Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Michigan Senate 2006

As I was looking through the election returns, the funniest thing I noticed is the poor job the Republicans did gerrymandering districts in the senate. There will be a LOT of competitive races in 2006. Here's a quick rundown of the open seats that I know about.

The Dems will be leaving three seats without an incumbent; the 5th district, Burton Leland's seat in Detroit and the 27th, Bob Emerson's district in Flint to term limits as well as the 23rd, Virg Bernero's seat in Lansing as he is running for Mayor (See below). The only race amongst these that would be close is the 23rd, but Gretchen Whitmer will be able to pump more than enough money to scare everybody away. Dems hold all three.

The Republicans will be leaving four seats without an incumbent due to term limits and a few are quite vulnerable. Shirley Johnson in the 13th (SE Oakland), Beverly Hammerstrom in the 17th (Monroe, Washtenaw, Jackson), Ken Sikkema in the 28th (Kent) and Mike Goschka in the 32nd (Saginaw). Nancy Cassis may challenge Granholm and not run for a second term so that makes about 5 open seats for the Republicans. Of those, only one is a sure hold, Ken Sikkema's seat is solid Red. If Cassis gives up her seat, a Republican will probably take it, but the other three show serious promise.

Mike Goschka won with 55% of the vote in a district that voted for Kerry by a 4 point margin. Dems who have campaign committees in the 32nd are Alfred Frank (Lawyer in Saginaw), Bob Blaine, Dave Adams. This should be a fun one, the GOP hasn't found anybody to run yet, but that should change. I think the dems will pick up this seat easily.

Beverly Hammerstrom has a great district, except for the fact that Dingell represents the district and he has no qualms about getting involved in state politics. Bush edged out Kerry in this district by a couple points, but whenever Dingell puts his weight behind something... Expect him to pick a candidate and ram them into office.

Shirley Johnson's district is pretty solid for the GOP, Bush won by 5pts. A good dem candidate might be able to make some noise here, but it would have to be real good. Odds are the GOP holds onto this one.

That's it for the opens seats. Look for the Dems to pick up two here. There will be a lot of contested seats with incumbents however, I'll post about those soon.

So far, 2007 Senate looks like GOP 20, Dems 18...

Sunday, April 24, 2005


The end of the Detroit Zoo?

Could Oakland come to the rescue?


Hune takes some heat

This guy wins with 70% of the vote, I can't understand why, he seems like a real jerk.

Saturday, April 23, 2005


Statewide race outlook

Granholm is looking at Rep. Jack Hoogendyk (61-R) of Kalamazoo and Sen. Nancy Cassis (15-R) while Stabenow so far has to deal with Republicans Bart Baron, a Troy industrial engineer, and the Rev. Keith Butler of Southfield, who is a complete nutjob. A lot of candidates have declined a run against Stabenow and it seems like the state GOP will be lining up behind Butler if a better candidate doesn't emerge. He could easily win the primary, but I doubt he could beat Stabenow, she has a good record in the Senate, although she made some strange remarks about the Schiavo fiasco. I can't understand why Democrats attempt to capture the crazy religious vote, if they want to win elections, all they need to do is side with people, not their corporate sponsors.


23-Senate Vacancy?

Virg Bernero declared his candidacy Thursday for Mayor of Lansing. He will run again against current mayor Tony Benavides who edged him out in a special election in 2003 after David Hollister retired. This time, however, it seems unlikely that Virg will be able to hold onto his senate seat if he is campaigning for Mayor. Expect Rep. Whittmer (D-69) take his seat without any hesitation, she is very well connected and can raise enough money to scare away any and all competition, Democratic or otherwise.



East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows will make a bid for Gretchen Whittmer's seat when she is forced out in 2006. The 69th district is made up of East Lansing and Meridian Township (Okemos and Haslett) and the Democratic primary field will be packed. Meadows is lucky that the students will be gone for the primary because he has taken a lot of heat for the police response to the "disturbance" after MSU's basketball loss

Friday, April 22, 2005


The Senate is Next

A rundown of Senate races is coming up, stay tuned.


House Outlook Final

Districts 64 and 65 make up Jackson County and they have similar stories. Two popular reps were forced out in 2004, making way for two freshman reps. All four republicans, the two new reps have quite a bit to be worried about. In the 64th, Rick Baxter slipped by Martin Griffin by 350 votes even though he spent 200k on the race compared to Griffin's 40k. In the 65th, Leslie Mortimer spent about as much as her opponent Mike Simpson and won with 51% of the vote. If the dems find a good candidate, they could take her out.

John Espinoza beat Paul Muxlow out for the open seat in the 83rd district last year and it looks as if Muxlow will make another run at it. Don't expect him to get to far, this one would be a long for the GOP, I doubt they'll be able to knock off Espinoza.

David Farhat is a second term rep from the 91st who has only faced one opponent. Nancy Frye, a friendly democrat lost in 2002 by a couple hundred voted and decided to take a second shot at it, she didn't do as well the second go around, mainly because Farhat raised twice as much (250k) and she raised half as much (35k) when compared to the 2002 election. A good candidate will emerge to take on Farhat in this district that surrounds Muskegon.

Tim Moore is the only republican that managed to wrestle a seat from the dems in the last election and the state party will fight to get it back. The 97th district is formed from Claire, Glaswin, Arenac and half of Bay county. Jennifer Elkins beat David Coker by a hair in 2002 and lost by a hair to Moore in 2004. Unless the dems can come up with a really solid candidate, I don't see them taking back this district without spending over 300k.

Gary McDowell grabbed this open seat, the 107th that spans both peninsulae. He had run unsuccesfully against popular incumbent Scott Shackleton two years before but he easily defeated Walter North. Expect this to be a big race, but one the dems hold on to. Also look out for Congressman Stupak to play a bit role in the campaign.

That about wraps it up. It's a long way to November (2006), but it looks like there will be fire-works in the house. The Dems are positioned to pick up 4 seats (19, 62, 64, 75), the republicans to grab 1 (67) and 6 seats (26, 30, 39, 84, 91, 97) that could go either way. Of course anything could happen between now and election day. We'll know a lot more after the new year when we can see campaign finance statements.


House Outlook cont'd

There are 14 incumbents in the current house that may be unseated. The first is John Pastor, a second term representative from northern wayne county. He won in a landslide his first term but had a scare this last election when Joan Gebhardt barely missed him. He even spent three times as much as she did. If the democrats know what's good for them, they'll snatch up this seat.

The second vulnerable seat is Dem Marie Donigan's 26th district seat in Oakland County. She holds Dave Woodward's old district and while he was able to win easily in 2002, she had a much rougher go at it when she ran last year. She out spend here opponent 3 to 1 and only ended up winning due to a couple strong third party candidates. It's unclear whether her opponent from 2004 Carlo Ginotti will run again, but this will be a close race either way.

In the 30th district, Tory Rocca took over for his popular father Sal in 2004. This dynasty family dynasty holds major sway over alcohol in the state and Tory's money showes. He outspent his opponent but only won with 54% of the vote. His name and money won him the election, if the democrats can find somebody to match him, they'll pick up this seat.

David Law represents the 39th district in Oakland county. He easily outspent his opponent Michael Schwartz. The district was held previously by Marc Shulman and he was quite popular but Law only managed to take 52% in the election. This one would be costly for the democrats but a little leadership and money from the state could haul this one in.

Mike Nofs is now serving his second term in the 62nd district that makes up most of calhoun county. He spent a lot of money to win it the first time and took 53% of the vote and spend even more to win it the second time, outspending his opponent Lynne Haley 4 to 1. Even so, he only took 53 % of the vote. It sees like soon his fundraising will catch up to him and he will be taken down.

The final 6 later. So far, lets make it Dems pick up 3 Reps pick up 1, and 4 up in the air.


House of Reps outlook

There will be only 19 reps forced out in 2006 due to term limits, 13 Democrats and 6 Republicans. While on the surface, that might seem like an advantage for the GOP, a closer look at the numbers shows that GOP might be in for more losses in 2006 after losing a net 5 seats (lost 5, picked up 1) in 2004. First a recap of 2004. The democrats picked up districts 15, 52, 55, 56,83, 107 and lost 97. Two of those districts, 55 and 56 were won by the will of John Dingell who really pulled for Angerer and Kehrl and managed to pull off a couple of squeakers. 2006 Seems like it will be equally interesting in the house. There will be around 16 close races, unless Dingell stays involved, in which case there will only be 14. We can assume that's the case because Dingell is a real good fellow. Of the fourteen remaining, only three are due to term limits 67th, 75th and the 84th. The 67th is Dianne Byrum's district. She is very popular, almost beating Mike Rogers for the 8th Congressional District but she lives in a conservative district. The GOP should pick up her seat. In the 75th (Grand Rapids), the Dems have been closing in on Jerry Kooiman and will probably pick up his seat when he is forced out. In the 84th however, money goes a long way. Tom Kern almost defeated incumbent Tom Meyer by spending twice as much as him in 2002. If the Dems pump some money into this race, they can pick up a seat in a conservative. More on the occupied seats later.



In the coming days, I will be posting a rundown of elections in Michigan and what the Congressional delegation, legislature and courts will likely look like after the 2006 election.

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