, Andrea Newman
MSU Board of Trustees:
Republicans: Mitch Lyons, Brian Breslin
WSU Board of Governors:

Ballot Propositions
Brian Calley is pushing a part time legislature initiative.  There are also pending initiatives to
  • legalize recreational marijuana
  • shut down the pipeline that runs under the Mackinac Straits
  • change redistricting in ways beneficial to democrats
  • repeal the prevailing wage law
Michigan Congressional Seats
Republicans hold a 9-5 majority in Michigan's congressional delegation, which is unchanged since 2012. The 11th district will be open, and may be competitive.  The post below examines these races in detail.

2018 Michigan Congressional Races

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.  McCann is running again.

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.

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