Thursday, November 12, 2009

November State Senate and State House candidate filings

Can you believe that we are two weeks from Thanksgiving? On that note, here is the November State Senate and State House candidate update, that you can talk about with your relatives around the dinner table when you are tired of watching the Lions lose.

State Senate

District 2 (Status: Safe Democratic)

With Martha Scott term-limited, this safe Democratic seat is open and waiting for candidates. Olivia Boykins (10/28/2009), director of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, is the first candidate to file for the seat. Expect numerous other candidates to also file, including Representatives Lemmons and Johnson. Although this seat is the most conservative of the Detroit districts (largely because of the Grosse Point suburbs are included in this northeastern Detroit district), don’t expect a Republican to win this seat.

District 8 (Status: Safe Democratic)

Covering working-class suburbs in southern Wayne County, this safe Democratic seat is currently represented by term-limited Raymond Basham. Former State Representative Hong Yung Hopgood (10/23/2009) is the first to file, and will likely be facing a Democratic primary.

District 14 (Status: Safe Democratic)

Another solidly Democratic seat (covering southeastern Oakland County), this race has attracted two Democratic candidates to replace term-limited Gilda Jacobs. Oakland County Commissioner Dave Coulter (10/13/2009) and Representative Vince Gregory (10/15/2009), who current serves the 35th State House District, both have filed for this seat. With the only competitive contest for this seat coming in the Democratic primary, expect more Democrats to eye this seat.

District 16 (Status: Strong Republican)

Currently represented by term-limited Republican Cameron Brown, this rural district covers four southern counties (St. Joseph, Branch, Hillsdale, and Lenawee). While the district has a Republican lean, former Democratic State Representative Doug Spade (10/12/2009) is running for the seat. [ seat].

Spade, who became the first Democrat to represent Lenawee County in a generation by winning a stunner in 1998, is certainly a recruiting coup for the Senate Democratic leadership. His Republican opponent, and former fellow State House representative, is Bruce Caswell. While Caswell might be considered the front runner for this seat, this is certainly a place were the GOP doesn’t want to have to spend money or time. Keep an eye on this seat.

District 25 (Status: Weak Republican)

This district (covering Lapeer and St. Clair Counties) has always been a tease for the Democrats, who spend serious money in 2002 in an attempt to prevent Republican Senator Jud Gilbert from winning the seat. With Gilbert term-limited, the Democrats will likely work hard to elect Jason Davis (10/25/2009). Davis might be aided by the GOP primary battle between Representatives Lauren Hager and Phil Pavlov, which is certainly expected to be heated.

District 26 (Status: Weak Democratic)

Democratic Senator Deborah Cherry is vacating this seat due to term-limits, which presents an opportunity for the Republicans to win this weak Democratic district covering eastern Genesee and northern Oakland Counties. Thankfully for the Democrats, a Republican primary is now a reality, with former Representative Fran Amos (09/12/2009) facing off against David Roberston, who filed earlier this year. This will be an interesting race, and given his record of winning close races (both in the primary and general), I’d give the early edge to Robertston. Expect Democratic Representative Jim Slezak to also run for this seat.

District 29 (Status: Swing)

This Grand Rapids-based district has received its first official candidate: State Representative Dave Hildenbrand (11/10/2009), with the GR Press story [ here]. Hildenbrand currently represents a small portion of the district in the State House (some rural townships and a small portion of Grand Rapids), and while he has a sizable financial warchest, he is considered by many to be too conservative for the district. Representative Robert Dean and Grand Rapids City Commissioner David LaGrand have both expressed an interest, while former Representative Mike Sak, remains mum about his options.

District 34 (Status: Swing)

No new organization has yet covered this, but former Republican State Representative David Farhat (10/01/2009) has filed to run against Representative Goeff Hansen for the Republican nomination as previously posted on my []. This primary will pit a Muskegon County candidate versus one hailing from the rural portion of the district, which will be an interesting contest. Democratic State Representative Mary Valentine is running from the Democratic nomination, and will likely present a tough candidate for the winner of the GOP primary.

State House

District 5 (Status: Safe Democratic)

Hodari Brown (10/28/2009) has filed a primary challenge against second-term Representative Bert Johnson. Don’t expect much of a challenge here.

District 30 (Status: Swing)

Term-limited Republican Tory Rocca leaving this swing district covering Sterling Heights and Utica, and this will be a seat that is targeted by both parties. Attorney David Bocek (10/20/2009) has filed to run in the Republican primary, and is currently facing no opposition. The winner of the GOP primary will face Democratic Macomb County Commissioner Ken Lampar, who also unopposed.

District 35 (Status: Safe Democratic)

With current Democratic Representative Vincent Gregory running for the 14th State Senate District, two candidates have emerged to replace him. Eric Coleman (10/03/2009) and Rudolph Hobbs (10/28/2009) are both looking to represent this extremely safe Democratic seat.

District 50 (Status: Strong Democratic)

Democratic Representative Jim Slezak is likely running for the 26th State Senate seat, as shown by Gerald Masters (10/23/2009) filing to run for this seat. No Republican has yet filed to run for this seat.

District 53 (Status: Safe Democratic)

Current Democratic Representative Rebekah Warren running for the 18th State Senate district, this Ann Arbor-based district is open seat. Washtenaw County Commissioner Jeff Irwin (11/01/2009) has filed to run for this seat, and joins Ned Staebler in the Democratic primary. Irwin appears to be supported by the Warren-Smith faction of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party, although it remains to be seen whether Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje runs for this seat.

District 64 (Status: Swing)

After a humiliating loss to Republican Mike Nofs in this month’s special election for the 19th State Senate district, Marty Griffin announced that he would run again for his State House seat. He’s gotten one challenger thus far, as Jackson County Commissioner Earl Poleski (10/18/2009) is seeking the Republican nomination.

District 75 (Status: Swing)

With rumors building that Democratic Representative Robert Dean is running for the 29th State Senate District, Republicans are calculating this open seat might be easier to win. Republican attorney and tea-bagger activist Jordan Bush (10/29/2009) has filed to run for this seat (For a deeper analysis of this race, check out WMR-pb). Bush will likely find winning this increasingly Democratic seat hard to win, especially should County Commissioner Brandon Dillion seek the Democratic nomination. Bush might also face a primary contest from a moderate Republican like Attorney Chris Meyer, who narrowly lost the GOP nomination in 2006.

District 79 (Status: Leans Republican)
With Representative John Proos term-limited (and running for the 21st Senate District seat, Fred Upton aide Al Pscholka (10/13/2009) has thrown his hat into the ring for the GOP nomination. He’ll likely be joined by Berrien County Commissioner Jon Hinkelman. While this district has long-been a safe GOP district, over the past four election cycles it has become increasingly Democratic. 2008 Democratic candidate Jim Hahn is rumored to be considering another run at the seat.

District 80 (Status: Weak Republican)

This district has never seen a spirited Democratic campaign, despite Van Buren County favoring higher ticket Democratic candidates over the past three election cycles. With the filing of Van Buren County Commissioner Tom Erdmann (10/30/2009), this seat has clearly moved onto the radar screen for the MDP, and represents a unique opportunity to pickup a long-term GOP seat. While Republican businesswoman Shelley Hartmann has filed to run, expect a GOP primary with Van Buren County Sheriff Dale Gribler likely entering the field as well.

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