Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Festivus Miracle: State Senate and State House Candidate Filings and News Roundup

Thanks to a large number of news stories and candidates filing to run as your elected officials in 2010, here is an update bought to you by Festivus.

State Senate:

District 10 (Status: Leans Democratic)
This Macomb County district covering Sterling Heights, Utica, Clinton Township, and Roseville has attracted a candidate to replace term-limited Democratic Senator Michael Switalski (who is seemingly challenging US Representative Sander Levin in the 10th District). Paul Gieleghem (12/14/2009), currently is chairman of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners and represents District 19 (covering Central Township), has filed for the Democratic primary. Gieleghem, who served in the Michigan House from 1999 to 2005, might see some competition in the Democratic primary, including Representative Fred Miller and former Representative Frank Accavitti. No Republicans have yet filled for this seat, although Representative Tory Rocca and former Representative Sal Rocca might consider this race. Representative Kim Metlzer, another potential Republican candidate, chose to move from this district into the friendlier Republican territory of the 11th District (which shows you how strongly the GOP thinks they can win this seat).

District 11 (Status: Weak Republican)
Speaking of Kim Metlzer, she did file to run (12/16/2009) in the 11th District, which is currently represented by term-limited Republican Alan Sanborn. This northern Macomb County seat is safer GOP territory than the 10th District, which explains why Metzler risked being called a carpetbagger by potential Republican opponents (as discussed earlier at ML), which include former Representatives Leon Drolet, Jack Brandenburg, and Brian Palmer (none of whom have filled yet). No rumored Democratic candidate has emerged yet for this race.

District 12 (Status: Lean Republican)
In the past two weeks, two Republicans have filed to join the race to replace term-limited Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop. Bishop aide Cooper Rizzo (12/11/2009 and Rochester Mayor Pro-Tem Stuard Bikson (12/17/2009) have joined State Representative Jim Marleau in the Republican primary. While the Republican primary field has filled up, no Democratic candidate has yet emerged, although Representative Tim Melton is considering the race.

District 20 (Status: Swing)
As expected by many, Representative Larry DeShazor filed (11/29/2009) to run for the State Senate a little more than a year after being elected. Media in the Kalamazoo area have been covering this race pretty well in these stories here and here. Many experts say that DeShazor is the front-runner in the GOP field, although his opponents Tonya Schuitmaker and Lorence Wenke might disagree. One can only hope that Republican Jack Hoogendyk will emerge once again and join the fun as well. DeShazor’s departure from the State House makes the 61st District an open seat to watch, with Democratic and Republican candidates lining up to run to replace him. Some other stories covering the 20th District race are [ here] and [ here].

District 35 (Status: Leans Republican)
In another primary filling up with contenders, long-time Wexford County Sherriff Gary Finstrom (12/2/2009) has joined Representatives Darwin Booher and Tim Moore in the Republican primary to replace term-limited Senator Michelle McManus in the 35th District. Roger Dunigan is the only declared Democratic candidate. The GOP primary will be a barn burner, with three strong candidates going at each other.

State House

District 2 (Status: Safe Democratic)
Scott Benson (12/11/2009) is the first candidate to file in the 2nd District to replace Democratic Representative LaMar Lemmons Jr. Expect other candidates, including LarMar Lemmons IV, to run in the Democratic primary. No Republican candidate has filed.

District 4 (Status: Safe Democratic)
In a clear sign that State Representative Coleman Young Jr. is running for the 1st State Senate seat, Mary Sheffield (12/7/2009) and Marcus Brice (12/14/2009) have both filed to run for the 4th State House District. Sheffield previously ran in the 2008 Democratic primary for the 7th State House District, where she seventh with 3.4% of the total vote.

District 30 (Status: Swing)
Held by term-limited Republican Tory Rocca, this swing seat covers the northern portion of Sterling Heights and Utica. Republican businessman Jeff Farrington (12/14/2009) will join attorney David Bocek in the Republican primary. The winner will likely face Macomb County Commissioner Ken Lampar in a race that will be sharply contested by both parties.

District 54 (Status: Safe Democratic)
Want to meet a candidate? Democratic candidate Lonnie Scott wants to talk with you about state politics, according to []

District 57 (Status: Swing)
An article from the [ Daily Telegram] looks at how the Democratic and Republican primaries are shaping up in the race to replace term-limited Democratic Representative Dudley Spade.

District 60 (Status: Safe Democratic)
With current Democratic Representative Robert Jones running for the open 20th State Senate seat, another candidate has filed to join Kalamazoo City Commissioner Sean McCann in the Democratic primary. Recent Western Michigan University graduate Chris Praedel (12/14/2009) will also run for this [ seat].

No Republican has yet filed for this seat, but depending on the time of day and the weather, [ James Tyler] will likely file as a Democrat/Republican/Green/RonPaulite/Misc candidate.

District 68 (Status: Safe Democratic)
Facing incumbent Democratic Representative Joan Bauer hasn’t kept Republican Kyle Haubrich from filing (12/8/2009). Haubrich, a self-proclaimed [ tea bagger], is currently a law student at Cooley Law School (class of 2011). Expect a tough race for Haubrich.

District 71 (Status: Swing)
Another candidate files to replace term-limited Representative Rick Jones, this time Justin Heany (12/10/2009). A teacher at Grand Ledge High School, Heany will join Bob Robinson in the Democratic primary. Whoever emerges from either the Republican or Democratic primaries will face off in a must-watch race to hold this swing district.

District 89 (Status: Safe Republican)
John McNeil (12/15/2009) has filed to run in the Republican primary, joining declared candidate Brandon Hall. Hall has had a rocky few months, being charged with stealing money from an American Cancer Society fundraiser in early November as covered in the [ Grand Haven Tribune] and the [ Muskegon Chronicle].

Hall has pleaded not guilty, but a looming trial is not likely to help his candidacy. Republican businessman David Miller has also announced his candidacy according to an article in the [ Grand Haven Tribune].

District 92 (Status: Safe Democratic)
With the entrance of candidate Steve Markel (12/3/2009), there are now six candidates in the Democratic primary. This screams for a future post just on the 92nd District. A slightly dated [ Muskegon Chronicle] story examines the 91st and 92nd District primaries.

District 107 (Status: Leans Republican)
This swing district covering Chippewa, Mackinac, Emmet, and a portion of Cheboygan Counties is a seat that the Republicans are itching to pickup with Democratic Representative Gary McDowell term-limited from running again. Chippewa County Commissioner (District 7) Richard Timmer (12/12/2009) has filed to join Bob Carr in the Democratic primary field. As of now, only Frank Foster, son of a prominent contractor, has filed for the Republican nomination.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December State Senate and State House Candidate Filings

With the last month of 2009 upon us, it is time to take stock at recent candidate filings for the State House and State Senate. It will be interesting to see the financial numbers released by campaigns once 2010 begins, but for now we’ll have to do with rumors and potential candidacies.

State Senate

District 18 (Status: Safe Democratic)
As long suspected by many, State Representative Pam Byrnes has filed to run for the 18th State Senate District (11/25/2009). Byrnes’ entrance into the race creates a primary between her and fellow Representative Rebekah Warren. This race has been covered ably by the [ Ann Arbor Chronicle]. While this will be a primary to watch, the winner will be heavily favored in the November election in this safe Democratic district. While Ann Arbor locals might have a better idea of the current odds on favorite for this race, my guess is that Byrnes strong support of Andy Dillon’s agenda will throw organized labor into Warren’s camp, a sure plus in a heavily Democratic district.

District 29 (Status: Swing)
While Hildenbrand’s entrance (11/10/2009) into the 29th District (Grand Rapids and Kentwood) race was covered [ earlier], another recent story in the Grand Rapids Press provides further details on the [ race].

No other Republican candidates have announced, although perennial Republican candidate Dan Tietema might run in the GOP primary. While at the moment no Democratic candidates have filed, State Representative Robert Dean has announced to supporters that he will run, while Grand Rapids City Commissioner David LaGrand and former State Representative Michael Sak are other potential Democratic candidates. Regardless of whether Sak enters the race, I consider LaGrand to be the front-runner in the Democratic primary.

District 30 (Status: Safe Republican)
This safe Republican seat covering Ottawa County is being vacated by Senator Wayne Kuipers, and as expected, State Representative Arlan Meekhof has filed to replace him (11/23/2009). No word yet on potential GOP rivals, although Bill Huizinga might consider leaving the 2nd Congressional District GOP primary to run for this seat. No Democratic candidates have yet surfaced.

District 31 (Status: Swing)
State Representative Jeff Mayes (96th District covering part of Bay County) has filed to replace Jim Barcia, who is term-limited from running for this district covering Arenac, Bay, Huron, Sanilac, and Tuscola Counties (11/20/2009). Mayes filing is covered in the [ Bay City News]. While this is a swing seat, Mayes does not yet face Democratic or Republican opposition. It is expected that former Republican Representatives Steve Ehardt and Mike Green will run for the seat.

State House

District 4 (Status: Safe Democratic)
Edgar Vann III (11/19/2009) has filed a primary challenge against second-term Representative Colman Young II. Vann is the son of Second Ebenezer Baptist Pastor Edgar Vann II, who is a strong supporter of disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, received funding from the City of Detroit for his UNITE nonprofit. This could be an interesting primary.

District 8 (Status: Swing)
This safe Detroit based seat is being vacated by term-limited Representative George Cushingberry, and Marygrove College Adjunct Professor Leslie Love has filed to run (11/3/2009). James Heath and Mikal Crawford are also expect to run for the Democratic nomination.

District 31 (Status: Weak Democratic)
With current Democratic Representative Fred Miller term-limited, Marilyn Lane has filed to run (12/01/2009) in this Macomb County seat. Republican Dan Tollis and Democrats Commissioners Kathy Tocco and Carey Torrice are also rumored to be interested.

District 33 (Status: Weak Republican)
Second-term Republican Kim Meltzer is being challenged by Republican County Commissioner William Revoir (11/10/2009) in this Macomb County seat. A bloody GOP primary could make this slight Republican seat a pickup opportunity for the Democrats, however, Meltzer is likely running for the open 11th State Senate District seat.

District 54 (Status: Safe Democratic)
Current Democratic Representative Alma Wheeler Smith is term-limited (and running for Governor), and Michael White is the second candidate to file for this seat (11/14/2009). Other Democrats are expected to join White and Lonnie Smith in the Democratic primary.

District 67 (Status: Swing)
Two Republican candidates have filed to challenge second-term Democratic Representative Barb Byrum in this swing Ingham County district. Pastor Jeff Hall (11/13/2009) and Ingham County Republican Party Vice Chair Jeff Oesterle (11/16/2009) are looking at a primary. Given that Byrum might choose to run for the 23rd State Senate seat vacated by Democrat Gretchen Whitmer (who is running for Attorney General), this might be a seat that the Democrats will find a challenge to retain.

District 79 (Status: Leans Republican)
I missed this filing earlier this summer. Fred Upton aide Al Pscholka is joined in the Republican primary by Paul "Revere" Peterson, a self-proclaimed tea-bagger. Peterson announced his candidacy on, and is clearly angling for the tea-bagger vote. Check out his blog for some [ laughs]. With a divisive Republican primary a strong possibility, a Democratic candidate stands to gain in the general election. 2008 Democratic candidate Jim Hahn is rumored to be considering another run at the seat.

District 83 (Status: Weak Republican)
This Sanilac County district is a swing seat that is being vacated by term-limited Democratic Representative John Espinoza. Republican businessman Justin Faber is the first candidate to file (11/23/2009); expect many other Democrats and Republicans to enter.

District 91 (Status: Swing)
This swing Muskegon County district is being vacated by Democratic Representative Mary Valentine, who is running for the State Senate District 34. Republican Ken Punter has already filed for this seat, and is joined by Ben Gillette, who is closely tied to the Muskegon County Democratic leadership. Democrat Branden Gemzer (11/22/2009) is joining Gillette in the Democratic primary. Gemzer is an Iraq War vet and a former candidate for Egelston Township Supervisor.

District 92 (Status: Strong Democratic)
With Sean Mullally, Charles Nash, Larry McNeill, Marcia Hovey-Wright in the race for this safe Democratic seat in Muskegon County, the addition of Democrat Scott Nesbit (11/14/2009) further crowds this race.

District 97 (Status: Swing)
This swing seat covering Clare, Gladwin, and Arenac Counties is being vacated by Republican Tim Moore. Democrats Jason Liptow and Mark Lightfoot have entered the race, while Republicans Joel Johnson and Kim Emmons are joined by George Gilmore (11/25/2009).