Cars line the street next to the Fowlerville polling location on Election Day 2020. | | Matt Schmucker
Updated, 10:44 a.m., 4/21/22
Several Republican candidates for governor descended on the Richard H. Austin Building in Lansing Tuesday to drop off petition signatures necessary to make it onto the August ballot before the deadline to do so.
Ten Republicans who hope to face Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November filed signatures with the Bureau of Elections by the 4 p.m. deadline, which makes it the most crowded primary in state history. Whitmer already submitted her signatures.
Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, right-wing media personality Tudor Dixon, self-described quality guru Perry Johnson, businessman Kevin Rinke, chiropractor Garrett Soldano, activist Ryan Kelley, businesswoman Donna Brandenburg, Michigan State Police Capt. Michael Brown, financial adviser Michael Markey and pastor Ralph Rebandt all filed signatures to appear on the ballot.
At least two candidates, Bob Scott and Evan Space, did not submit signatures, effectively ending their campaigns for the Republican nomination.
The crowded primary field mostly lacks political experience, but the Michigan Republican Party praised the diversity of candidates in a statement Tuesday, pushing back on a Detroit Free Press report in which a Republican consultant said that the contentious primary would take resources away from the eventual general election campaign.
“The number of candidates filing for Governor on the Republican side speaks to the frustration with terrible Democrat policies that have forced our children out of the classrooms, shuttered small businesses, and tanked our local economy forcing Michiganders to pay more for just about everything,” said Gustavo Portela, Michigan GOP Communications Director. “Republicans are energized, filling rooms across the state to make their voices heard and enthusiastic about firing the captain of Joe Biden’s sinking ship, Gretchen Whitmer. Any strategist or consultant pushing the contrary will be eating their words this November.”
State law requires candidates to have at least 15,000 signatures, though they can submit up to twice as many to provide a cushion in the event some signatures are found invalid.
There are no primaries for secretary of state and attorney general, with state parties nominating candidates. Earlier in April, Michigan Democrats already endorsed incumbents Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel. Republicans are holding their endorsement convention Saturday in Grand Rapids.
Candidates for the U.S. House and Legislature also had to submit their petitions by Tuesday afternoon. With the Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission drawing maps for the first time this year, many districts have been reshuffled and some incumbents are facing tough primaries.
Michigan’s congressional delegation is currently split 7-7, but the state lost a seat after the new census.
Both Democrats and Republicans have at least one candidate in every U.S. House district. Here’s a look at the field in competitive primary and/or general election races, based on filings with the Secretary of State posted as of the last update at 6:11 p.m. Tuesday.
Tom Norton, a Republican who had previously filed to run against U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) in Michigan’s new 3rd Congressional District, switched his filing Tuesday to instead run against U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Midland) in the new 2nd Congressional District instead.
Meijer is facing two primary challengers, John Gibbs and Gabi Manolache. Democrats have recruited immigration lawyer Hillary Scholten to run again.
U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) is running unopposed in the Democratic primary for Michigan’s 8th Congressional District.
A candidate named Candice Miller filed to run as a Republican in the 8th, but it is not the former congresswoman or secretary of state. Michigan has a history of candidates with similar names running for office.
Paul Junge, who lost a bid for Congress to U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) in 2020, filed to run in the district as well, along with former Grosse Pointe Shores City Council Member Matthew Seely.
Slotkin is running in the new 7th, which could be one of the most competitive in the country. The GOP field features Jake Hagg of Lansing and state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte).
In Michigan’s new 6th District, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) is looks to have a primary from former Rep. Shanelle Jackson (D-Detroit), who previously said she was running in the 12th.
The winner could face one of two Republicans. Whittney Williams, who previously ran for Congress in 2020 but lost in a six-way Republican primary, filed to run for the new seat, along with Hima Kolanagireddy, a businesswoman who Rudy Guiliani called to testify during a state legislative hearing where Guiliani spread false claims about the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Republicans are hoping that former U.S. Senate candidate John James will win election to the new 10th District, but he first has a primary with Tony Marcinkewciz of Macomb. On the Dem side, former state Rep. Henry Yanez, former Macomb County Judge Carl Marlinga, activist Huwaida Arraf and Warren City Council Member Angela Rogensues are running.
A Democratic battle for the new 11th has been in full swing for months between U.S. Reps. Haley Stevens (D-Waterford Twp.) and U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.) Three Republicans are running: Mark Ambrose of Bloomfield Township, real estate agent Matthew DenOtter and entrepreneur Gabi Grossbard.
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) faces some competition in the new 12th. She has a Democratic primary with Lathrup Village Mayor Kelly Garrett and Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey. The GOP primary features Hassan Nehme of Dearborn Heights, James Hooper of Livonia and Steven Elliot of Southfield.
The new 13th District is open. The Dem side is crowded with Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit); Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit); former Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo; Focus: HOPE CEO Portia Roberson; former Detroit City Council Member Sharon McPhail, John Conyers III, the son of former U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr.; attorney Michael Griffie; Angela McIntosh; and Lorrie Rutledge.
Martell Bivings is running on the GOP side.
Legislative and other races of note
There were some surprises in state House and Senate filings and a couple incumbents opted against running for reelection. Currently, Republicans control both chambers.
State Sen. John Bizon (R-Battle Creek) who pleaded guilty earlier this year for assaulting a nurse, announced on the Senate floor that he wouldn’t be running for reelection in the 18th District.
Bizon would have faced a competitive primary with House Appropriations Chair Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) and Ryan Mancinelli of Alto.
State Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham), who represents the 40th House District, previously announced she would not seek her last term allowed under term limits.
Here are a few other developments of note in other legislative races.
In the 9th Senate District, former state Rep. Martin Howrylak, a moderate who’s been a vocal critic of the party’s rightward shift, filed to run in a Republican primary with former Rep. Michael Webber (R-Rochester Hills). The winner of that match will go on to face Democratic Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) in November.
Another of Guiliani’s guests at the election fraud hearing, Mellissa Carone, filed to run for the Michigan Senate in the 11th Senate District. She will face Sen. Michael MacDonald (R-Macomb Twp.).
She had previously been a candidate for the 60th House District, but was disqualified after various campaign finance issues.
In the 35th Senate District, there’s a GOP primary featuring Rep. Annette Glenn (R-Midland), former Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw), Martin Blank of Saginaw and Christian Velasquez of Midland. Kristen Rivet is running in the Democratic side.
In the 29th, Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) is running. She’ll face either Rep. Tommy Brann (R-Wyoming) or Andrew Kroll of Kentwood.
Over on the House side, the strongly Democratic open 77th District features a primary of businessman Jon Horford, former Lansing City Council candidate Emily Dievendorf and Logan Byrne of DeWitt.
In the GOP-leaning 95th, Midland County Clerk Ann Manary; Bill G. Schuette, son of former Attorney General Bill Schuette; and Charles McGinnis Jr. of Midland are squaring off in the GOP primary.
The Republican-leading 64th District features a GOP primary of Rep. Andrew Beeler (R-Ft. Gratiot); Rep. Gary Eisen (R-St. Clair Twp.) and John Mahaney of Port Huron.
While the political environment in November is widely expected to favor Republicans, Democrats say they have a real chance to flip the state House of Representatives and state Senate after new district lines were enacted by Michigan’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.
Democrats successfully recruited candidates in every state Senate district. Republicans left three state Senate districts open.
“We are proud to have strong candidates running in every district across the state,” said Michigan Senate Democrats Campaign Co-Chair Jeremy Moss. “A Democratic majority is in reach for the first time in nearly 40 years, and the stakes have never been higher. The current Republican majority isn’t working for the people of our state – we need advocates who will fix our crumbling infrastructure, ensure clean air and water, and lower everyday costs for Michiganders.”
Democrats also recruited candidates in every state House district, while Republicans left five seats uncontested.
In down-ballot news, Lena Epstein, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2018, filed to run for the University of Michigan Board of Regents to “protect free speech on campus, push back against the proponents of Critical Race Theory and to keep tuition rates affordable for Michiganders.”
There are no primaries for state education boards and the Supreme Court. Nominations are determined at state party conventions.
Michigan Democrats already endorsed candidates earlier this month and Republicans are set to do so on Saturday.
Corrections: U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar is running in the new 2nd District. This story originally listed the wrong candidate. Sen. John Bizon is a Republican. This story had his wrong party affiliation.
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