Monday, August 31, 2009

Candidate Filings Michigan State Senate and House

Although the 2010 elections are more than a year away, many candidates are starting to file for a chance to run. I've reviewed the filing data posted at the Michigan Secretary of State's website at the link provided below:,1607,7-127-1633_8723_8751---,00.html

I've linked a Google document of the State House and State Senate candidates that will continually be updated through next May's filing deadline.

We have a number of recent filings that will be of interest for the ML community.

Michigan State Senate:
Menhen's excellent analysis written earlier in July provides a good overview for those who are not aware of how important winning this chamber is for the Democrats next year. There are 30 open seats (although Democratic incumbent Gretchen Whitmer is likely running for Attorney General), and getting strong candidates is crucial to winning a seat. Thus far we have the following Republican and Democratic candidates:

District 7 (Status: Swing)
Former Republican John Stewart is running as a Democrat (filed April 20, 2009) for this seat currently held by Republican Bruce Patterson. Expect a number of other candidates to file for this seat. I’m betting on a GOP and DEM primary.

District 14 (Safe Democratic)
Democratic Senator Gilda Jacobs is term-limited from this seat, but don’t expect part-time Republican copy machine operator James Hardin to win this seat (filed March 24, 2009).

District 15 (Strong Republican)
Democratic candidate Pamela Jackson (filed April 1, 2009) is running for Republican Nancy Cassis’ open seat. Given the Republican nature of this district, expect a number of Republican candidates to join Robert Gatt (January 1, 2009) in the primary field.

District 18 (Safe Democratic)
The most Democratic district outside of Detroit is currently Represented by Senator Liz Brater, who is term-limited from running again. Rebekah Warren (filed August 18, 2009) currently represents House District 53, which covers the City of Ann Arbor, and likely has an inside track for this seat. However, Democrat Pam Byrnes might try to run for this seat as well. Whomever wins will crush the Republican candidate three months later.

District 20 (Swing)
This Kalamazoo County-based senate seat is currently held by Republican Tom George, who is term-limited from running again, and is trying his hand at running for governor. The open seat has attracted a great deal of attention from Democrats and Republicans alike, with State Representative Robert Jones (July 20, 2009), County Commissioner John Taylor (June 24, 2009), and Mark Totten (May 20, 2009) throwing their hats in the Democratic primary. On the Republican side State Representative Tonya Shuitmaker (May 18, 2009) and former Representative Lorence Wenke (May 19, 2009) are in, although I’m hoping that Republican firebrand Jacob “Wacko Jacko” Hoogendyk will run as well.

District 21 (Strong Republican)
This southwestern senate districts is currently represented by Republican Ron Jelinek, who is term-limited. Republican State Representative John Proos (District 79) is running for the seat (filed February 9, 2009), and so far has no opposition.

District 22 (Safe Republican)
The second most Republican district in the Senate is currently held by term-limited Valde Garcia. Republican Joe Hune has filed (December 10, 2008) to replace him.

District 24 (Strong Republican)
Represented by moderate Republican Patricia Birkholz, this district is likely to get a more conservative senator if State Representative Rick Jones wins the Republican nomination (filed November 7, 2009). No Democratic candidate has yet filed.

District 25 (Leans Republican)
This district covers Lapeer and St. Clair Counties, and has been represented by Republican Jud Gilbert since 2003. With Gilbert term-limited, Lauren Hager (filed January 22, 2009) and Philip Pavlov (April 23, 2009) are looking for the Republican nomination. Should be an interesting Republican primary.

District 26 (Swing)
This district, held by Democratic Senator Deb Cherry, is a seat that could potentially flip come November 2010. Cherry made winning this seat seem easy in 2002 and 2006, and a strong Republican candidate like David Robertson (January 16, 2009) could make this a competitive race. Robertson was previously State Representative from District 51, a moderate district that was held by a conservative Republican due to his strong campaigning skills. This is a seat that needs a strong Democratic candidate to face off Robertson in November 2010.

District 32 (Swing)
Won by Republican “Raging” Roger Kahn by a narrow margin in 2006, this seat is again certain to be a top Democratic target in 2010. Thus far only Debasish Mridha (July 21, 2009) has filed for this seat.

District 33 (Safe Republican)
Senator Alan L. Cropsey is prevented from running for the Republican nomination again, and Republicans Hong Trebesh (filed April 23, 2009) and Representative Brian Calley (April 30, 2009) are running for the GOP nomination. Expect both candidates to be well-funded and an expensive primary as a result.

District 34 (Swing)
Democratic Representative Mary Valentine (May 8, 2009) and Republican Representative Geoff Hansen (filed January 29, 2009) are running for this seat which will be a race to watch next year. Although Republican Senator Gerald VanWoerkom held on to this district in 2002 and 2006 by narrow margins, Valentine is an incredible campaigner who ran one of the best GOTV efforts in the past two election cycles.

District 35 (Leans Republican)
Three candidates have filed to replace term-limited Republican Senator Michelle McManus: Democratic candidate Roger Dunigan (August 3, 2009), and Republicans Darwin Booher (January 18, 2009) and Timothy Moore (April 28, 2009).

District 36 (Leans Republican)
With Republican Senator Tony Stamas term-limited, Republican Representative John Moonlenaar (June 26, 2008) is running to replace him. Should the Democrats run a strong opponent, this could be a possible competitive race.

District 37 (Leans Republican)
Republican Senator Jason Allen is term-limited from running again, and Representative Howard Walker (Republican April 22, 2009) and Democratic Representative Gary McDowell (August 19, 2009) have filed to replace him. This could be a interesting race, especially if the MDP decides to throw money to support McDowell.

District 38 (Leans Democratic)
Held by Democratic Senator Mike Prusi, this seat has long been eyed by the GOP. Former Republican and 2008 Congressional candidate Tom Casperson (August 10, 2009) is running for this seat. Casperson is a strong candidate, and although the Republicans have never won this seat before, it remains to see what candidates the Democrats run for to replace Prusi

Many competitive seats have not attracted candidates yet, including District 13 (for the Democrats) and District 29.

State House

I’ve posted a table of the State House filings below:

Many candidates have filed in seats that are either strongly Republican or Democratic. However, some races deserve a special mention:

District 70 (Swing Seat)
First-term Democratic Representative Mike Huckleberry has drawn his first GOP challenger Edward Sternisha (06/23/2009) in a seat that will certainly draw a lot of Republican attention next year. Sternisha has a bare-bones website that notes he is partially done with law school and uses colored text. He also counts meeting GOP folks as endorsements.

District 71 (Swing)
This is Eaton County district is a place where the Democrats have a good chance of making this a competitive race with GOP Representative Rick Jones running for the State Senate (District 24). Two Republican candidates are running, Deb Shaughnessy and Cheryl Lynn-Haddock, while Robert Robinson is looking for the Democratic nomination.

District 91 (Weak Democratic) Ken Punter is running for the GOP nomination in this suburban Muskegon County seat. Whether Holly Hughes attempts to run again as the Republican nominee is another question. No Democratic candidate has emerged yet to replace Valentine.

Many seats that we won by Democrats in the past two election cycles (Districts 1, 20, 21, 24, 39, 64, 65, 75, 101, and 108) have not attract Republican challengers, in part because all 10 Democrats are running to hold their seats. If some of these Representatives receive serious GOP candidates in the next few months, the GOP might make a battle for control of the lower chamber. If not, expect the Dems to win a majority in the State House once again in 2010.

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