Friday, August 10, 2012

2012 Michigan General Election Preview

This article was last updated on October 27, 2012.

This is an overview of the November 6 general election races in Kalamazoo County, Michigan in 2012. More detailed profiles of some of the races are linked within the article.
[List of Primary Election Candidates]
[List of Kalamazoo County Candidates]

The primary election preview is here:
2012 Kalamazoo Primary Election Preview

President (Michigan)

Michigan leans slightly to the left in Presidential elections. This means that democrats need to win Michigan to win the White House, but Republicans don't. Michigan still has a bad economy thanks to eight years of democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm. Will this help Republicans in the presidential race? Perhaps. Several polls have shown the race tied, while others have shown Obama leading.

US Senate
Democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow is seeking a third term. The Republican nominee will be Pete Hoekstra, former congressman who represented the 2nd district in West Michigan 1992-2010. He lost the Republican primary for governor in 2010. He defeated Clark Durant, Gary Glenn, and Randy Hekman in the primary. Stabenow is the favorite due to incumbency and strong fundraising, but her mediocre approval ratings show the race could become competitive.

US House of Representatives
Only one or two of Michigan's 14 congressional districts are likely to have a competitive general elections. There were interesting primaries districts 6, 13, and 14. The following article examines the races in greater detail.
2012 Michigan Congressional Races

Michigan Supreme Court
Conservative Republican Steven Markman will seek reelection. Appointed Republican Brian Zhara will seek to fill the remainder of the term to which he was appointed. Democrat Marilyn Kelly has reached the age limit, so her seat will be open. Republican Colleen O'Brien was nominated over Jane Markey at the state convention. Republicans currently have a 4-3 majority on the court, so this election could result in anything from 5-2 D to 5-2 R. Democrats have endorsed Connie Kelley, Shelia Johnson and Bridget McCormack for the court.

Education Boards
Two seats on each of four boards will be up. Democrats endorsed candidates in March. Republican candidates were selected at the state convention in September.

Michigan Board of Education
Republicans: Melanie Kurdys, Todd Courser
Democrats: Lupe Ramos-Montigny, Michelle Fecteau

University of Michigan Board of Regents
Republicans: Rob Steele, Dan Horning
Democrats: Mark Bernstein, Shauna Ryder Diggs

Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Republicans: Jeff Sakwa, Melanie Foster
Democrats: Joel Ferguson, Brian Mosallam

Wayne State University Board of Governors
Republicans: Michael Busuito, Satish Jasti
Democrats: Sandra Hughes O'Brien, Kim Trent

Ballot Proposals
Six proposition will appear on the ballot. See the following.
2012 Michigan Ballot Propositions

Michigan House of Representatives
All 110 seats in the Michigan state house will be up for election. There are 22 open seats. Republicans currently have a 63-37 majority. The new redistricting plan helps Republicans some, but not as much as it could have. The following article summarizes all the races.
2012 Michigan State House Races

In the greater Kalamazoo area...

60th District (Kalamazoo city) Safe democrat
Democrat Sean McCann has an even safer district than before, and should have no trouble getting reelected. The Republican candidate is Michael Perrin.

61st District (Portage, Oshtemo) Safe Republican
Conservative Republican Margaret O'Brien will likely be reelected easily against democrat Michael Martin. The district became safer by losing western Kalamazoo Township to the 60th and adding Schoolcraft Township.

62nd District (Battle Creek, Albion) Safe democrat
Incumbent democrat Kate Segal will face Republican former Battle Creek mayor Mark Behnke. This district became more democrat with the addition of Bedford and Pennfield.

63rd District (E Kalamazoo, S Calhoun) Leans Republican
Republican Speaker Jase Bolger shouldn't have trouble with reelection against democrat Bill Farmer in a district that drops Bedford and Pennfield and adds rural conservative townships in Calhoun, but dems are spending heavily here.

66th District (Van Buren, Cooper) Safe Republican
Conservative Republican Aric Nesbitt should be safe against democrat Richard Rajkovich in a district that drops a small piece of Allegan and adds NW Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo Countywide Offices
All six countywide offices are up for election. Republicans hold four of six offices.

Sheriff: Leans Democrat
Democrat Richard Fuller defeated Republican Michael Anderson in 2008. Republican sheriff's deputy Ward Lawrence is challenging Fuller.

Prosecutor: Leans Republican
Incumbent Republican Jeff Fink will not seek reelection. Assistant prosecutor Scott Pierangeli, a member of the Portage Library Board, will run. The democrat candidate will be former assistant prosecutor Jeffrey Getting.

Clerk: Leans Republican
Incumbent moderate Republican Tim Snow will seek reelection. He will face leftist democrat County Commissioner Brian Johnson.

Treasurer: Leans Republican
Republican Mary Balkema, who was appointed to replace Sharon Cubitt in 2007, will seek reelection. Balkema barely defeated a token challenger in 2008. Her democrat opponent is Oshtemo Township Trustee and Mattawan School Board member Grace Borgfjord. It is possible that liberal billionaire Jon Stryker will fund Borgfjord this time due to Balkema's opposition to a 'gay rights' ordinance in Kalamazoo city in 2009.
Borgfjord Challenges Balkema

Drain Commissioner: Tossup
The incumbent is democrat Patricia Crowley. In 2008, she defeated Republican Pat Crouse who was appointed to replace Bill French, who was convicted of a crime. She will face Republican County Commissioner Nasim Ansari, who had applied for the position in 2008.

Surveyor: Safe Republican
Incumbent Republican Bill Hahn is unopposed. The position is unpaid, and its holder must be a licenced surveyor.

Kalamazoo County Commission
Republicans have a 10-7 majority on the commission. Redistricting will shrink the commission to 11 seats, changing the district boundaries. The new map is likely to yield a 7-4 Republican majority, but district 5 will be competitive. The following articles have detailed descriptions of the districts and analysis of the county commission races.
Kalamazoo County Commission Districts
2012 Kalamazoo County Commission Election Preview

Township Elections
Many township elections were decided in the primary, but several will be contested in November.
Here's who is running in Kalamazoo County in August and November county and township elections

Comstock Township: Incumbent democrat Supervisor Tim Hudson will not seek reelection. Moderate Republican County Commissioner Ann Nieuwenhuis will face trustee Randy Thompson. See the following article for a rundown of the other board elections.
2012 Comstock Township Elections

Kalamazoo Township: Democrat incumbent Supervisor is Terri Mellinger, who has had trouble paying her taxes and has had health problems, is not seeking reelection. Democrat trustee Ron Reid is unopposed in the general. Four democrats and one Republican, Kathleen Doornbas, are seeking the four trustee positions currently held by democrats.

Oshtemo Township: The incumbent democrat Supervisor is Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell. She will be challenged by former democrat county commissioner John Nieuwenhuis, running as a Republican. See the following article for a rundown of the other board elections.
2012 Oshtemo Township Elections

Incumbent judges J. Richardson Johnson, Pamela Lightvoet, Paul Bridenstine, and Curtis Bell are all unopposed.

School Boards
School board elections were moved to November by a recent bill.
Election 2012: Kalamazoo County candidates on November ballot for area school and library boards

Kalamazoo (2 positions): Carol McGlinn, Craig Herschleb
Portage (2 positions): Rusty Rathburn, Bo Snyder, Chelsea Herriman
Gull Lake (1 position): Lin Marklin, Lorence Wenke
Mattawan (2 positions): David Rhoa, Scott Sylvester, Arlen Winther, Scott Roethlesberger
KVCC (3 positions): Susan Miller, Kenneth Young, Greg Kolich, Marne Apolo, Anna Whitten

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