Saugatuck's Genetski may challenge Lawton's Schuitmaker for Michigan Senate seat
LANSING (WKZO) -- Two West Michigan Republicans may be facing off for the state Senate next year due to redistricting. Representative Bob Genetski of Saugatuck has filed paperwork with the state to organize a committee for the newly configured 26th Senate District in 2014, which could put him up against incumbent Republican Tonya Schuitmaker of Lawton. Genetski has a recent drunk driving conviction on his record, which could come into play during a primary.The new 26th district is comprised of Allegan, Van Buren, and Kentwood and Gaines. Tonya currently represents all of Kalamazoo County and a third of Van Buren County. She lives in the part of Van Buren. Only about 10% of her current district is in the new 26th. However, she previously represented all of Van Buren and a small part of Allegan as a state rep.
She is widely expected to run in the new 26th, though this has not been announced officially. If she does, the new 20th will be open. The likely match-up there would be Republican state rep. Margaret O'Brien versus democrat state rep. Sean McCann. On the other hand, if Tonya wants to avoid a primary, she could run in the 20th, which would discourage O'Brien (and possibly McCann) from running.
Genetski is a solid conservative in the legislature. Tonya usually votes conservative, but with some exceptions. Genetski has a better geographic base, as Allegan is larger than Van Buren and central to the district. But Tonya is an incumbent, which allows her to raise a lot more money. If they face each other, Tonya would be the favorite, but Genetski could win if he could do well in Allegan, the part of Kent, and win Tea Party support.