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Next Year’s Election Cycle is Already Heating Up

November 10, 2021

By Brian Calley, originally featured in SBAM’s FOCUS magazine

A year from now, Michigan will be holding a very important election to choose leaders in the executive, legislative and judicial branches. I wanted to give you a preview of the major races coming up in this cycle and describe how SBAM engages in the political system.

At the top of the ticket, Governor Whitmer will be running for reelection. So far, there are 12 Republicans who have filed paperwork to run in a primary in August of 2022 to face her. Recent polling shows former Detroit Police Chief James Craig with a substantial early lead to win the Republican nomination, but there is a lot of time between now and the primary. Most pundits expect Michigan to be one of the most competitive gubernatorial races in the country.

It is also expected that Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will run for reelection. Both are Democrats and will have no trouble gaining their party’s nomination for reelection. These nominations are chosen by political party convention, not in a public primary. Republicans already have three announced candidates for Attorney General, including former Speaker Tom Leonard who narrowly lost to Nessel in 2018. In the Secretary of State race, one Republican candidate, Kristie Karamo, has announced her candidacy, though there are at least three others actively considering entering the race.

Because this is the first election cycle after a U.S. census of the population, the district lines for the Michigan House of Representatives and the Michigan Senate are being redrawn. This is the first time the lines are to be drawn by a new bipartisan redistricting commission. With all 148 members of the legislature up in this cycle, and with fresh, new district lines, this will be one of the most intense, high-stakes cycles in a very long time.

If that were not enough, all members of Congress will be up for election, in newly drawn districts. Now for the kicker—because Michigan has not grown in population as much as other areas in the country, we will be going from 14 to 13 members of the legislature. That means when the music stops, at least one member of the Michigan congressional delegation in Washington D.C. will be out.

Finally, Michigan will see two members of the state Supreme Court up for reelection: Justice Brian Zahra and Justice Richard Bernstein. Zahra is a Republican nominee and Bernstein is nominated by the Democrats. Both are expected to seek reelection and both will likely face additional challengers.

SBAM supports pro-small business candidates. That is our lens. Everyone says they are pro-small business, but elections are our best chance to hold candidates and incumbents accountable for their records. And we are strategically and intentionally bipartisan as we do not believe that support for small businesses should be a partisan issue.

Most importantly, our process is driven by actual small business owners. Our aim is to create an environment where entrepreneurs can be successful. Public policy, when done right, can help. When done wrong, it can really hurt small businesses. So we will research, interview, examine, and in the end, strongly back the candidates who most vigorously support small businesses.

How can you get involved? Stay plugged in to SBAM, as we deliver you the information on candidates, legislation and pending issues. Subscribe to the Watchdog e-newsletter by emailing You can also support our Small Biz PAC (, enabling us to deliver financial support to pro-small business candidates.

I hope you’ll join with the thousands of others to make Michigan’s entrepreneurial climate stronger. Together, small business owners are a real force.

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