Sunday, September 08, 2019

2020 Michigan Election Preview

This post was last updated September 6, 2020.

Michigan's presidential electors, congressional seats, and the entire state house will be up for election November 2020.

President: Lean democrat
Michigan's presidential primary was on March 10.  President Trump easily defeated several primary challengers.  Joe Biden defeated Bernie Sanders in the Michigan D primary.  After President Trump's narrow victory in Michigan in 2016, the state is sure to be a battleground in 2020.

US Senate: Lean democrat
Democrat Senator Gary Peters is seeking reelection.  He won 55-41 in 2014 against Terri Lynn Land, who ran a weak campaign.  He has mediocre approval ratings, and is the least-known US senator.

Businessman John James, a black veteran, is running for the R nomination.  He was the R nominee against Debbie Stabenow in 2018, losing a relatively narrow 46.3-51.7 margin in a bad years for Republicans.  Perennial candidate Bob Carr was disqualified due to lack of signatures.

Michigan Supreme Court Safe democrat / Tossup
Republicans currently hold a 4-3 majority on the court, but moderate Republicans Elizabeth Clement and David Viviano holding the balance of power.  There are two full-term seats up for election on the Michigan Supreme Court. They are those of D Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack and conservative Stephen Markman, who is age-limited.  McCormack is likely safe, while the open seat will be hotly contested.  Court of Appeals judge Brock Swartzle  and assistant St. Clair County prosecutor Mary Kelly are the R nominees.  Grand Rapids attorney Elizabeth Welch is the other D nominee.

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, 2012, and 2018, while Republicans swept in 2010.  The candidates are as follows (incumbents are marked with *).
State Board of Education:
Republicans:  Tami Carlone, Michelle Frederick
Democrats:  Ellen Cogen Lipton, Jason Strayhorn
UM Board of Regents:
Republicans:  Sarah Hubbard, Carl Meyers
Democrats:  Mark Bernstein*, Shauna Ryder Diggs*
MSU Board of Trustees:
Republicans:  Pat O'Keefe, Tonya Schuitmaker
Democrats:  Rema Vassar, Brian Mosallam*
WSU Board of Governors:
Republicans:  Don Gates, Terri Lynn Land
Democrats:  Shirley Stancato, Eva Garza Dewaelsche

Ballot Propositions
Several initiatives have attempted to collect signatures, but have been hampered by the coronavirus and lockdown order.  Two initiatives were put on the ballot by the legislature.
1. The Michigan Search Warrant for Electronic Data Amendment would require a search warrant for electronic data.
2. The Michigan Use of State and Local Park Funds Amendment changes how money for Michigan parks can be spent.

Michigan Congressional Seats
Republicans won an 8-7 majority in Michigan's congressional delegation in 2018, after losing up the 8th and 11th districts.  Republicans may try to reclaim both districts, while Ds try to win the open 3rd district of Republican turned libertarian Justin Amash.  The 10th district of R Paul Mitchell is open.  The post below examines these races in detail.

2020 Michigan Congressional Races

Michigan House
All 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives are up for election. Republicans won a 58-52 majority in 2018.  There will be 25 open seats.  Both parties have potential targets to pickup.

60th District (Kalamazoo City) Safe democrat
Democrat state rep Jon Hoadley was first elected in 2014.  He is term-limited and running for Congress.  D county commissioner Julie Rogers won the D nomination with 51.5% over fellow commissioner Stephanie Moore.  The R candidate is Gary Mitchell.
61st District (Portage, Oshtemo) Tossup
Republican state rep Brandt Iden, first elected in 2014, is term-limited.  Bronwyn Haltom, a Trump campaign aide won the R primary with 66% over IT manager Tom Graham.  County commissioner Christine Morse, who was elected in 2018, is the D nominee.
63rd District (E Kalamazoo, S Calhoun) Safe Republican
R state rep Matt Hall defeated moderate David Maturen in the 2018 R primary.  Luke Howell beat Ron Hawkins for the D nomination.
66th District (Van Buren, Cooper) Safe Republican
R state rep Beth Griffin, a former county commissioner, was first elected in 2016.  Mattawan village council member Abigail Wheeler will be the D nominee.

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

Sheriff: Likely democrat
Democrat Richard Fuller was first elected in 2008.  In 2016, he defeated sheriff's deputy Thomas Swafford 76-24 in the democrat primary.  This year, retired police captain Shannon Bagley won the R nomination 55-45 over Swafford.
Prosecutor: Safe democrat
Democrat former assistant prosecutor Jeffrey Getting, who was first elected in 2012, is unopposed.
Clerk: Likely democrat
Longtime moderate Republican Tim Snow will not seek reelection in 2020. Democrat county commissioner (18-20) Meredith Place is the D nominee.  Her husband, former commissioner John Taylor (02-16), lost to Snow in 2016.  She won 39-33-28 over Doreen Gardner, an AT&T manager, and deputy clerk Sarah Joshi.  The R candidate is Bronson employee Mona Lisa Watson.
Treasurer: Lean Republican
Republican Mary Balkema, who was appointed in 2007, will seek reelection.  She has won competitive elections each time since then.  She faces D real estate agent Thomas Whitener.
Drain Commissioner: Likely democrat
Democrat Patricia Crowley, who was first elected in 2008, will retire this year.  R supplier quality Engineer Joanna Croes will face D Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control agent Jason Wiersma.
Surveyor: Safe Republican
Incumbent Republican Bill Hahn has been unopposed since 2008. The position is unpaid, and its holder must be a licensed surveyor.

Kalamazoo County Commission
All 11 seats on the Kalamazoo County Commission will be up for election. Ds won an 8-3 majority, and picked up one more seat due to a resignation. Districts 1, 5, 9, and 11 are open.  Republicans may target districts 6, 9, 10, and 11 for pickups.

2020 Kalamazoo County Commission Races

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