A More Complete Look at the Campaign for Control of the Michigan State Senate

Some of you may recall that last July I wrote here about the upcoming 2010 State Senate elections here in Michigan.  My diary received a lot of unexpected attention, including from, much to my surprise, the DLCC. As you can imagine, much has changed in the past 6 months. The fields are finally beginning to take shape and we now have a better view of what will be competitive, and what won’t.

I’ll start with a bit of background information.  The Michigan State Senate limits each member to serving no more than two four-year terms.  Because of these strict term limits, 31 of Michigan’s 38 seats will be Open this year.  We all know that under normal circumstances an open seat is much more likely to switch parties than one with an incumbent, so expect a lot of seats to change hands.  Currently the senate stands at 22R, 16 D.  (after the 2006 elections the makeup was 21R, 17D but Democrats have since then lost the 17th District in a special election).

Unlike last time, I will only be writing about districts that are either likely, lean, or tossup.  I made this choice because to write about every contested primary in every safe district would be extremely tedious and time consuming, especially because we are focused on seats that may switch parties.

Like last time, I will include race ratings at the end of this diary. Unlike last time, however, I will be using Rothenberg style ratings rather than Cook style.  For those who don’t know, Rothenberg ratings feature two more categories than Cook. Tossup/Tilt D and Tossup/Tilt R. Feel free to skip to the ratings if you don’t wish to read every writeup.

District 6 Glenn Anderson (D) Livonia, Westland, Redford, Garden City

Democrat Glenn Anderson defeated Republican Laura Toy in this historically Republican (but Democrat-trending) suburban Detroit district in 2006.  Anderson is one of the few Senators who is eligible to run for re-election in 2010.  So far no Republicans have filed, and to my knowledge, none have announced they will challenge Anderson.

Presidential Results: 57.8 – 40.4 Obama

Rating: Likely Democrat

District 7 Bruce Patterson (R) OPEN Canton, Northville, Plymouth, Trenton

The L-shaped 7th district is the last remaining Republican held Senate seat in Wayne County.  Obama won it easily, but don’t let his numbers fool you; The Canton-Northville-Plymouth area remains Republican friendly (locally at least). However, Democrats have made a lot of gains here over the past two cycles.  Every State House district that is located within the 7th District is held by a Democrat.  Marc Corriveau won the 20th District in 2006 and Dian Slavens captured the 20th in 2008.

Marc Corriveau, the young, affective, energetic State Rep. who represents the 20th District in the historically Republican Northville-Plymouth area, has announced he will run for this seat. Also running is former Democratic State Rep. Kathleen Law, who hails from the more Democratic Southern portion of the district.  

The Republican field, in contrast, is far less impressive.  Two have filed so far, Abe Munfakh, a Plymouth Township Trustee, and Colleen McDonald, a former factory worker.  Republicans should be hoping they will be able to find a more viable candidate…perhaps former State Rep. Philip LaJoy of Canton.  

With Corriveau as the likely Democratic nominee as well as the Republicans’ thus far lackluster array of candidates, I’m inclined to give Democrats a slight edge here.  However, the historically Republican nature of the district as well as the ugly national environment means that this is nowhere near a guaranteed pickup.    

Presidential Results: 54.7 – 43.7 Obama

Announced Candidates:

Marc Corriveau (D) State Rep. (2006-  )

Kathleen Law (D) State Rep. (2002-2008)

Abe Munfakh (R)

Colleen McDonald (R)

Rating: Tossup/Tilts D

District 10 Mickey Switalksi (D) OPEN

Sterling Heights, Utica, Roseville, Clinton, Mount Clemens

The 10th District, located in Central Macomb County, is one of two heavily Polish and Roman Catholic, working class, “Reagan Democrat” districts North of Detroit.  The 10th is the least Democratic of the two, but still favors Democrats.  Senator Mickey Switalski is term limited and running for Congress.  Thus far two strong Democrats have filed to run for the seat: Former Macomb County Prosecutor Carl Marlinga and Current Macomb County Commissioner and former State Rep. Paul Gieleghem.  No Republican has filed.  Due to the strength of the Democratic field and the announcement by Republican Kim Meltzer that she won’t run, I’ve switched my rating to Likely Democrat.

Presidential Results: 55.5 – 42.7 Obama

Announced Candidates:

Carl Marlinga (D) Former Macomb County Prosecutor

Paul Gieleghem (D) Former State Rep. (1998-2004) and Current Macomb County Commissioner

Rating: Likely Democrat

District 12 Mike Bishop (R) OPEN

Pontiac, Rochester, Auburn Hills, North East Oakland County

Majority leader Bishop is term limited in this swing district in Oakland County.  Although President Obama won this district, I’m not extremely optimistic about picking this one up because Obama’s margin of victory was almost entirely from majority black Pontiac, where turnout won’t be as high this year.

Republican State Rep. Jim Marleau has filed and is probably the favorite in both the primary and general.  The only Dem State Rep. in the district is Tim Melton of Pontiac, and he seems unlikely to run.

Presidential Results: 52.5 – 46.0 Obama

Announced Candidates:

Jim Marleau (R) State Rep. (2004-  )

John Garfield (R)

Ted Golden (D)

Rating: Likely Republican

District 13 John Pappageorge (R)

Royal Oak, Madison Heights, Berkley, Troy, Bloomfield, Birmingham

In 2006, State Rep. John Pappageorge beat Andy Levin (son of Sandy Levin) by less than 1,000 votes.  Many Democrats blamed Levin’s loss on Kyle McBee, the Green Party candidate who took 3,129 votes, more than 3 times Pappageorge’s margin of victory.  Democrats will challenge Pappageorge again, although it isn’t clear whether Levin will try again, or a State Representative like Marie Donigan will give it a shot.

Presidential Results: 53.7 – 44.8 Obama

Announced Challengers:

Potential Challengers:

Andy Levin (D) 2006 nominee

Marie Donigan (D) State Rep. (2002-   )

Rating: Tossup

District 14 Gilda Jacobs (D) OPEN

Farmington Hills, Southfield, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Ferndale

This district is probably the most liberal district in Michigan, although not the most Democratic.  Rep. Gilda Jacobs is term limited, and while the all three of the State Reps. in the district are freshmen, whoever wins the Dem nomination will win.

Presidential Results: 74.6 – 24.3 Obama

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton (D) (2008-   )

David Coulter (D) Oakland County Commission (2002-  )

Helaine Zack (D) Oakland County Commission (2002-  )

Rating: Safe Democrat

District 15 Nancy Cassis (R) OPEN

Novi, South Lyon, West Bloomfield Township, Northville

I was shocked when I calculated the results for this district.  A decade ago, this was at least one of, if not the most Republican area in Michigan.  Western Oakland County being so Republican is the reason that we have Thad McCotter and Craig DeRoche, and yet this district voted for Barack Obama.  Even the city of Novi voted for him.  And better yet, he won by more than 3,000 votes!  Still, locally we have a while to go before a Democrat can represent Western Oakland County in the State Legislature.  I’m not very keen on this district as a possible pickup in ’10.

Presidential Results: 50.3 – 48.2 Obama

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

Craig DeRoche (R) State Rep. (2000-2006)

David Law (R) State Rep. (2004-2008)

Rating: Likely Republican

District 16 Cameron Brown (R) OPEN, Lenawee, Branch, Hillsdale, and St. Joseph Counties

I doubt this district will be competitive, unless State Rep. Dudley Spade (D) runs, but even then a Republican like Bruce Caswell starts off with an advantage.

Presidential Results: 49.8 – 48.3 McCain

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

Dudley Spade (D) State Rep. (2004-  )

Bruce Caswell (R) State Rep. (2002-2008)

Rick Schaffer (R) State Rep. (2002-2008)

Rating: Likely Republican

District 17 Randy Richardville (R) Monroe County, South Washtenaw, East Jackson

Not only the most gerrymandered, but also one of the most closely divided districts in Michigan, this one will likely be home to another competitive race in 2010.  The Washtenaw County portion of this district favors Dems, while the Jackson county portion favors Republicans and Monroe county is a swing region.  In fact, the Presidential results here are almost exactly what President Obama got nationwide, giving it a 2008 PVI of EVEN.  Unfortunately, our bench in this district isn’t the greatest, with our strongest possible candidate running for Secretary of State.  Still, State Rep. Kate Ebli might be able to beat Richardville.

Presidential Results: 52.7 – 45.6 Obama

Announced Challengers:

Potential Challengers:

Kate Ebli (D) State Rep. (2005-   )

Rating: Leans Republican

District 18 Liz Brater (D) Open Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor

One of the most Democratic districts in Michigan and the home of the University of Michigan.  The Democratic bench in this district is quite deep.  Any Democrat is safe here.

Presidential Results: 73.7 – 26.2 Obama

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

John Hieftje (D) Mayor of Ann Arbor

Rebekah Warren (D) State Rep. (2006-  )

Pam Byrnes (D) State Rep. (2004-  )

Chris Kolb (D) State Rep. (2000-2006)

Rating: Safe Democrat

District 19 VACANT (D)  Calhoun County (Battle Creek) and most of Jackson County

This is the Senate seat that Mark Schauer left vacant when he moved up to Congress last year.  It is usually a swing district, although President Obama won it with votes to spare.  Because this seat is vacant, there will be a special election to fill it later this year.  The Primary will be August 4th and the General on November 9th.

The Democratic candidates are State Rep. Martin Griffin of Jackson, and Sharon Reiner, who ran for congress in 2006 and 2008, narrowly losing to Tim Walberg and then losing badly in the primary to Mark Schauer.  Griffin is backed by the State Democratic Party and should win the Primary.  The Republican candidates are State Rep. Mike Nofs of Battle Creek and Sandstone Township Supervisor C. James Wellman.  Nofs, who is a moderate and popular in the Battle Creek area, should win the primary.  

The fact that 1. Nofs is very moderate 2. He’s very well known and liked in the Battle Creek area and 3. This will be a low turnout special election makes this a tough race for us.  Both parties with certainly spend a lot of money here.  Martin Griffin is from the Jackson area, which is an advantage, as Mark Schauer lost Jackson County in 2002 when he first ran for the State Senate.  If we lose this race it will make it that much more difficult to retake the Senate, so in some ways, whether or not Democrats can gain the trifecta and control redistricting depends on this race.

Presidential Results: 52.7 – 45.6 Obama


Martin Griffin (D) State Rep. (2006-  )

Sharon Reiner (D)

Mike Nofs (R) State Rep. (2002-2008)

C. James Wellman (R) Sandstone Township Board Memeber

Rating: Tossup

District 20 Thomas George (R) OPEN Kalamazoo County, part of Van Buren County

Tom George, who is running for Governor, will be vacating the 2nd most Democratic seat currently held by a Republican, going by Obama’s winning percentage.  The Republican field is already starting to shape up, with former State Rep. Lawrence Wenke, who’s district included part of Western Kalamazoo County, and current State Rep. Tonya Schuitamaker are both running.  Schuitamaker’s base is Van Buren County, which she represents.  This district only includes two townships in Van Buren, so she would probably be at a disadvantage against Wenke in the primary.  Still, Republicans would do well to nominate someone from the city of Kalamazoo or it’s suburbs, and both Wenke and Schuitamaker are from the rural parts of the district.

Democrats have a few good potential candidates.  Former state Rep. and 2006 candidate Alex Lipsey, State Rep. Robert Jones, or Kalamazoo County Commission Chairman David Buskirk.

Presidential Results: 58.6 – 39.7 Obama

Announced Candidates:

Lawrence Wenke (R) State Rep. (2002-2008)

Tonya Schuitamaker (R) State Rep. (2004-   )

Potential Candidates:

Alex Lipsey (D) State Rep. (2000-2006)

Robert Jones (D) State Rep. (2006-  )

David Buskirk (D) Kalamazoo County Commissioner; Chairman

Rating: Tossup

District 21 Ron Jelinek (R) OPEN Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties

A historically Republican area, President Obama did very well here.  This area is home to a lot of moderate Republicans (Fred Upton is from this area), and Berrien County is home to a lot of African-Americans.  Democrats have a very weak bench here, so don’t expect a win here.

Presidential Results: 52.1 – 46.3 Obama

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

Judy Truesdell (D) 2006 and 2008 Candidate for State House

John Proos (R) State Rep. (2002-   )

Rating: Leans Republican

District 22 Valde Garcia (R) OPEN Livingston, Shiawassee, and Southern Ingham Counties

Livingston County is one of the most Republican Counties in Michigan.  You can be sure that another conservative “family values” Republican will be elected to replace Senator Garcia.

Presidential Results: 52.4 – 45.8 McCain

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

Joe Hune (R) State Rep. (2002-2008)

Chris Ward (R) State Rep. (2002-2008)

Rating: Safe Republican

District 23 Gretchen Whitmer (D) Ingham County (Lansing)

Gretchen Whitmer will be safe if she runs for re-election.  If she runs for Attorney General, as many expect her to, there is a strong bench of Democrats in the lansing area to take her place.

Presidential Results: 67.2 – 31.3 Obama

Rating: Safe Democrat

District 24 Patricia Birkholz (R) OPEN Allegan, Barry, and Eaton Counties

Although Eaton county showed an impressive swing towards President Obama, the rest of this district, especially heavily Dutch Allegan, is still strongly Republican.

Presidential Results: 50.5 – 47.6 McCain

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

Brian Calley (R) State Rep. (2006-   )

Rick Jones (R) State Rep. (2004-   )

Fulton Sheen (R) State Rep. (2002-2008)

Rating: Safe Republican

District 25 Judson Gilbert (R) OPEN Lapeer and St. Clair Counties

Lapeer and St. Clair Counties are mostly suburban/exurban areas north of Detroit.  There is also quite a bit of rural farmland and the medium sized city of Port Huron.  A democrat could win here, expecially moderate like John Espinoza, although he doesn’t actually live in the district.  The Republicans have a deep bench here, and I’m not sure whether or not the State Democratic party will decide to put money here.

Presidential Results: 49.2 – 48.6

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

John Espinoza (D) State Rep. (2004-  )

Phillip Pavlov (R) State Rep. (2004-  )

John Stahl (R) State Rep. (2002-2008)

Rating: Leans Republican

District 26 Deb Cherry (D) OPEN North and East Genesee County, Central Oakland County, Waterford

I don’t know why, but for some reason Republicans gave this suburban Flint area district an arm that reaches into central Oakland County, and they actually used touch-point contiguity to connect it to Waterford Township.  Maybe it was to make this district more Republican, although Waterford voted easily for Obama.  This district was held by Lt. Gov. John Cherry, and is now held by his sister, Deb.  It’s comfortably Democratic, but rising star, moderate African-American Republican Paul Scott could concievably give a Democrat a run for their money.

Presidential Results: 55.8 – 42.4 Obama

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

Richard Hammel (D) State Rep. (2006-  )

Jim Slezak (D) State Rep. (2008-   )

Ted Hammon (D) State Rep. (2006-2008)

Fran Amos (R) State Rep. (2002-2008)

Paul Scott (R) State Rep. (2008-  )

Rating: Leans Democrat

District 27 John Gleason (D) Flint, South-West Genesee County

The other Genessee County District, this one is much more Democratic.  It includes the city of Flint and other very Democratic areas west of the city.  If Gleason primaries Dale Kildee, there is a big Democratic bench here.

Presidential Results: 68.8 – 29.7 Obama

Rating: Safe Democrat

District 28 Mark Jansen (R) Kent County, suburban Grand Rapids

The 28th District is very strangely shaped.  It skirts around the city of Grand Rapids but includes conservative suburbs like Wyoming.  Mark Jansen should have not trouble winning re-election.

Presidential Results: 55.9 – 42.5 McCain

Rating: Safe Republican

District 29 Bill Hardiman (R) OPEN Grand Rapids, Kentwood

This is another district that we almost must win if we want to retake the senate.  It is the most Democratic district currently held by a Republican, going by Barack Obama’s winning margin.  It is basically all of the city of Grand Rapids plus a few suburbs.  Both Republicans and Democrats have decent benches here, but Democrats have been making gains lately (we won a state house seat in 2006).  I think that at the end of the day, the Democrat will win this district.

Presidential Results: 59.1 – 39.3 Obama

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

Michael Sak (D) State Rep. (2002-2008)

David LaGrand (D) Grand Rapids City Commissioner and 2006 Candidate

George Heartwell (D) Grand Rapids Mayor

Carol Hennessy (D) Minority Vice-Chair, Kent County Commission

Dave Hildenbrand (R) State Rep. (2004-  )

Glenn Steil (R) State Rep. (2002-2008)

Justin Amash (R) State Rep. (2008-   )

Jerry Kooiman (R) State Rep. (2000-2006)

Rating: Tossup

District 30 Wayne Kuipers (R) OPEN Ottawa County

This district is home to Ottawa County, one of the fastest growing and most Republican counties in Michigan.  Although, like with the South, as the population grows, so does the Democratic performance.  I’d estimate we may start winning this district by the 2020’s, but until then it will remain safely in Republican hands.

Presidential Results: 61.0 – 37.4 McCain

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

David Agema (R) State Rep. (2006-  )

Arlan Meekhof (R) State Rep. (2006-  )

Rating: Safe Republican

District 31 James Barcia (D) OPEN Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Bay, and Arenac Counties

Former Congressman James Barcia is term limited in this big district which includes the “Thumb” region and wraps around Saginaw Bay, including Bay City.  It’s relatively Democratic, although not overwhelmingly.  Democrats have a good bench, and State Rep. Jeff Mayes would be a big improvement over the moderate to conservative Barcia.

Presidential Results: 51.8 – 46.3 Obama

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

Jeff Mayes (D) State Rep. (2004-  )

Terry Brown (D) State Rep. (2006-  )

John Espinoza (D) State Rep. (2004-  )

Rating: Leans Democrat

District 32 Roger Kahn (R) Saginaw and Gratiot Counties

In 2006, Roger Kahn (AKA Kaaahn!!) won this seat by only 450 votes.  He’s had sort of a rough first term, alledgedly getting into a physical altercation with a 72 year old female Senator Irma Clark-Coleman (D) of Detroit.  The incident was so bizarre that I think that I should post here excerpts from Clark-Coleman’s letter to Majority leader Bishop:

I submit this letter as a formal complaint against the State Senator

from the 32nd District who is a menace to the state legislature. He

perpetrated petulant and violent behavior toward me following a Senate

Appropriation committee meeting yesterday afternoon in the Capitol

building. I ask that you sanction him for conduct unbecoming of an

elected official. I am fearful that given the opportunity, this

legislator would continue to use physical intimidation to reinforce his

policy positions.

He accosted me inside of the main elevator. He rushed at me as if he

were going to strike me in the face after I expressed my great

displeasure with the committee’s approval of the Senate substitute for

HB 4436, which decimates Wayne County’s and Detroit’s ability to provide

mental and medical treatment for poor and uninsured residents…

The Senator from Saginaw charged at me like a bull while we were both

confined in a 6 x 6 elevator. His hysterical behavior startled

citizens who like me were simply trying to leave the Capitol building.

Everyone looked on in horror until the good Senator from the 13th

District blocked his advance to my side of the elevator car.

As the doors opened on the ground floor, the Senator from Troy took me

by the elbow and escorted me out of harm’s way. Despite my exit, the

legislator from the 32nd District continued his verbal assault. His

bellowing startled the Kentwood Senator and the state Budget Director

who were conversing at the visitor’s desk. Both gentlemen looked up in

utter amazement.

Never, in my twelve years as a state legislator, seven years as a member

of the Detroit Board of Education, and thirty years as a Wayne County

employee have I been attacked for my policy positions. I commend Troy’s

best for his quick action to shield me from my aggressor who had lost

control of his temper and his ability to reason.

Senator Kahn denies this, although it’s pretty crazy if true.  That, plus the Democratic nature of this district means he should be in for a tough race next year.

Presidential Results: 56.9 – 41.5 Obama

Announced Challengers:

Potential Challengers:

Andy Colouris (D) State Rep. (2006-   )

Carl Williams (D) State Rep. (2000-2006) and 2006 Candidate

Rating: Tossup

District 33 Alan Cropsey (R) OPEN Clinton, Montcalm, Isabella, and Ionia Counties

Cropsey, who has always been to conservative for his district, is term limited.  Based mostly on his strength in Isabella County (home to CMU), Barack Obama won this district.  We also picked up a State House seat within this district last year, and we will probably pick up another one next year.  Still, our bench is not very strong here.  Democratic turnout may not be a strong next year, either, so I’m cautious about this district.

Presidential Results: 50.7 – 47.4 Obama

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

Mike Huckleberry (D) State Rep. (2008-  ), 2004 and 2006 candidate for Congress

Bill Caul (R) State Rep. (2004-   )

Paul Opsommer (R) State Rep. (2006-  )

Rating: Leans Republican

District 34 Gerald VanWoerkom (R) OPEN Muskegon, Oceana, Newaygo, and Mason Counties

It’s difficult to tell this far out, but I think that if we win any seats next year, this is our best shot.  Moderate Muskegon Republican Gerald VanWoerkom is retiring, and the Republican candidate to replace him looks to be State Rep. Geoff Hansen, although former State Rep. David Farhat it “thinking about it.”

Either way, we start out with an advantage.  Unlike VanWoerkom, who represented Muskegon County in the House, Hansen hails from the rural Northern portion of the district.  David Farhat, on the other hand, represented the same district as VanWoerkom.  That is, until he was spanked in 2006 by Dem Mary Valentine (he lost 56-44).  Mary Valentine has announced that she is running. Her popularity in the more suburban and rural part of the district and the fact that Farhat is thought to be somewhat corrupt, and Hansen has no base in Muskegon tells me that this one looks like a pickup.

Presidential Results: 58.3 – 40.0 Obama

Announced Candidates:

Mary Valentine (D) State Rep. (2006-   )

Geoff Hansen (R) State Rep. (2004-   )

Potential Candidates:

Mary Valentine (D) State Rep. (2006-   )

Doug Bennett (D) State Rep. (2004-  )

Julie Dennis (D) State Rep. (1998-2004) and 2006 Candidate

David Farhat (R) State Rep. (2002-2006)

Rating: Leans Democrat

District 35 Michelle McManus (R) OPEN Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee, Kalkaska, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Lake, Osceola, Clare, and Mecosta Counties

I consider Michelle McManus to be Michigan’s version of Michelle Bachmann.  She’s crazy, loud, and extremely conservative.  Luckily, she’s term limited.  Unluckily, she’s running for Secretary of State.  I doubt, however, that she’ll make it out of the Primary.  Obama won her district, and we picked up a State House seat, but our bench is weak in the North-Western Lower Peninsula area.  

Presidential Results: 49.3 – 49.0 Obama

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

Darwin Booher (R) State Rep. (2004-   )

David Palsrok (R) State Rep. (2002-2008)

Rating: Leans Republican

District 36 Tony Stamas (R) OPEN Alpena, Alcona, Iosco, Ogemaw, Midland, Gladwin, Crawford, Montmorency, Oscoda, and Otsego Counties

Although Republican leaning nationally, this is a swing district in local in statewide races.  The southernmost county, Midland, favors Republicans.  In fact, the Republicans intetionally drew the Democratic northern Counties, especially Alpena, with Midland to create a Republican district.  In 2002, Alpena Democrat Andy Neumann ran against Midland Republican Tony Stamas, with Stamas prevailing narrowly.  Stamas in now term limited and Neumann, who is a State Representative, is “Strongly Leaning Towards running,” also likely to run is State Rep. Joel Sheltrown (D), who is more moderate than Neumann, and also not from the Alpena area, but Iosco County in the center of the district.  I think that Sheltrown would be a stronger candidate, but the primary will be nasty.  The Republican candidate will probably be former State Rep. John Moolenaar of Midland.

Presidential Results: 49.9 – 48.1 McCain

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

Andy Neumann (D) State Rep. (1998-2002, 2008-   )

Joel Sheltrown (D) State Rep. (2004-  )

John Moolenaar (R) State Rep. (2002-2008)

Rating: Tossup

District 37 Jason Allen (R) OPEN Grand Traverse, Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmett, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, Mackinac, and Chippewa Counties

This is the most Republican Northern Michigan District.  I starts at Traverse City, then jumps the Straits of Mackinac and takes in Mackinac and Chippewa Counties in the U.P., including Sault Ste. Marie.  The Traverse City area has quite a few Republicans to replace Senator Allen, but Emmett, Mackinac, and Chippewa Counties, also a Republican area, are represented by State Rep. Gary McDowell (D).  McDowell is term limited and I could concievably see him winning this district, although it would be an uphill climb.

Presidential Results: 50.8 – 47.5

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

Gary McDowell (D) State Rep. (2004-   )

Howard Walker (R) State Rep. (2002-2008)

Rating: Leans Republican

District 38 Mike Prusi (D) OPEN Keweenaw, Houghton, Ontonagon, Gogebic, Baraga, Iron, Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee, Delta, Alger, Schoolcraft, and Luce Counties.

My home district! I’ll be sad to see Prusi go, but it’s more important that we get a progressive Dem like him to take his place.  The Democratic bench is deep, the Republican one, not so much.  The Presidential results are a bit misleading, as the Democratic baseline here is far higher than President Obama’s total (which was still a comfortable win).  The most likely candidate is probably former State Rep. Tom Casperson, although the spanking he received at the Hands of Bart Stupak last year make keep him out of politics forever.  If he doesn’t run, it’s likely Dem.  If he does, it’s leans Dem.  Democrats hold every house seat in this district, and other than Casperson, we have for years, so we’ve got a very strong bench.  The two progressive Dems, Steve Lindberg and fmr. Rep. Steve Adamini are from Marquette, while the more conservative Reps are Mike Lahti of Houghton County and Judy Nerat of Menominee County.  

Presidential Results: 52.5 – 45.5

Announced Candidates:

Potential Candidates:

Steve Lindberg (D) State Rep. (2006-   )

Mike Lahti (D) State Rep. (2006-   )

Steve Adamini (D) State Rep. (2000-2006), 2008 Candidate for Marquette County Prosecutor, Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees

Judy Nerat (D) State Rep. (2008-   )

Tom Casperson (R) State Rep. (2002-2008) and 2008 Candidate for Congress

Joel Westrom (R) First District GOP chairman and 2006 Candidate for State House

Rating: Leans Democrat

And for those who skipped some of that, here’s my summary.  Republican seats are bold and italic

Safe Democrat Seats

District 1 (OPEN)

District 2 (OPEN)

District 3 (OPEN)

District 4 (OPEN)

District 5 Hunter

District 8 (OPEN)

District 14 (OPEN)

District 23 (OPEN)

District 27 Gleason

Likely Democrat Seats

District 6 Anderson

District 9 (OPEN)

Leans Democrat Seats

District 10 (OPEN)

District 26 (OPEN)

District 31 (OPEN)

District 34 (OPEN)

District 38 (OPEN)

Tossup Seats

District 7 (OPEN)

District 13 Pappageorge

District 19 VACANT

District 20 (OPEN)

District 29 (OPEN)

District 32 Kahn

District 36 (OPEN)

Lean Republican Seats

District 12 (OPEN)

District 17 Richardville

District 21 (OPEN)

District 25 (OPEN)

District 33 (OPEN)

District 35 (OPEN)

District 37 (OPEN)

Likely Republican Seats

District 11 (OPEN)

District 15 (OPEN)

District 16 (OPEN)

Safe Republican Seats

District 22 (OPEN)

District 24 (OPEN)

District 28 Jansen

District 30 (OPEN)