This post was last updated October 23, 2014.
Michigan's top constitutional offices, congressional seats, and the entire state legislature will be up for election November 2014.
List of Michigan candidates
List of Kalamazoo County Candidates
US Senate: Lean democrat
Democrat Senator Carl Levin is retiring after 36 years in Washington. The democrat nominee will be Congressman Gary Peters. Peters defeated Republican incumbent Joe Knollenberg in 2008, was narrowly reelected in 2010, and defeated fellow democrat incumbent Hansen Clarke in the 2012 democrat primary in the majority-black 14th district after his district was carved up in redistricting. He was previously a state senator and lottery commissioner. Peters is a standard liberal.
The Republican nominee will be former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. She was easily elected statewide in 2002 (55%) and 2006 (56%). She was previously Kent County Clerk. She is generally conservative, but her positions are not known on some issues. Several other Republicans considered running, but declined.
Governor: Lean Republican
Moderate Republican Governor Rick Snyder is seeking reelection. The former businessman easily defeated Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero 58-40 in 2010. Snyder's approval ratings have recovered since controversies over Right-to-Work, Detroit emergency managers, and other issues.
The democrat nominee will be former congressman (2008-2010) Mark Schauer, who lost reelection in 2010 to Tim Walberg 50-45. Schauer was previously a state senator (2002-2008) and state rep (1996-2002). He is a standard liberal with no real experience outside of politics.
Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley will run with Snyder again. He defeated Tea Party leader Wes Nakagiri at the Michigan Republican convention in August. The democrat nominee is Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown.
Attorney General: Lean Republican
Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette will seek reelection. He is a conservative who defeated democrat David Leyton 53-44 in 2010 and has championed conservative causes since then. The democrat nominee is law professor Mark Totten.
Secretary of State: Likely Republican
Conservative Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will seek reelection. She defeated democrat Joscelyn Benson 51-45 in 2010. The democrat nominee is Detroit attorney Godfrey Dillard, who is black.
Michigan Supreme Court Likely Republican/Lean democrat/Safe 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 conservative Republican Brian Zahra and democrat Michael Cavanagh. Zahra was elected to a partial term 50-42 in 2012 and will seek reelection. Cavanagh is age-limited and his seat will be open. Republicans nominated Kent County judge James Robert Redford for the open seat. Democrats nominated rich trial lawyer Mark Bernstein and Court of Appeals Judge William Murphy.
In addition, the two-year seat will be up due to the appointment of Republican David Viviano to fill the vacancy following the resignation of disgraced democrat Diane Hathaway following her conviction for tax fraud. Democrats nominated Deborah Thomas for the seat.
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 democrats. Democrats have swept these elections in 2006, 2008, and 2012, while Republicans swept in 2010. The candidates are
State Board of Education:
Republicans: Maria Carl, Jonathan Williams
Democrats: Cassandra Ulbrich (i), Pamela Smith
UM Board of Regents:
Republicans: Ron Weiser, Rob Steele
Democrats: Katherine White (i), Mike Behm
MSU Board of Trustees:
Republicans: Melanie Foster, Jeff Sakwa
Democrats: Faylene Owens (i), George Perles (i)
WSU Board of Governors:
Republicans: Michael Busuito, Satish Jasti
Democrats: Dana Thompson, Marilyn Kelly
There will be several ballot propositions.
Proposal 1 was voted on in August, and passed easily. It repeals the "Personal Property Tax", which is a tax on business equipment, and replaces it with expiring business tax credits. It had support across the political spectrum and no organized opposition.
Propositions 14-1 and 14-2 are referenda on bills to allow a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula. They are opposed by out-of-state animal rights groups.
A minimum wage initiative was disqualified from the ballot.
Michigan Congressional Seats
Republicans hold a 9-5 majority in Michigan's congressional delegation, which was unchanged in the 2012 election. Four districts (4, 8, 12, and 14) are open. Democrats made some effort in districts 1, 7, 8, and 11, though all favor Republicans.
2014 Michigan Congressional Races
All 38 seats in the Michigan state senate are up for election, and 9 have no incumbent due to term limits and retirements. Republicans currently hold a 26-12 supermajority after winning a landslide in 2010. Democrats will likely target Republican-held open seats in Kalamazoo County (20), Saginaw (32), and Monroe (17). Republicans will defend incumbents in several other competitive districts (7, 34). The post below examines these races in detail.
2014 Michigan State Senate Elections
20th District (Kalamazoo County) Tossup
Republican Senator Tonya Schuitmaker will seek reelection in the new 26th district due to redistricting. State rep Sean McCann of the 60th district is the democrat nominee. State rep Margaret O'Brien of the 61st district is the Republican nominee. Former state rep. Lorence Wenke, who represented about 55,000 people in the 21st district on the east side of Kalamazoo county 2002-2008, will also run, despite having lost his last three races by large margins. Wenke dropped out the Republican primary and is running as a libertarian.
All 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives are up for election. Republicans hold a 59-51 majority. There will be 40 open seats due to term limits and candidates running for state senate. Both parties have potential targets to pickup.
2014 Michigan State House Races
60th District (Kalamazoo City) Safe democrat
Democrat state rep Sean McCann is running for state senate. The democrats' candidate is political consultant Jon Hoadley, who defeated county commissioner David Buskirk of SE Kalamazoo and Kalamazoo Township Trustee Pamela Goodacre in the primary. The Republican nominee is Mike Perrin, who lost in 2012.
61st District (Portage, Oshtemo) Tossup
Republican state rep Margaret O'Brien is running for state senate. County commissioner Brandt Iden defeated fellow commissioner Phil Stinchcomb in the primary. The democrat candidate is Pastor John Fisher, and the libertarian is Michael Stampfler.
63rd District (E Kalamazoo, S Calhoun) Safe Republican
Republican Speaker Jase Bolger is term-limited. The Republican nominee is moderate Kalamazoo county commissioner David Maturen, who defeated conservative Marshall school board president Vic Potter. The democrat candidate will be Bill Farmer, who narrowly lost to Bolger in 2012.
Kalamazoo County Commission
All 11 seats on the Kalamazoo County Commission will be up for election. Republicans hold a 6-5 majority. Democrats will target districts 7, 10, and 11. There will be six open seats due to four candidates running for state representative and two retiring.
2014 Kalamazoo County Commission Election Preview
Kalamazoo County Probate Court
Trial lawyers Tiffany Ankley and Namita Sharma are running for an open seat on the county probate court. Sharma is a liberal democrat, while Ankely is endorsed by Right to Life.
Oshtemo Township Trustee
There is a special election for this seat due to the fact that democrat Coleman Lutz, who was elected in 2012, resigned shortly after the election. Moderate Republican Dave Bushouse, who was a trustee for 16 years before being defeated in 2012, was appointed to fill the vacancy. He is running for a partial term. He defeated Tea Party leader Jim Lefler in the Republican primary. Democrat Grant Taylor, who narrowly lost a race for Oshtemo Treasurer in 2012, defeated Zak Ford in the primary.
Kalamazoo Charter Amendments
There are several amendments to the Kalamazoo City Charter on the ballot that would result in the Mayor being elected separately, and commissioners being elected to four-year terms in groups of three each odd year. This would make it virtually impossible to elect a conservative to the city commission.
Mattawan Bond Proposals
The Mattawan School district is supporting two proposals to build new schools. The proposals are similar to proposals that were rejected by voters twice before.