Tuesday, May 17, 2022

2022 Michigan Election Preview

This post was last updated November 6, 2022.

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

Governor: Lean D
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.

Businesswoman and political commentator Tudor Dixon won R nomination thanks to support from the Devos family and President Trump.  She defeated auto dealer Kevin Rinke, chiropractor Garrett Soldano, former Allendale Township planning commissioner Ryan Kelley, and pastor Ralph Rebandt.  Five candidates were removed from the ballot due to lack of signatures: businesswoman Donna Brandenburg, Michigan State Police captain Michael Brown, former Detroit police chief James Craig, businessman Perry Johnson, and financial adviser Michael Markey Jr.  

Whitmer is running heavily on abortion, while Dixon has struggled with fundraising.

Attorney General: Tossup
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 is 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 is 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.  She has struggled to raise money for her campaign.

Michigan Supreme Court Lean 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
Proposal 1 was put on the ballot by the legislature.  It would extend term limits to a total of 12 years in the legislature, and mandate some financial disclosure from candidates.
Proposal 2 would make a variety of changes to voting laws that would be beneficial to democrats.
Proposal 3 would create a 'right' to abortion, almost without limit.

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.

2022 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 are not seeking reelection.

Kalamazoo County Judges:
8th District Court (1 position):  Conservative Lana Maria Escamilla faces liberal Becket Jones.
9th Circuit Court (2 positions):  Conservatives Rebecca D'Angelo and Julie Jensen face Ken Barnard and liberal Josh Hilgart.

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