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Primary 2010

August 5, 2010

Bernero vs. Snyder for Governor

In the Democratic primary for Governor Lansing mayor Virg Bernero defeated Speaker of the House Andy Dillon by a large margin 59 percent to 41 percent.  

Despite being outraised in funds and trailing in the polls for most of the year, Virg Bernero was able to easily defeat Speaker Dillon.  While many may be surprised that the Lansing mayor was able to come on so strong in the past couple of weeks, the fact that the more liberal candidate won the Democratic primary should come as no surprise.

Bernero appealed more to the proto-typical Democratic primary voter.  He had the backing of most of organized labor (which poured in over $2 million in television ads in the final weeks of the campaign) and he is pro-choice.  Dillon, on the other hand, has ticked off many of the unions with some of his proposals and is pro-life.  So it really should come as no surprise that the Lansing Mayor cruised to victory.

On the Republican side Ann Arbor business executive Rick Snyder won the primary with 36 percent of the vote.  He was followed by Congressman Pete Hoekstra with 27 percent, Attorney General Mike Cox with 23 percent, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard with 12 percent and State Senator Tom George with 2 percent.

The surprise here is the margin of Snyder’s victory (9 percent over Hoekstra).  For the last few months the race has been too close to call in all of the polling.  Snyder, Hoekstra, and Cox had all been neck-and-neck with all of them with slight leads at one point or another.

By spending nearly $6 million of his own money and positioning himself as the only candidate that was not a career politician, Snyder was able to appeal to a plurality of Republican primary voters.  He also made an appeal for independents to vote for him as well.  As a result, the more moderate anti-politician was able to defeat the crowd of conservative career politicians and win convincingly.

We congratulate both of the primary winners and will keep you updated as the campaign heats up over the next 3 months.

Congressional Races

With 3 open seats and numerous contested primaries throughout the state, Michigan saw the most interesting Congressional primary races in years.

1st District

In the 1st District where Congressman Bart Stupak announced his retirement in May, physician Dan Benishek is leading Senator Jason Allen by one vote according to the Secretary of State’s web site.  Each candidate garnered 38 percent of the more than 71,000 votes cast.  Of the four other candidates in the race, none garnered more than 8 percent of the vote.  The 1st District covers the Upper Peninsula and most of Northern Lower Michigan.

This race is headed for a recount and we may not know the final results for weeks.  The winner will go on to face State Representative Gary McDowell in the fall in what will be a hotly contested race.

2nd District

In the 2nd District where Congressman Pete Hoekstra gave up his seat to run for Governor, former State Representative Bill Huizenga edged out former NFL star Jay Riemersma by 658 votes.  Huizenga has 23 percent of the vote, Riemersma had 22 percent, State Senator Wayne Kuipers finished third with 20 percent.  Four other candidates split up the remainder of the vote.

The 2nd District covers 11 counties in Western Michigan.  Huizenga will likely be the next Congressman from the 2nd District as the district is a strong Republican District for the general election.

3rd District

In the 3rd District where Congressman Vern Ehlers announced his retirement in May, State Representative Justin Amash cruised to a surprising easy victory.  The 3rd District covers Barry, Ionia, and most of Kent County, including the city of Grand Rapids.

Amash received 40 percent of the vote.  Business executive Steve Heacock was second with 26 percent, and State Senator Bill Hardiman was third with 24 percent.  Two other candidates split up the remaining vote.

The 3rd District, like the 2nd is a strong Republican District, so Amash is virtually assured of becoming a Congressman.

7th District

In the Republican primary to take on Congressman Mark Schauer, former Congressman Tim Walberg is set for a re-match against the man who defeated him 2 years ago.  The 7th District covers seven counties in lower mid-Michigan, including Battle Creek and Lansing.

Walberg was able to amass 57 percent of the vote against attorney Brian Rooney’s 32 percent.  Marvin Carlson had 10 percent of the vote.  

The re-match between Congressman Schauer and Walberg will be one to watch as both parties have this on their list of key seats.

9th District

The 9th District is similar to the 7th in that the Republicans are looking to re-claim a seat that they lost 2 years ago.  Former State Representative Andrew “Rocky” Raczkowski defeated former Congressional staffer and party activist Paul Welday 42 to 28 percent.  Richard Kuhn had 20 percent and Anna Janek had 10 percent in this seat that covers central Oakland County.

Raczkowski will now face Congressman Gary Peters in the November election.

13th District

This District, which covers the East side of Detroit, the Pointes and a few Downriver communities, saw the only legislative or Congressional race in the state where an incumbent was defeated.  

Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (the mother of embattled former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick) was defeated by State Senator Hansen Clarke 47 percent to 41 percent in the Democratic primary.  Four other candidates split up the rest of the vote.

While the defeat of an incumbent member of Congress in a primary usually comes as a surprise, this result was predicted by many political observers.  Kilpatrick faced a stiff primary challenge in 2008 but narrowly held on because the vote was split between two strong challengers instead of just one this time.

Senator Clarke will become Congressman Clarke as this seat is a Democratic stronghold in the general election.

State Legislative Races

The field is now set in the 148 legislative seats that will be up for election in the fall.  With 29 open Senate seats and 52 open House seats, there were many hotly contested primaries throughout the state on both sides.

SBAM’s Small biz PAC chose not to endorse in the governor’s race for the primary and we do not endorse in the federal races.  However, we did endorse in 20 of the House races that saw primaries and 18 of the Senate races.

We also provide the SBAM “Stamp of Approval” in seats where we feel there are multiple candidates who will be supportive of our small business agenda.  We gave the “Stamp of Approval” in 23 House races and 3 Senate races.

We believe that we are well positioned for the general election based on last night’s primary results.

Our endorsed candidates were victorious in 17 of the 20 House seats and 17 of the 18 Senate seats.  That’s a success rate of over 89 percent.

In the seats where candidates received the SBAM “Stamp of Approval,” approved candidates won all three Senate seats and 20 of 23 House seats.  

Our endorsements and “Stamps” were used prominently by a number of campaigns around the state on web sites, mailings and radio ads.

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