Thursday, May 19, 2022

Melissa Carone Kicked Off the Ballot

Melissa Carone has been disqualified from running for Michigan state legislature for the second time.

Carone was a contractor for Dominion voting systems in 2020 and became a witness at a Michigan house hearing on voter fraud allegations.  She became infamous due to her strange performance, which was parodied on Saturday Night Live.

Carone soon announced her intention to run for state legislature.  She moved out of Wayne County to do so.  She initially explored running in north Oakland County, but eventually settled on central Macomb County.

Carone created a campaign finance committee in February 2021.  She failed to file the July 2021 report on time, and was fined.  She failed to file the October 2021 report on time, and accepted a donation that was above the maximum allowed.  She was also fined for this.  She then failed to file the January 2022 report on time as well.

In February 2022, Carone tried to dissolve her campaign committee, but was denied because she had not resolved these issues.  She filed for state rep in district 60 on March 21, 2022.  She didn't pay the fees until March 24, 2022.  She filed amended July and October reports on April 19, 2022.

Carone was disqualified from running for state rep due to falsely stating that she had no outstanding campaign finance problems.  Soon after, she sent out the following email.

Anthony Forlini just "disqualified" me from the ballot for something his staff advised me to do- I have retained counsel and will be challenging this decision, I WILL be on the ballot in August!

Forlini claims "Mellissa Carone submitted a faulty affidavit of identity and id now disqualified from the ballot".

Anthony Forlini is claiming that I am disqualified from the ballot for submitting an Affidavit of Identity that his staff advised me to submit- they claimed it takes 3-4 days to process and as long as the fees were paid before the end of the week everything would be fine- I HAVE THE CONVERSATION RECORDED.

The fines were paid less than 36 hours later- Forlini has not responded back to my calls or requests for an appointment.

My primary opponent is Forlini's former State House staffer and good friend Joseph Aragona, who believes the seat is going to be handed to him.

I have retained legal counsel and will continue challenging this decision, I WILL NOT GIVE UP!



Even if this is true, it was still very foolish to take advice from people she knew were not friendly to her cause.

Carone then filed for state senate, challenging R incumbent Michael MacDonald.  However, she was disqualified again for not having fixed her campaign finance reports.

Someone who is unable to follow basic rules well enough to get on the ballot is not a credible source.  Unfortunately, many cranks have come out of the woodwork to promote election fraud conspiracy theories following the 2020 election.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

2022 Michigan Election Preview

This post was last updated May 17, 2022.

Michigan's top constitutional offices, congressional seats, and the entire state legislature will be up for election November 2022.

Governor: Tossup
Former state senator Gretchen Whitmer of Ingham County defeated Bill Schuette 53-44 in 2018.  Whitmer ran on the slogan "fix the damn roads" without raising taxes, and after the election, she proposed a massive gas tax increase that her own party wouldn't introduce.  She had difficulty working with the R-controlled legislature, often attempting to abuse her powers and making false accusations against her critics.  When the pandemic hit, Whitmer used emergency powers to enforce lockdowns in ways that often made no sense while often avoiding them herself.  This led to a major backlash on the right.  Whitmer rolled back most restrictions in early 2021.

There are ten candidates seeking the R nomination.  They are businesswoman Donna Brandenburg, Michigan State Police captain Michael Brown, former Detroit police chief James Craig, political commentator Tudor Dixon, businessman Perry Johnson, former Allendale Township planning commissioner Ryan Kelley, financial adviser Michael Markey Jr., pastor Ralph Rebandt, auto dealers Kevin Rinke, and chiropractor Garrett Soldano.  The leading candidates seem to be Craig, Dixon, Johnson, and Rinke.

Attorney General: Lean D
Progressive lesbian attorney Dana Nessel defeated Tom Leonard 49-46 in 2018.  She has had a rocky tenure, including getting so drunk she had to be wheeled out of a football game.

The R nominee will be attorney Matt DePerno, who beat Tom Leonard and Ryan Berman at an April endorsement convention thanks to Trump's endorsement.  DePerno is a "Stop the Steal" lawyer who filed many suits related to the 2020 election that were all thrown out.  He also has been involved in many ethical controversies.  These liabilities appear to make him a weak candidate.

Secretary of State: Lean D
Incumbent democrat Joscelyn Benson was elected 53-44 in 2018.  Benson attracted controversy for unsolicited mailings of absentee ballot applications prior to the 2020 election.  She also faced widespread criticism for mismanagement of SOS offices, including closures and months long waits for appointments.

The R nominee will be activist Kristina Karamo, who beat state rep Beau LaFave and township clerk Cindy Berry at an April endorsement convention thanks to Trump's endorsement.  Karamo is a "Stop the Steal" activist without election or administrative experience.  It is unclear whether she will be able to run a strong campaign.

Michigan Supreme Court Likely R/Lean D
Democrats currently hold a 4-3 majority on the court.  There are two full-term seats up for election on the Michigan Supreme Court. They are those of conservative R incumbent Brian Zahra and liberal D Richard Bernstein.  Bernstein attracted controversy for voting to uphold Whitmer's lockdown measures and then leaving the country to work from Dubai for months during the pandemic.  The R nominee against Bernstein is Paul Hudson, an attorney who clerked for Ray Kethledge (6th Circuit).  Democrats nominated State rep (18-P) Kyra Harris Bolden of Southfield to face Zahra.

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. Only one seat up is held by Republicans. Democrats have swept these elections in 2006, 2008, and 2012, while Republicans swept in 2010.  Incumbents are denoted with *. The candidates are
State Board of Education:
Republicans: Tami Carlone, Linda Lee Tarver
Democrats: Pamela Pugh*, Mitchell Robinson
UM Board of Regents:
Republicans: Lena Epstein, Sevag Vartanian
Democrats: Kathy White*, Mike Behm*
MSU Board of Trustees:
Republicans: Travis Menge, Mike Balow
Democrats: Renee Knake Jefferson*, Dennis Denno
WSU Board of Governors:
Republicans: Craig Wilsher, Christa Murphy
Democrats: Marilyn Kelly*, Danielle Atkinson

Ballot Propositions
The legislative put a proposition on the ballot to extend term limits to a total of 12 years in the legislature, and mandate some financial disclosure from candidates.
There are several other propositions collecting signatures that could make the ballot.

Michigan Congressional Seats
Michigan's congressional delegation is split 7-7 since 2018. Michigan has a new district map, and it lost one district.  There are several competitive districts (3, 7, 8, 10) on the new map.

2022 Michigan Congressional Races

Michigan Senate
The Michigan state senate is up for election, and 26 have no incumbent due to term limits and retirements. Republicans currently hold a 22-16 majority.  There is a new district map that favors Ds by splitting several metro areas.  Districts 9, 11, 12, 30, 32, 35 are likely to be competitive.  There are several competitive primaries, including several challenges against incumbents.

2022 Michigan State Senate Elections

Michigan House
All 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives are up for election. Republicans won a 58-52 majority in 2020.  There will be many open seats due to term limits and candidates running for other offices.  Both parties have potential targets to pickup.

2018 Michigan State House Races

Kalamazoo County Commission
Ds hold a 7-4 majority on the Kalamazoo County Commission.  There is a new district map that eliminates two seats.  It is likely to lead to a 6 D, 3 R split, but districts 4, 5, and 9 could be competitive.  Six of 11 incumbents will not seek reelection.

Sunday, May 01, 2022

May 2022 Judiciary News

Congratulations to the third Justice Jackson.

Nominations, Hearings, Confirmations:

Jackson:  Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed 53-47, Republican senators Collins, Murkowski, and Romney joining all Ds voting to confirm her.  Romney's support is particularly odd, as he voted against her confirmation to the DC Circuit in 2021.

Jackson may be the first black woman on the Supreme Court, but I cannot be sure, since "I’m not a biologist".

Jackson:  The Office of Legal Counsel of the DOJ claims that President Biden is able to appoint Jackson to a future vacancy, even though there is currently no vacancy.  It seems Biden issued a commission early to prevent a hypothetical R-controlled Senate from voting to reconsider her nomination.

Appointments:  Ed Whelan examines exactly how a Supreme Court justice announces retirement and whether the president could appoint a confirmed nominee to a different seat.

Hearings:  Senator Lindsey Graham suggested that Judge Jackson "would not have been before this committee" if Republicans controlled the Judiciary Committee.  Politico claimed he meant that she would be denied a hearing, but Ed Whelan argues that he meant that she would not have been nominated in the first place.

Leftists:  The left seems oddly bitter in the wake of Jackson's confirmation.  Perhaps it is due to the realization that the right is likely to have the upper hand on the Supreme Court for a while, and court packing remains a fantasy.

Nominations:  Harsh Voruganti of the Vetting Room argues that President Biden has fallen behind on circuit court nominations, and that nominations made later than early May risk not being confirmed.

6th Circuit:  The White House is vetting two candidates to fill the seat being vacated by Judge R. Guy Cole Jr.  They are "Rachel Bloomekatz, a public interest lawyer and former state counsel for the Biden-Harris campaign, and Alexandra Schimmer, Denison University vice president and general counsel who served as Ohio’s solicitor general".

11th Circuit:  Carrie Severino exposes the extreme record of 11th Circuit nominee Nancy Abudu, who works for the corrupt smear merchants of the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

SD-NY:  Jennifer Rearden is the first Biden judicial nominee to be unanimously endorsed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.  This comes after more than 20 progressive groups are urged that she be rejected due to her work representing corporations against leftists.  She was previously nominated by Trump in 2020 on the recommendation of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D).

ED-NY:  Nominee Nusrat Choudhury claimed in 2015 that "the killing of unarmed black men by police happens every day in America".  Under questioning by Senator John Kennedy, she thrice cited her "role as an advocate" to suggest that she was not required to tell the truth.

SD-IA:  US Magistrate Judge Stephen Locher is the first Biden nominee for a district court in a red state (two R senators).  There have been only three confirmed nominees in a purple state (Ohio).

D-CO:  Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper recommended three candidates to fill a future vacancy.  They are "U.S. Magistrate Judges S. Kato Crews and Gordon P. Gallagher, as well as Sundeep K. "Rob" Addy, an attorney in private practice".


The Federal Judiciary:

Ethics:  The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to advocate for an ethics code and "recusal reforms" for the Supreme Court.  Congress cannot impose a code on the Supreme Court, which is a separate branch of government.  Justice Thomas was a target of the hearing due to his wife's text messages related to the 2020 election.

Ethics:  Congress has passed a bill to improve financial disclosure for the judiciary.  The goal is to reduce conflicts of interest where judges rule on cases involving companies in which they have a financial interest.

5th Circuit:  Chief Judge Priscilla Owen (5th Circuit) has wedded Chief Justice Nathan Hecht (Texas Supreme Court).  To avoid having opinions by Chief Hecht referencing opinions by Chief Hecht, Priscilla Owen will go by Priscilla Richman.

9th Circuit:  Judge Johnnie Rawlinson has suggested she may take senior status, but only if her preferred successor is nominated.  She wants her former clerk Berna Rhodes-Ford, who is now the wife of Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford (D).  Some observers consider Rawlinson's actions inappropriate.

Vacancy Declarations:  There are now 115 current and future judicial vacancies.  New vacancies over the past month are listed below.
ND-AL: Abdul K. Kallon (Obama) 8/31 (resigned)
D-NJ: Noel Lawrence Hillman (W) 4/4 (senior)
ED-MI: Denise Hood (Clinton) 5/1 (senior)
MD-PA: Robert Mariani (Obama) 9/30 (senior)
ND-IL: John Lee (Obama) TBD (elevated)
ED-WA: Salvador Mendoza Jr. (Obama) TBD (elevated)

State Supreme Courts:

Connecticut:  Governor Ned Lamont appointed Judge Joan K. Alexander to the state Supreme Court.  Alexander, age 59, has been on the Appellate Court for two years.  She replaces Justice Christine Keller, who will leave the court due to reaching the age limit of 70 in October.  Keller was appointed to the court by Lamont in 2020.

Florida:  Carlos Muniz will be the new Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, succeeding Charles Canady.  The court broke with the usual pattern of choosing the next most senior justice, Alan Lawson.  Muniz, who is seen as more conservative, reportedly won a behind-the-scenes battle with Lawson.  Muniz was appointed by Ron DeSantis in 2019.

Florida:  Justice Alan Lawson will retire from the Florida Supreme Court on August 31.  Lawson, age 60, was appointed to the Fifth District Court of Appeal by Jeb Bush in 2005 and to the Supreme Court by Rick Scott in 2017.  Governor Ron DeSantis will get his fourth appointment to the court.  Judge Renatha Francis, who DeSantis tried to appoint to an earlier vacancy, but was rejected due to insufficient experience, may now be a top candidate to replace Lawson.

Indiana:  The Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission selected "Justin Forkner, the court’s chief administrative officer, Judge Dana Kenworthy of the Grant Superior Court and Judge Derek Molter of the Court of Appeals of Indiana" as the finalists to fill the vacancy caused by the upcoming retirement of Justice Steven David.

New Jersey:  The stalemate over the New Jersey Supreme Court continues.  There are two open seats, and a third seat will open on July 7 when Barry Albin is age-limited.  Governor Phil Murphy nominated Rachel Wainer Apter to an open seat in March 2021, but state senator Holly Schepisi (R) is holding up the nomination.

Virginia:  There are two vacancies on the Virginia Supreme Court due to the retirements of Justices Donald Lemons and William Mims.  The Virginia legislature is supposed to pick their replacements, but the R-controlled house and D-controlled senate are deadlocked.  If they cannot agree, Governor Glenn Youngkin will appoint temporary replacements.

West Virginia:  Governor Jim Justice appointed C. Haley Bunn to the West Virginia Supreme Court seat vacated by Evan Jenkins.  Bunn has worked as a federal prosecutor and in private practice.


Overview:  Business Insider has a three-part series (1, 2, 3) on state supreme court elections.  In summary, they think it's bad that conservatives try to influence the judiciary.

Alabama:  On May 24, there are partisan primaries for two seats.
Place 5: Justice Mike Bolin is age-limited.  Alabama GOP counsel Greg Cook appears to be the favorite over Anniston Circuit Judge Debra Jones for the R nomination. Judge Anita L. Kelly will be the D nominee.
Place 6: Justice Kelli Wise (R) is unopposed for reelection.

Arkansas:  On May 24, three justices face a nonpartisan election.
Position 2: Justice Robin Wynne faces District Judge Chris Carnahan and attorney David Sterling.  Sterling was an R candidate for AG in 2014 and lost a Supreme Court race in 2018.
Position 6: Justice Karen Baker faces Judge Gunner DeLay, who is an R former state rep and senator.
Position 7: Justice Rhonda Wood is unopposed.

Georgia:  On May 24, justices Verda Colvin, Shawn LaGrua, and Carla McMillian face a nonpartisan election.  LaGrua and McMillian are unopposed.  Colvin, who was appointed by Governor Brian Kemp (R) in 2021, faces Veronica Brinson, who lost a race for state senate in 2020 as a D.

Idaho:  On May 17, justices Robyn Brody and Colleen Zahn are unopposed for reelection.

North Carolina: On May 17, there are partisan primaries for two seats.
Seat 3: Justice Robin Hudson (D) is retiring, as she is near the age limit.  North Carolina Court of Appeals judges Lucy Inman (D) and Richard Dietz (R) are unopposed for their parties' nominations.
Seat 5: Justice Sam Ervin IV (D) is running for reelection.  Candidates for the R nomination are Trey Allen, general counsel for the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Court, Court of Appeals judge April C. Wood, and Victoria Prince.

Ohio:  On May 3, a partisan primary will be held for three seats.  All primary candidates are unopposed for their nominations.  Justice Sharon Kennedy (R) will face Justice Jennifer Brunner (D) for the seat of Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor.  Justice Pat Fischer (R) will face appeals court judge Terri Jamison (D).  Justice Pat DeWine (son of Governor Mike DeWine) will face appeals court judge Marilyn Zayas (D).


Sunday, April 24, 2022

2022 Michigan State Senate Races

Last updated April 24, 2022.

All 38 seats in the Michigan Senate are up for election in 2022.  Republicans currently have a 22-16 majority, and have controlled the senate since 1983.  The Michigan state senate is up only in midterms, which usually favor Republicans more than presidential years.  However, Republicans lost five seats in the bad year of 2018.

Michigan has a new state senate map, thanks to the Michigan's Independent Redistricting Commission.  The commission drew lines that split many counties and split Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, and the Lansing area to benefit Ds.  The city of Detroit was split to reduce the number of black-majority districts from five to zero.  The commission created several competitive districts.

Michigan Redistricting: State Senate Map Approved

Interactive versions of the map are available at Dave's Redistricting and MICRC.

Michigan State Senate Map-Dave's Redistricting
Michigan State Senate Map-MICRC

2022 Candidate List (Michigan Secretary of State)

Three R and one D incumbents had to move.  Seven senators are term-limited.  Two senators are running for congress, two are running for state house, and one just retired.  There will be one incumbent-v-incumbent primary.  There will also be several interesting general election races. 

All but seven current state senators are former state representatives.  Two senators (LaSata, Theis) face primary challengers endorsed by President Trump, and there will be several interesting primaries in safe seats.  Consider the districts in detail.

The election data for each district is the R candidates for President 2016 (P16), Attorney General 2018 (AG18), Governor 2018 (G18), and President 2020 (P20).  (There was 1-5% of the vote for third party candidates in these races.)

1. [SC Detroit, Taylor] Safe D
P16: 27 G18: 24 AG18: 25 P20: 30
This seat is 37% black and 17% Hispanic.  It loses much of downriver and adds a chunk of Detroit.  Erika Geiss lives here and will run for reelection. She is being challenged by former state rep (14-20) Frank Liberati and four other Ds.  Erik Soderquist will be the R nominee.

2. 26R, 74D [Dearborn, Dearborn Heights] Safe D
P16: 26 G18: 23 AG18: 24 P20: 26
This seat is 26% black, and now has a significant Middle Eastern population.  Sylvia Santana represents most of this seat and will run here.  Maurice Sanders is also seeking the D nomination.  Harry Sawicki will be the R nominee.

3. 26R, 74D [central Detroit, Warren, Madison Heights] Safe D
P16: 20 G18: 17 AG18: 18 P20: 21
This seat is 44% black.  Stephanie Chang will run for reelection here.  Adam Hollier also lives here, but is running for Congress instead.  Also seeking the D nomination are state rep (10-16) Alberta Tinsley Talabi and Toinu Reeves.

4. 48R, 52D [S Wayne] Lean D
P16: 46.5 G18: 39.9 AG18: 41.8 P20: 47.1
This area has moved toward Trump, but votes more D downballot.  Erika Geiss represents much of this seat, but lives in Taylor, and will run in district 1.  Ds have a strong candidate in state rep Darrin Camilleri (16-22) who flipped a seat that voted for Trump in 2016.  James Chapman, Michael Frazier, Houston James, and Beth Socia are seeking the R nomination.

5. 41R, 59D [Canton, Westland] Safe D
P16: 40 G18: 36 AG18: 38 P20: 39
Compared to old 7, this seat lost Plymouth/Northville and added Westland and Inkster.  This area has moved left, and Dayna Polehanki flipped it D in 2018.  Also seeking the D nomination is Velma Jean Overman.  Emily Bauman, Jody Rice-White, and Leonard Scott Jr. are seeking the R nomination.

6. 31R, 69D [Livonia, Redford, Farmington Hills] Safe D
P16: 31 G18: 28 AG18: 30 P20: 30
This seat is 41% black.  Incumbent Betty Jean Alexander is a political lightweight who beat white incumbent David Knezek in a huge primary upset in 2018.  She is being challenged by former state rep (08-14) and Farmington Hills Mayor Vicki Barnett, who lost a close race for state senate in 2014.  Also running are 30-year-old state rep (20-P) Mary Cavanagh, who recently pled to 'superdrunk' driving, and Darryl Brown.  The R nominee will be Ken Crider.
7. 26R, 74D [Southfield, Pontiac, Bloomfield Hills] Safe D
P16: 25 G18: 25 AG18: 26 P20: 25
The most black district (47% black) on the map is mostly in Oakland.  White incumbent Jeremy Moss will run for reelection.  Rosemary Bayer also lived here, but moved to run in district 13.  Ryan Foster and Vernon Molnar are also seeking the D nomination.  The R nominee will be Corinne Khederian.

8. 22R, 78D [N Detroit, Royal Oak] Safe D
P16: 22 G18: 21 AG18: 22 P20: 22
This seat is 42% black.  White incumbent Mallory McMorrow of Royal Oak and black incumbent Marshall Bullock of Detroit are both running here.  The R candidate is Brandon Simpson.

9. 51R, 49D [Troy, Rochester Hills, Sterling Heights] Lean R
P16: 51 G18: 47.3 AG18: 50 P20: 49.2
This 17% Asian seat is an improvement on old district 13.  Mallory McMorrow represents about 2/3 of this seat, but will run in district 8.  State rep. (14-20) Michael Webber (R) of Rochester Hills will face state rep (18-P) Padma Kuppa (D) of Troy.

10. 34R, 66D [E Detroit, Warren, Sterling Heights] Safe D
P16: 33 G18: 30 AG18: 31 P20: 34
This seat is 42% black.  White incumbent Paul Wojno of Warren will run here.  He could face a primary from a Detroit candidate.  Joe Hunt and Paul Smith, who lost a 2020 state house seat, are seeking the R nomination.

11. 50R, 50D [Macomb Twp, Clinton Twp, Roseville] Tossup
P16: 48.6 G18: 42.2 AG18: 44.2 P20: 48.2
This slice of Macomb has moved R, but votes more D downballot.  Incumbent Michael MacDonald (R) will run here.  If he wins, he will be the first R in many decades to represent part of Detroit.  Conspiracy theorist Melissa Carone, who was disqualified from a state house run for campaign finance violations, is also seeking the R nomination.  Macomb County Commissioner Veronica Klinefelt, William Collins, and Monique Owens are seeking the D nomination.

12. 53R, 47D [Lake St. Clair shoreline] Lean R
P16: 52.2 G18: 46.4 AG18: 48.9 P20: 51.5
This district hugging the Lake St. Clair shoreline is actually a good draw for Rs.  Unlike the congressional and state house maps, the Grosse Pointes are not drowned in a Detroit district.  State rep. (16-22) Pam Hornberger (R) of Chesterfield Township, who narrowly lost a state senate special primary in 2021, will run here.  Michael Williams is also seeking the R nomination.  State rep (16-22) Kevin Hertel (D) of St. Clair Shores will run here.

13. 44R, 56D [West Bloomfield, Novi, Northville, Plymouth] Lean D
P16: 43.8 G18: 41.2 AG18: 43.2 P20: 42.2
Ten years ago, this would have been an R district, but these upscale suburban areas moved left under Trump.  Incumbent Rosemary Bayer (D) represents only tiny Keego Harbor (pop. 2970) and Sylvan Lake (pop. 1720), where she moved to avoid a primary with Jeremy Moss in district 8.  Jason Rhines and Brian Williams are seeking the R nomination.

14. 45R, 55D [N Washtenaw, Jackson] Lean D
P16: 43.8 G18: 40.4 AG18: 42.4 P20: 43.9
In one of the outrageous pro-D gerrymanders on the map, Ann Arbor is split in half in an attempt to drown most of Jackson County in a D district.  Possible student turnout dropoff and the possibility of an Ann Arbor progressive being nominated are only barely keeping this seat competitive.  Washtenaw County Commissioner Sue Shink, former Jackson City Council Member Kelsey Wood, and activist Val Cochran Toops are seeking the D nomination.  Grass Lake Township Trustee Tim Golding will be the R nominee.
15. 27R, 73D [S Washtenaw] Safe D
P16: 27 G18: 26 AG18: 27 P20: 26
The rest of Washtenaw is safe for any D.  Incumbent Jeff Irwin will run here.  Scott Price and Wyckham Seelig are seeking the R nomination.

16. 63R, 37D [Monroe, Lenawee, Hillsdale] Safe R
P16: 60 G18: 55 AG18: 57 P20: 62
This seat is open, with old 17 incumbent Dale Zorn termed out.  State rep (16-22) Joe Bellino and state rep (20-P) TC Clements are seeking the R nomination.  Katybeth Davis will be the D nominee.

17. 65R, 35D [S Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph, Branch, E Calhoun] Safe R
P16: 62 G18: 58 AG18: 60 P20: 63
This succeeds old 21, losing north Berrien.  The result is an absurd district takes a swath of rural territory from Berrien to Jackson counties.  Kim LaSata represents about 2/3 of this seat, but had to move into it.  Jonathan Lindsey was endorsed by Trump when he planned to seek the seat vacated by term-limited senate majority leader Mike Shirkey, but ended up in this district.  The D nominee will be Scott Starr.

18. 62R, 38D [W Calhoun, Barry, SE Kent, E Allegan] Safe R
P16: 59 G18: 55 AG18: 58 P20: 60
This succeeds old 19, and goes from three whole counties to one whole county and parts of five others.  Incumbent John Bizon will retire after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery.  State rep (16-22) Thomas Albert of Lowell is seeking the R nomination, along with biomedical electronics technician Ryan Mancinelli.  The D nominee will be Kai Degraaf.

19. 42R, 58D [Kalamazoo, Antwerp Twp] Safe D
P16: 41 G18: 39 AG18: 42 P20: 40
This is mostly the same as old 20, plus or minus a couple townships.  Incumbent Sean McCann was the first D to win this seat in 2018, after many years of Rs winning by decreasing margins.  The R candidate is Tamara Mitchell.

20. 59R, 41D [N Berrien, Van Buren, W Allegan, SW Kent] Safe R
P16: 57 G18: 55 AG18: 57 P20: 57
This is a messier successor to old 26, stretching from Benton Harbor to the Grand Rapids suburbs.  Aric Nesbitt, who is the presumptive next R senate leader, lived in 19, but moved here, where the large majority of his constituents live.  Kim LaSata lived here, but moved to 17 to avoid a primary.  Kaleb Hudson and Austin Kreutz are also seeking the R nomination.  Kim Gane will be the D nominee.

21. 43R, 57D [W Ingham, Eaton] Safe D
P16: 41 G18: 37 AG18: 40 P20: 41
In another outrageous pro-D gerrymander, Lansing is split, and East Lansing is put a into separate district.  This district takes away the Eaton County base of Tom Barrett (R), who is running for Congress instead.  Curtis Hertel Jr. is term limited.  State rep Sarah Anthony will be the D nominee.  Nkenge Robertson will be the R nominee.
22. 63R, 37D [Livingston, S. Genessee] Safe R
P16: 62 G18: 56 AG18: 59 P20: 61
Livingston County will no longer share a district with Washtenaw, to the delight of folks on both sides of the county line.  Incumbent conservative Lana Theis is seeking reelection.  She is being challenged by Mike Detmer, who has Trump's endorsement, due to her refusal to endorse election fraud conspiracy theories.  Jordan Genso is the D candidate.

23. 59R, 41D [W Oakland] Safe R
P16: 58 G18: 53 AG18: 55 P20: 56
Jim Runestad gets a significantly safer district due to the removal of Novi and West Bloomfield.  Una Hepburn and Michael Wiese are seeking the D nomination.

24. 66R, 34D [N Oakland, NW Macomb] Safe R
P16: 64 G18: 59 AG18: 62 P20: 63
This packs much of the most R territory in Oakland and Macomb.  Incumbent Ruth Johnson only represents a small part of this district, but is well known from being SOS (10-18) and Oakland County Clerk.  Doug Wozniak, who won a 2021 special election for a Macomb-based seat, lives here.  Wozniak deferred to Johnson after redistricting put them in the same district, and will run for state house against the man who was elected to succeed him.  Theresa Fougnie will be the D nominee.

25. 68R, 32D [St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron] Safe R
P16: 65 G18: 57 AG18: 60 P20: 66
Dan Lauwers keeps almost all his existing district, and shouldn't have any trouble.  The D nominee will be Bert Van Dyke.

26. 62R, 38D [Lapeer, NE Genessee, S Saginaw, W Tuscola] Safe R
P16: 59 G18: 52 AG18: 56 P20: 61
Incumbent Kevin Daley is seeking reelection.  Sherry Marden is also seeking the R nomination.  Charles Stadler will be the D nominee.

27. 38R, 62D [central Genessee] Safe D
P16: 36 G18: 32 AG18: 35 P20: 37
This 29% black seat is open, since D leader Jim Ananich is termed out.  State rep (18-P) John D. Cherry is likely the favorite.  He is the son of the state senator and LG of the same name.  David Davenport, Monica Galloway, and Bill Swanson are also seeking the D nomination.  Aaron Gardner and Christina Hickson are seeking the R nomination.

28. 45R, 55D [East Lansing, Clinton, Schiawassee] Lean D
P16: 43.2 G18: 38.2 AG18: 43.9 P20: 43.6
This is the other half of the gerrymander that split East Lansing from Lansing.  There is a chance that this could be competitive due to turnout dropoff amongst MSU students.  Former state rep (12-18) Sam Singh is seeking the D nomination, along with Sais Muhammad Salman.  Madhu Anderson and Daylen Howard are seeking the R nomination.

29. 38R, 62D [S Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Kentwood] Safe D
P16: 37 G18: 37 AG18: 39 P20: 35
This district was held by an R until 2018, but Grand Rapids has zoomed left under Trump.  Incumbent Winnie Brinks will run here.  State rep (16-22) Tommy Brann, who lost a 2021 special election for a suburban state senate seat, is seeking the R nomination along with Andrew Kroll.  Brann is a decent candidate in case of a total bloodbath for Ds in November.
30. 51R, 49D [N Grand Rapids, central Kent, NE Ottawa] Lean R
P16: 50.1 G18: 47.4 AG18: 50.6 P20: 47.1
Another gerrymander is splitting Grand Rapids between 29 and 30 to create a competitive district here.  Fortunately, the rural areas of Kent and Ottawa are still solidly R downballot, through the presidential numbers got much worse under Trump.  Mark Huizenga was elected to succeed Peter MacGregor in a 2021 special election, and is seeking reelection here.  Keith Hinkle is also seeking the R nomination.  State rep (16-22) David LaGrand is running here, after losing a previous state senate race in 2010.

31. 62R, 38D [Ottawa, Holland area] Safe R
P16: 61 G18: 60 AG18: 63 P20: 59
Incumbent Roger Victory should have another easy victory here.  Steven Thomas and Brian VanDussen are also seeking the R nomination.  Kim Nagy will be the D nominee.

32. 53R, 47D [Muskegon, Lake Michigan coast] Lean R
P16: 49.6 G18: 46.4 AG18: 49.2 P20: 51.7
This seat loses heavily R Newaygo County and adds more competitive areas along the lakeshore in a mild pro-D gerrymander.  Jon Bumstead represents about 2/3 of this seat, but had to move in from Newaygo County.  Senator Curt VanderWall lives in Mason County, but decided to run for state house rather than challenge Bumstead or move to a different district.  Charles Ritchard is also seeking the R nomination.  State rep (16-22) Terry Sabo will be the D nominee.

33. 68R, 32D [N Kent, Ionia, Montcalm, Newaygo, Lake] Safe R
P16: 64 G18: 59 AG18: 62 P20: 66
Incumbent Rick Outman will run for reelection here, though the majority of his current constituents are in 34.  Jon Bumstead also lived here, but moved to 33.  Mark Bignell will be the D nominee.

34. 64R, 36D [central Lower Peninsula] Safe R
P16: 60 G18: 55 AG18: 58 P20: 63
This district is open, though the majority of it is currently represented by Rick Outman.  State rep (16-22) Roger Hauck will run here.  Lisa Sowers is also seeking the R nomination.  Christine Gerace will be the D nominee.

35. 49R, 51D [Saginaw, Bay, Midland] Tossup
P16: 47.1 G18: 44.2 AG18: 46.4 P20: 47.6
This is another pro-D gerrymander, combining three mid-Michigan seats to make about the best district possible for Ds.  While all cities, Saginaw (blacks), Bay City (white working class), and Midland (upscale Rs) have little in common demographically.  A decade ago, this would have been safe D, but Bay County has moved right. Turnout in Saginaw and candidate quality have long been a problem for Ds.  Incredibly, despite D dominance of Saginaw County, Rs have won its state senate district for the last eight elections.  
With Jim Stamas and Ken Horn term-limited, there is no incumbent here.  Conservative state rep (18-P) Annette Glenn of Midland is running.  She succeeded her husband, state rep Gary Glenn (14-18), who lost a primary for a senate district in 2018.  Another candidate is conservative former state rep (12-18) Tim Kelly, though most of his old seat is in district 26.  Martin Blank and Christian Velasquez are also seeking the R nomination.  Bay City Commissioner Kristen McDonald Rivet will be the D nominee.  She is the wife of state rep (98-04) and Bay County Drain Commissioner (04-20) Joe Rivet.

36. 68R, 32D [NE Lower Peninsula] Safe R
P16: 65 G18: 59 AG18: 63 P20: 67
This seat has no incumbent.  Curt VanderWall could have moved here, but chose to run for state house instead.  Conservative state rep. (16-22) Michele Hoitenga will be the R nominee.  Former state rep (04-10) Joel Sheltrown will be the D nominee.  He was a strong overperformer and would have been a tough candidate a decade ago, but this area has moved right and he is now 75.

37. 58R, 42D [NW Lower Peninsula] Safe R
P16: 56 G18: 52 AG18: 55 P20: 55
This seat only slightly shifts from its current version.  With Wayne Schmidt term-limited, the seat is open. State rep John Damoose (20-P) of Emmet County and former state rep Triston Cole (14-20) of Antrim County are the leading candidates here.  Businessman William Hindle and Mackinaw City trustee George Ranville and also seeking the R nomination.  "Trucker" Randy Bishop, Barbara Conley, and Jim Schmidt are seeking the D nomination.

38. 59R, 41D [Upper Peninsula] Safe R
P16: 56 G18: 51 AG18: 53 P20: 57
This seat adds more area, and now has almost all of the Upper Peninsula.  It was held by Ds for decades until 2010.  R state rep Ed McBroom (10-16) of Dickinson County won it in 2018.  McBroom has angered Trump due to his refusal to endorse election fraud conspiracy theories.  He is being challenged for the R nomination by Matthew Furyk and Kayla Wikstrom.  The D nominee will be John Bramsee.

Summary of Ratings:
Safe D: 13 (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 15, 19, 21, 27, 29)
Lean D: 4 (4, 13, 14, 28)
Tossup: 2 (11, 35)
Lean R: 4 (9, 12, 30, 32)
Safe R: 15 (16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 31, 33, 34, 36, 37, 38)

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Jon Hoadley Rejected

Back in February, Governor Gretchen Whitmer nominated former state rep Jon Hoadley to the WMU Board of Trustees.  Last week, the state senate rejected his appointment by a 20-18 vote.

Why was Hoadley rejected?  He doesn't have the qualifications that trustees usually have.  He has no advanced degree, only a bachelor's.  He has no business experience, aside from political consulting.  He is only 38, and his entire career has been devoted to advancing leftist causes.

In addition, he is currently a student at Western, which at least raises ethical questions about how he can run an institution while pursing a degree there.

Given all these reasons to oppose Hoadley's nomination, democrats and leftists naturally screeched that he was rejected because he's gay.  Because that's how they roll.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

2022 Michigan Congressional Races

This post was last updated on April 23, 2022.

Michigan has a new congressional district map, thanks to the Michigan's Independent Redistricting Commission.  Michigan lost one seat in redistricting, and is left with 13.  The commission drew some poor lines, and skewed several districts (3 and 8) to the left in the name of partisan fairness, but also created several districts (7 and 10) that are winnable for each side.

Michigan Redistricting: Congressional Map Approved

The map above is from the page at RRH Elections linked below, which also has individual district maps.

Interactive versions of the map are available at Dave's Redistricting and 538.

Michigan Congressional Map-Dave's Redistricting
Michigan Congressional Map-538

Several incumbents had to move.  There have been two retirements, and there will be one incumbent-v-incumbent primary and two open seats.  There will also be several interesting general election races.  Consider the districts in detail.

The election data for each district is the R candidates for President 2016 (P16), Attorney General 2018 (AG18), Governor 2018 (G18), and President 2020 (P20).  (There was 1-5% of the vote for third party candidates in these races.)

District 1  (Upper Peninsula, northern Lower Peninsula) Safe R
P16: 59 G18: 54 AG18: 57 P20: 59
This district doesn't change much, it just adds a few counties for population.  It becomes about 1% more R.  Retired general Jack Bergman was first elected in 2016. He pledged to serve only three terms, but now plans to break that pledge.  When he does retire, a troll (below the bridge) candidate may finally win the seat.  Bob Lorinser will be the D nominee.

District 2.  (West Michigan coast, central MI) Safe R
P16: 61 G18: 56 AG18: 59 P20: 63
This combines northern parts of old 2 represented by Bill Huizenga and a lot of rural territory from old 4 represented by John Moolenaar.  It is even safer, moving about 2% more R.  Republican state senator John Moolenaar, first elected in 2014, will run here, though he lives in Midland (in new 8).  He has a primary challenge from Trump fan and frequent candidate Tom Norton, who originally intended to run against Peter Meijer.  Jerry Hilliard will be the D nominee.

District 3 (Grand Rapids, north Ottawa, Muskegon) Tossup
P16: 46.6 G18: 44.9 AG18: 47.8 P20: 44.8
Old MI-2 was split into three pieces.  23% went to new 2, 51% went to new 3, and 26% went to new 4.  The core of old 3 in Kent County was merged with half of old 2.  New 3 drops heavily R rural Kent, Barry, Ionia, and Calhoun.  It adds Kentwood (D), Wyoming (lean R), N Ottawa (R), and the city of Muskegon (D), moving about 6% left.  This is a pro-D gerrymander in the name of "partisan fairness".
Retail heir and veteran Peter Meijer won the 2020 R primary with 50%, succeeding R-turned-Libertarian Justin Amash.  Meijer, who voted for impeachment, faces John Gibbs, who is endorsed by Trump.  Attorney Gabi Manolache is also seeking the R nomination.  Meijer can still win this district, but if he loses the primary, it will likely go D.
The D nominee will be attorney Hillary Scholten, who lost by 6% in 2020.

District 4 (Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Holland) Safe R
P16: 51.6 G18: 49.4 AG18: 52.3 P20: 51
Old MI-6 was split into two pieces.  69% went to new 4, and 31% went to new 5.  The southern tier of St. Joseph, Cass, and southern Berrien moves to new 5.  New 4 has 63% from old 6, 25% from old 2 (south Ottawa), and 10% from old 3 (the Battle Creek area).  Old 6 is represented by longtime moderate R Fred Upton.  The south Ottawa base of Bill Huizenga was added, and he quickly announced that he would run here.
President Trump had previously endorsed state rep. Steve Carra to run against Upton due to his vote for impeachment.  Redistricting took Carra out of the new district.  Upton didn't immediately announce his plans, but made some moves toward running again, including running $200,000 in ads.  President Trump then offered a "complete and total" endorsement of Huizenga.  While not explicitly un-endorsing Carra, this served to push him out of the race, and he chose to run for reelection.  Upton apparently realized that he wouldn't win a one-on-one race and declined to seek reelection, leaving Huizenga unopposed.  The D nominee will be veteran Joseph Alfonso.

District 5 (South-central Michigan, lower tier) Safe R
P16: 60 G18: 55 AG18: 58 P20: 61
This is mostly old 7, dropping Eaton and Washtenaw, and adds heavily R areas of rural Calhoun, St. Joseph, Cass, and S Berrien.  It moves about 4.5% right.  Republican Tim Walberg has become increasingly entrenched since his comeback in 2010, and he will be safe here.  Elizabeth Ferszt and Sherry O'Donnell are also seeking the R nomination.  Bart Goldberg will be the D nominee.

District 6 (Washtenaw, plus south and west Wayne) Safe D
P16: 37 G18: 35 AG18: 36 P20: 36
This succeeds old 12, adding W Washtenaw and dropping Dearborn and part of Downriver.  It moves 2% more R.  Fortunately, the commission did not extend this district into R territory south or west of it.  In 2014, democrat Debbie Dingell easily replaced her husband John Dingell in Congress after his 58 years (!) in office.  The city of Dearborn has been represented by a member of the Dingell family since 1964, but Debbie Dingell will move here, since she represents the bulk of this territory.  Hima Kolanagireddy and Whittney Williams are seeking the R nomination.

District 7 (Ingham, Livingston, Eaton, Clinton, Schiawassee) Tossup
P16: 48.9 G18: 44.2 AG18: 48 P20: 48.7
This is a highly competitive district containing Lansing and surrounding counties.  It contains the core of old 8 (Ingham and Livingston), which was drawn to lean R.  It adds lean R areas from old 4 and 7, while losing R (but D-trending) areas in Oakland.  Former DOD official Elissa Slotkin (D) defeated Mike Bishop in 2018. She lived in Oakland but moved here.  The R candidate is likely to be state senator (18-22) Tom Barrett, whose district was carved up.  Jack Haag is also seeking the R nomination.

District 8 (Genesee, Saginaw, Bay, Midland) Lean D
P16: 46.9 G18: 42.5 AG18: 45.8 P20: 48.2
This succeeds old 5, adding the rest of Saginaw County and the city of Midland.  While the district moves about 1% right, this is basically the best configuration Ds short of adding Lansing to the district.  This is another example of gerrymandering by the commission.  Former Genesee Treasurer Dan Kildee (D) succeeded his uncle Dale Kildee in 2012.  Television anchor and Trump USCIS official Paul Junge, who lost old 8 to Elissa Slotkin by 4% in 2020, is running here.  Matthew Seely and Candice Miller (not the former congresswoman) are also seeking the R nomination.

District 9 (The Thumb, N Oakland, N Macomb) Safe R
P16: 64 G18: 57 AG18: 60 P20: 64
This succeeds old 10, losing a bit of central Macomb and adding some of north Oakland.  The partisanship hasn't changed.  Self-funding businesswoman Lisa McClain won the 2020 R primary with 42%, succeeding Paul Mitchell.  Michelle Donovan is also seeking the R nomination.  Brian Jaye will be the D nominee.

District 10 (S Macomb, Rochester Hills) Tossup
P16: 50.4 G18: 44.4 AG18: 46.6 P20: 49.8
This moves 7% right compared to old 9.  It adds lean R areas of central Macomb and Rochester Hills, while losing D areas of Oakland.  Andy Levin (D) represents much of this district but will run in new 11.  John James, the R US Senate nominee in 2018 and 2020 is running.  He has attracted widespread support, including a Trump endorsement.  Tony Marcinkewciz is also seeking the R nomination.
The leading D candidates are former prosecutor and judge Carl Marlinga and former state rep Henry Yanez (12-18).  Also seeking the D nomination are Huwaida Arraf, Rhonda Powell, and Angela Rogensues.

District 11 (Central Oakland) Safe D
P16: 41 G18: 38 AG18: 39 P20: 39
This has much of old 11, along with parts of old 9 and 14.  It moved 8.5% left of old 11.  Andy Levin succeeded his father Sander Levin in old 9 in 2018.  Businesswoman Haley Stevens (D) succeeded David Trott (R) in old 11, which swung heavily against Trump.  Levin and Stevens, who represent roughly equal portions of the D base, will compete against each other in the D primary.  Levin is marginally more progressive, but the difference is small.  Businessman Gabi Grossbard, who lost an R congressional primary in 2020, is running again.  Matthew DenOtter and Mark Ambrose are also seeking the R nomination.

District 12 (W Detroit, Southfield, Livonia, Dearborn, Westland) Safe D
P16: 25 G18: 22 AG18: 24 P20: 25
The commission decided to reduce MI from two black-majority districts to none, with both new 12 and 13 now about 46% black.  New 12 combines parts of old 13 and 14.  Brenda Lawrence, who has represented old 12 since 2014, will retire.  After Lawrence announced her retirement, Rep. Rashida Tlaib announced that she would run here.  
Tlaib won old 13 when it was open seat in 2018 due to a split in the black vote.  Tlaib is a Muslim member of "the squad" who has made national news due to her anti-Semitic remarks and attacks on President Trump.  While Tlaib lives in the other Detroit-based district, this district has a larger middle eastern population.
Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey, who has long been criticized for lack of competence, is challenging Tlaib.  Former state rep Shanelle Jackson (06-12) and Lathrup Village Mayor Kelly Garrett are also seeking the D nomination.  Steven Elliott, James Hooper and Hassan Nehme are seeking the R nomination.

District 13 (E Detroit, Downriver, Romulus) Safe D
P16: 23 G18: 21 AG18: 22 P20: 25
New 13 combines parts of old 13 and 14.  It was vacated by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who will run in new 12.  Her announcement followed a primary challenge by state rep (20-22) Shri Thanedar, a wealthy businessman who represents a district in north Detroit.  Other candidates announced campaigns after Tlaib left, bringing the field to eleven candidates.  The others are state senator Adam Hollier, John Conyers III (son of the late congressman), Detroit school board member and former state rep (14-20) Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, former Detroit city councilmember Sharon McPhail, nonprofit CEO Portia Roberson, political consultant Sam Riddle, Michael Griffie, Angela McIntosh, Lorrie Rutledge, and Adrian Tonan.  Martell Blivings, Articia Bomer, and Vance Patrick are seeking the R nomination.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

2022 Kalamazoo County Commission Races

This post was last updated April 19, 2022.

Democrats won a 7-4 majority on the Kalamazoo County Commission in 2020, which was a bad year for Republicans.  For 2022, there is a new map drawn by the Kalamazoo redistricting commission, which is dominated by D countywide elected officials.  They eliminated two seats.  The new map is a soft D gerrymander, which is likely to produce 6 D and 3 R seats in most years.  There are three districts that contain two incumbents, and one district with no incumbent.  Six of 11 commissioners are retiring this year.

The following post has detailed descriptions of the districts and their political leanings. The numbers given are the percentages for Trump (2016), O'Brien (2018), Trump (2020), and Balkema (2020).  Incumbents are marked below with asterisks.

List of Kalamazoo County Candidates

District 1 [N Kalamazoo] Safe Democrat
T16 20.3, O18 21.3, T20 21.5, B20 28.6
Democrat: Tami Rey*, Michael Seals
Republican: none
This is the majority minority district, which adds parts of old district 4 (most of eastern Kalamazoo Township) for population.  Property manager Tami Rey won this seat after Stephanie Moore vacated it for an unsuccessful race for state house.  Seals was a county commissioner (10-20) representing most of Kalamazoo Township until he lost to Jen Strebs in 2020.

District 2 [Westwood, WMU] Safe Democrat
T16 30.3, O18 30.2, T20 26.7, B20 34.5
Democrat: Jen Strebs*, Brian Johnson
Republican: none
This has parts of old districts 3, 4, and 5, covering most of western Kalamazoo Township, and the WMU area of Kalamazoo.  Kalamazoo Township Board member Jen Strebs defeated longtime commissioner Michael Seals (10-20) in the 2020 D primary.  Brian Johnson was a longtime county commissioner until he lost a race for county clerk in 2012.  Commissioner (20-22) Veronica McKissack also lives here, but did not seek reelection.

District 3 [SW, SE Kalamazoo] Safe Democrat
T16 24.7, O18 25.2, T20 22, B20 31.4
Democrat: Monteze Morales*
Republican: none
This seat adds the majority of old district 2 in SE Kalamazoo and loses the WMU area to new district 2.  Tracy Hall was elected here in 2016, replacing John Taylor.  She aborted a state house race in 2020, and is retiring this year.  Monteze Morales was appointed in June 2021 to replace Zac Bauer, who resigned after being appointed in 2019.  She previously lost the 2020 D primary to Bauer.  

District 4 [W Portage] Lean Democrat
T16 44.7, O18 47, T20 39.9, B20 49.5
Democrat: Abigail Wheeler
Republican: Charley Coss
This district succeeds the old district 10 in western Portage, adding two precincts from old 11 for population.  Portage used to be R territory, but it moved left under President Trump.  Commissioner Michael Quinn (08-10, 16-22) is retiring.  Abigail Wheeler was a Mattawan trustee who lost a race for state house in 2020, and then moved to Portage.  Coss, a businessman, lost bids for county commission in Kalamazoo in 2016 and Portage in 2020.

District 5 [E Portage] Lean Democrat
T16 43.3, O18 45.1, T20 39.9, B20 48.3
Democrat: John Patrick Taylor
Republican: Peter Strazdas
This seat added precincts from old districts 2, 3, and 11, moving it a few points left.  Portage used to be R territory, but it moved left under President Trump.  Meredith Place (D), the wife of longtime commissioner John Patrick Taylor (02-16), was elected to the commission in 2018 and was elected Kalamazoo County Clerk in 2020.  Fran Melgar was elected in 2020 and is retiring this year.  Taylor is running here, after previously representing the city of Kalamazoo.  Strazdas was mayor of Portage (05-17).

District 6 [Comstock, Pavilion, Brady, Climax, Wakeshma] Safe Republican
T16 56.2, O18 57.2, T20 53.4, B20 61.1
Democrat: Anthony Bates
Republican: John Gisler*, Christopher Daniels
This succeeds old district 7, losing Charleston Township and Galesburg, while gaining Pavilion and Brady Townships.  This district contains the homes of two commissioners.  One is Roger Tuinier, who is retiring after serving since 2012.  The other is commissioner John Gisler (10-12, 14-P), who is running for reelection.  Bates is a teacher who lost by about 12% to Tuinier in 2020.

District 7 [Cooper, Richland, Ross, Charleston, Galesburg, and Parchment] Safe Republican
T16 58.3, O18 58.4, T20 55.8, B20 62.2
Democrat: Luke Howell
Republican: Jeff Heppler*
This succeeds old district 6, adding Charleston Township, Galesburg, and Parchment.  Heppler (02-16) was previously a commissioner who lost a race for sheriff.  He defeated appointed incumbent Jen Aniano (D) to return in 2020.

District 8 [Texas, Schoolcraft, Prairie Ronde] Safe Republican
T16 56.3, O18 58.3, T20 51.2, B20 61.1
Democrat: Stephanie Willoughby
Republican: Wendy Mazer, Brian Kovacik
This merges parts of old districts 8 and 9 together.  Neither incumbent John Gisler or Dale Shugars live here, however.  Texas Township Trustee Wendy Mazer, a solid conservative, is running.   Kovacik lost bids for this seat to Shugars in 2014, 2016, and 2020.

District 9 [Oshtemo, Alamo] Lean Democrat
T16 43.7, O18 45.9, T20 41.5, B20 50.0
Democrat: Dale Deleeuw
Republican: Tom Graham
This succeeds old district 5.  It loses part of Kalamazoo Township to new 2 and adds the rest of Oshtemo from old 9.  Commissioner (14-18, 20-22) Dale Shugars, a conservative former state senator (94-02) and state rep (90-94), will not seek reelection.  Veronica McKissack (D) was elected to represent old 5 in 2020, but does not live here and is not seeking reelection.  Dale Deleeuw is a police officer.  IT specialist Tom Graham lost an R primary for state house in 2020.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Matt DePerno's Questionable Record

There are three Republicans seeking the endorsement of the Michigan GOP to run for Attorney General this year.  Former Speaker Tom Leonard is a solid conservative, and state rep Ryan Berman is a conventional Republican.  However, the third candidate, Matt DePerno, has attracted the most attention.

DePerno is a trial lawyer from Portage who emerged from obscurity in the wake of the 2020 election.  He filed lawsuits alleging fraud in Antrim County that were all eventually dismissed.  DePerno raised $389,000 for an "Election Fraud Defense Fund" but has so far refused to say what happened to the money.

He previously represented disgraced former state rep. Todd Courser in a lawsuit against the Detroit News that resulted in both of them having to pay sanctions to the News.  Over the years, DePerno was involved in a series of ethical controversies.

As a tax attorney who worked primarily in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties, his legal career has been marked by discord. DePerno was fired from one law firm, fought over client records after leaving a second firm and was accused of assaulting a client amid a fee dispute, according to court documents and transcripts reviewed by Bridge.

Given his history, it is fair to ask if DePerno's record matches his rhetoric.  I looked up his campaign contributions.  DePerno has made only ten state-level political contributions.  Five of them were made to various GOP committees in late 2021, and are obviously related to his run for AG.  There is also one contribution to the Kalamazoo GOP from back in 2003.

That leaves four individual contributions.  Someone who is an antiestablishment conservative could be expected to donate to similar candidates, such as Pat Colbeck, Gary Glenn, Matt Maddock, or even his former client Todd Courser.  But instead, his contributions are two each to state rep Brandt Iden and state senator Tonya Schuitmaker.  Whatever their other merits, Iden and Tonya are establishment Republicans who resisted efforts to move the GOP in the direction that DePerno now says it needs to go.

DePerno's contributions are not consistent with his rhetoric.  They indicate someone who wasn't very political, but was friendly with a couple local Republicans.  Republican delegates should pay attention to candidates' records, not just their rhetoric.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Bellwether Counties Revisited

John Gibbs, a candidate for MI-3, recently claimed on the MIRS podcast that bellwether counties are evidence for election fraud.  Gibbs has been endorsed by former President Trump against incumbent Peter Meijer, who voted for impeachment.

I previously addressed the issue of bellwether counties briefly in my roundup of election fraud claims:
How could Trump lose when he won most bellwether counties?
A bellwether county is a county which always, or almost almost always voted for the winner in recent elections.  They are not crystal balls, they are statistical anomalies--counties that happen to swing the same way as the nation when party coalitions change.  These counties are mostly rural, and Trump did well in them in both 2016 and 2020.  Biden won by improving in large suburban counties, not rural areas.
Some further examination may reinforce this point.  Here are 18 bellwether counties that Trump won in both elections, along with Trump's 2016 and 2020 margins.

Warren, Illinois 16% -> 20%
Vigo, Indiana 15% -> 15%
Bremer, Iowa 14% -> 16%
Washington, Maine 18% -> 20%
Shiawassee, Michigan 18% -> 20%
Van Buren, Michigan 14% -> 12%
Hidalgo, New Mexico 7% -> 15%
Valencia, New Mexico 9% -> 10%
Cortland, New York 5% ->2%
Otsego, New York 11% -> 5%
Ottawa, Ohio 20% -> 23%
Wood, Ohio 8% -> 8%
Essex, Vermont 17% -> 11%
Westmoreland, Virginia 7% -> 10%
Juneau, Wisconsin 26% -> 29%
Marquette, Wisconsin 24% -> 27%
Richland, Wisconsin 5% -> 10%
Sawyer, Wisconsin 18% -> 13%

Trump won all of these counties in 2016 by at least 5%, and 12 of them by over 10%.  Trump lost the popular vote by 2% in 2016 and lost it by 4% in 2020.  A 2% swing against Trump in any of these counties would still have resulted in Trump winning them.  In fact, Trump actually increased his margin in 11 of these counties, indicating that they are no longer in sync with nationwide election results.

The only bellwether county that Trump lost in 2020 is the one he won by the least in 2016.

Clallam County, Washington 3% -> -3%

These counties are almost all small rural counties.  The largest is Wood County, Ohio, with a population of 132,000.  With Republicans winning larger and larger margins in rural areas, there is no reason to expect these counties to align with recent or future election results.  Bellwether counties provide no evidence of election fraud.

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Fred Upton Finally Retires

Congressman Fred Upton announced today that he would retire from Congress.  He has been in Congress since 1986.  That's 18 terms, or 36 years.  He is the 6th most senior member of the house of representatives.

[David] Stockman was succeeded in Congress by staunch conservative Mark Siljander. In 1986, Upton ran in the primary against Siljander. Upton received campaign assistance from ultra-liberal democrat Congressman Howard Wolpe of the neighboring 3rd district. President Reagan endorsed Siljander, but Upton nonetheless won the primary 55-45 by distorting a mailing from Siljander to Christians in the district. 

In 1992, redistricting carved up Wolpe's district, leaving Upton to represent the now-6th district, which has largely held its present form of Kalamazoo, St. Jospeh, Cass, Berrien, Van Buren, and part of Allegan Counties since then. Following the 1994 election, Upton co-founded the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group of Republicans in Congress dedicated to moving the party to the left.
Upton racked up many liberal votes over his time in Congress.  He was not consistently pro-life, and did not receive the Right to Life endorsement, except for a few terms when the led the Energy and Commerce Committee.  He was anti-gun before 2002, voted pro-gun for a while, but has recently supported some gun control.  He has consistently voted for big spending and deficits, and supported Medicare Part D and the Wall Street bailout.  He often supported government regulations like the infamous light bulb ban.  Upton often endorsed or flirted with supporting amnesty.  Contrary to some claims, Upton did not get more conservative over the years.

About a third of the Republicans district never liked for Upton.  He faced several conservative primary challengers over the years.
1990: defeated state senator Ed Fredericks 63-37
2002: defeated state senator Dale Shugars 66-32
2010: defeated state rep Jack Hoogendyk 57-43
2012: defeated Jack Hoogendyk 67-33
2014: defeated Jim Bussler 71-29
2020: defeated Elena Oelke 62-38

I wrote an in-depth analysis of the 2012 primary campaign, including history, advertisements, debates, and outside endorsements.

Ultimately, two unforeseen factors led to Upton's retirement--Donald Trump and the Michigan redistricting commission.  Upton obviously never cared for Trump, but he managed to avoid open conflict with him until the end of Trump's term.  Trump's false claims of election fraud led the January 6 riot, which led to his second impeachment.  Upton was one of ten house Rs to vote for that impeachment.

This led many establishment Rs to distance themselves from Upton.  The GOP 6th District Committee criticized Upton's vote.  Based on this vote, I predicted that Upton would retire in 2022.

President Trump wanted retribution against those Rs who voted for impeachment or otherwise irked him.  Several candidates announced challenges against Upton.  Trump eventually endorsed State rep. Steve Carra, a solid conservative who was elected to represent St. Joseph and Cass Counties in 2022.

The second unforeseen factor was the Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission, which was approved by the voters in a referendum.  In the previous two cycles, redistricting was controlled by Rs in the legislature, who could be counted on to protect R incumbents in congress, including Upton.  Now it would be unknown what the map would look like until fairly late.

Upton seemed to be in a fairly good position, as he lived in a corner of the state.  A logical map would have just added Barry County or part of Calhoun County to the district to get the necessary population.  But few decisions the commission made were logical.  Eventually, the commission removed St. Joseph, Cass, and southern Berrien counties, and added southern Ottawa county and the Battle Creek area of Calhoun county, creating the new MI-4.

This upended the R primary in two ways.  Carra no longer lived in the new MI-4, and none of district was contained in it.  This made an uphill primary challenge that much harder.  The old MI-2 was essentially dismantled, and its incumbent, Bill Huizenga, now lives in and represents about 25% of the new MI-4.  Huizenga quickly announced that he would run for new MI-4.

Upton didn't announce his plans, but made some moves toward running again, including running $200,000 in ads.  A three-way race was difficult to predict, and could have been won by any of Upton, Huizenga, or Carra.  President Trump apparently decided that he wanted to defeat Upton more than he wanted to elect the most conservative candidate.  He offered a "complete and total" endorsement of Huizenga.  While not explicitly un-endorsing Carra, this served to push him out of the race, and he chose to run for reelection.  That left Upton in a race against a mainstream incumbent who could raise money and compete for endorsements on equal terms.  Upton apparently realized that he wouldn't win (perhaps after some private polling) and declined to seek reelection.

Huizenga is now the clear favorite to be the next congressman from southwest Michigan, but there is still time for other candidates to run.

Friday, April 01, 2022

April 2022 Judiciary News

 Happy Joe Biden day.

Nominations, Hearings, Confirmations:

Jackson:  During her Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Ketanji Brown Jackson endorsed originalism, saying "I’m looking at original documents. I am focusing on the original public meaning because I am constrained to interpret the text."  While she may not hold to that in office, this illustrates how the left has lost the argument over constitutional interpretation.

Jackson:  Responding to a question from Marsha Blackburn, Jackson stated that she could not define a the word 'woman', saying "I’m not a biologist".

Jackson repeatedly avoided or rejected progressive positions during her hearing, including on international law, police, and other issues.  She denied having anything to do with critical race theory, but Senator Ted Cruz showed that it is being taught in Georgetown Day School, where Jackson was trustee.  Jackson claimed that she was unaware of the case that struck down VMI's male-only admissions policy.  She also referred to Guam as a country.

Jackson:  Senator Josh Hawley accused Jackson of being soft of people who possess and distribute child porn, noting that she has often given sentences below the sentencing guidelines.  Andrew McCarthy argues that the attack is misguided, while Thomas Jipping gives it more credence.

Jackson:  In 2020, Jackson praised the 1619 Project, which uses the past existence of slavery to attack America.  It promoted many false historical claims, including that the American revolution was fought to protect slavery.

Jackson:  Ed Whelan argues that if confirmed, Jackson must recuse from the Harvard affirmative action case due to her being a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers.  She later agreed to do so.

Jackson:  A group of fake conservatives appointees of previous Republican presidents has endorsed Jackson's nomination.  This could serve as a convenient list of people a future R president should never appoint to anything.

Jackson:  Senator Lindsay Graham will oppose Jackson' nomination.  Susan Collins will support Jackson, and Lisa Murkowski has yet to announce a position.  They are the only three R senators to support Jackson for the DC Circuit.

SD-NY:  Over 20 progressive groups are urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject Biden  nominee Jennifer Rearden due to her work representing corporations against leftists.  She was previously nominated by Trump in 2020 on the recommendation of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D).

ED-WI:  Senator Dick Durbin will honor Senator Ron Johnson's (R) refusal to return a blue slip for judge William Pocan, who was nominated to ED-WI.  Senator Tammy Baldwin (D) refused to return a blue slip for Trump nominee Gordon Giampietro in 2018, so this may be a case of "turnabout is fair play".


The Federal Judiciary:

Thomas:  Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Thomas, sent texts to the White House discussing ways to challenge the outcome of the 2020 election.  The messages were leaked by the January 6 commission.  Many leftists have demanded that Justice Thomas recuse himself from cases related to January 6.  However, they took the opposite position when the spouses of judges Stephen Reinhardt and Cornelia Pillard engaged in ideological advocacy.

2nd Circuit:  The seat of Jose Cabranes will be filled by a nominee from Connecticut, due to an agreement by Senators Schumer (D-NY) and Blumenthal (D-CT).  Cabranes had ties to both News York and Connecticut and was appointed to D-CT by Carter.  On the recommendation of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), Clinton appointed him to a 2nd Circuit seat previously held by New Yorkers.

Vacancy Declarations:  There are now 111 current and future judicial vacancies.  New vacancies over the past month are listed below.
1st Circuit: Sandra Lynch (Clinton) TBD (senior)
WD-NC: Max Cogburn (Obama) TBD (senior)
9th Circuit: Sidney Thomas (Clinton) TBD (senior)

State Supreme Courts:

Kansas:  The Kansas legislature is considering changing the current "merit" selection of judges dominated by one special interest group, the Kansas Bar Association.  One proposal would institute direct election of judges, while the other would require senate confirmation of judges.  Either proposal would require a 2/3 majority in the legislature before going to the voters.

Maine:  Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Ellen Gorman announced her intent to retire in January 2021.  Governor Janet Mills nominated District Court Judge Rick Lawrence to the court.  He is 66, and would be the first black justice on the court.

Montana:  Following clashes between the left-leaning judiciary and R-controlled legislature, incumbent Montana Supreme Court Justices James Rice and Ingrid Gustafson will face serious challenges for reelection.  Judge Mike McMahon and former MT GOP counsel and PSC President James Brown are challenging Gustafson.  Brown has been endorsed by the top Republicans in the state.

Utah:  Governor Spencer Cox nominated Utah Court of Appeals judge Diana Hagen to the Utah Supreme Court.  She clerked for Judge Tena Campbell (D-UT), served as a federal prosecutor, and was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2017.  She will fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Constandinos Himonas.

West Virginia:  The West Virginia Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission will interview nine applicants for the Supreme Court seat vacated by Evan Jenkins.  After interviewing candidates, they will submit three names to Governor Jim Justice for his choice.

Numbers and Trivia:

Chief Judges:  On March 31, David Barron became the Chief Judge of the 1st Circuit, taking over from Jeffrey Howard.  Barron was appointed by Obama in 2014.  The Presidents who appointed chief judges of the 13 appeals courts are Clinton (4), W (2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, Fed), and Obama (1, 9, DC).