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 [http://annarborchronicle.com/2009/11/18/more-candidates-vie-for-state-house-senate/ 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 [http://westmichiganrising.com/diary/1290/david-hildenbrand-r-files-to-run-for-the-29th-state-senate-district earlier], another recent story in the Grand Rapids Press provides further details on the [http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2009/11/state_house_senate_races_heat.html 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 [http://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/index.ssf/2009/11/michigan_rep_jeff_mayes_announ.html 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 RightMichigan.com, and is clearly angling for the tea-bagger vote. Check out his blog for some [http://www.votepaulpeterson.org/ 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).

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