The Marketing Resource Group just released their Michigan US Senate poll (10/7-10; 600 MI registered voters) and again find a close contest between Sen. Gary Peters (D) and businessman and retired Army Ranger John James (R). The ballot test sees Sen. Peters clinging to a 43-40% edge. This is a similar result to an Emerson College poll conducted in March that found the two separated by a scant 44-43% spread. Last month, however, Target-Insyght released a much different result: Peters ahead 53-37%. Most observers believe this Senate race will evolve into a close contest.
Sen. Gary Peters (D) has considerably improved his standing in the Michigan statewide race according to a just-released Target-Insyght poll (9/24-26; 800 MI registered voters). The data shows Sen. Peters leading Republican John James 53-37%. The only other reported survey came back in March from Emerson College. At that time, Emerson projected the ballot test as a 44-43% dead heat.
John James is a manufacturing company owner and retired Army Ranger. He challenged Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) in 2018 and raised over $12 million for the race with very little outside help. He lost that contest by a closer-than-expected 52-46%, which encouraged party leaders to recruit him to run against Sen. Peters.
A total of 219 House Democrats and one Independent have signed the petition pledge indicating they will vote for at least some version of an impeachment resolution. Doing so would impeach, or indict, the President, and send the charge to the Senate for a potential trial and motion to remove from office. Among the signers are several members who have competitive re-elections, are in Trump districts, or have primary competition. The lone Independent, Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), will likely face attacks from both sides as he presumably seeks re-election as an Independent or minor party nominee.
The Democrats supporting impeachment who already face credible general election opposition are (listed alphabetically by name) Reps: Cindy Axne (IA), Gil Cisneros (CA), Sharice Davids (KS), Antonio Delgado (NY), Abby Finkenauer (IA), Lizzie Fletcher (TX), Andy Kim (NJ), Susie Lee (NV), Elaine Luria (VA), Tom Malinowski (NJ), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL), Chris Pappas (NH), Katie Porter (CA), Harley Rouda (CA), Elissa Slotkin (MI), Abigail Spanberger (VA), and Lauren Underwood (IL).
Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones (D) both won and lost congressional races to Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) on the same day in 2018. Running to fill the unexpired term of resigned Rep. John Conyers (D), Ms. Jones scored a 38-36% victory over Tlaib and two others and served the final two months of the previous Congress. But, in a primary for the regular term, one that included two additional candidates, then-state Sen. Coleman Young II, the son of former long-time Mayor Coleman Young, and former state Rep. Shanelle Jackson, it was Ms. Tlaib who scored a 31-30% win over Jones and the rest of the six-candidate field.
Speculation continues to mount that Ms. Jones, still the City Council President, will seek a re-match. Ms. Jones has not confirmed her intentions, but reports quote those close to her as saying she is considering running and is moving toward doing so. The Michigan candidate filing deadline isn’t until April 21st for the August 4, 2020 state Democratic primary. So, this potential race has plenty of time to develop.
There has been little in the way of fanfare surrounding a Republican opponent for freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly/ Lansing) after she defeated two-term Rep. Mike Bishop (R) last November. Now, State Board of Education member Nikki Snyder (R) says she is close to making the decision to challenge the new Congresswoman.
Ms. Slotkin was one of the top fundraisers on the congressional circuit last year, spending more than $7.3 million on her campaign. One reason activity has been slow in this district and in the 11th CD featuring freshman Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills/Livonia) is that Michigan is losing a seat in reapportionment, meaning that any new member could quickly see their seat collapsed into another district. There is a better chance more activity will be present in the next cycle when the new district lines become known.
A veteran House member who is on reporters’ retirement-potential list is signaling that he will return to run for an 18th term. Michigan Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), the former chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee who was first elected in 1986, is stopping short of announcing for re-election but giving every indication that he will run. He had raised almost $700,000 at the end of June and has already printed 2020 campaign materials.
In 2018, Mr. Upton faced his toughest re-election, winning 50-46% against physician Matt Longjohn (D). Dr. Longjohn is a potential 2020 candidate, but state Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) has already announced his congressional candidacy.
The Michigan Information and Research Service and the Target-Insyght polling firm, frequent Wolverine State pollsters, tested controversial freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) in a hypothetical Democratic primary. According to the MIRS/Target results, the Congresswoman is standing strong. Paired against Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, who she beat by only one percentage point in the regular 2018 Democratic primary, Rep. Tlaib scores a 56-19% lead among likely Democratic voters from what is one of the safest districts for her party in the entire country.
Now that Rep. Justin Amash (R-Cascade Township) has officially left the Republican Party, the 3rd District congressional nomination is now up for grabs. Yesterday, businessman Joel Langlois, owner of the DeltaPlex arena in Grand Rapids, announced he is joining the crowded GOP congressional field.
Already in the race are state Reps. Jim Lower (R-Greenville) and Lynn Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids), along with retail chain store owner Peter Meijer, and Sand Lake Village president Tom Norton. Four Democrats, including former Obama White House aide Nick Colvin, are announced candidates. Rep. Amash may return to the race on the Independent line or could run for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination.
As we covered last week, the US Supreme Court released their rulings on the Maryland and North Carolina partisan gerrymandering cases and whether asking about a person’s citizenship status can be placed on the 2020 census questionnaire.
On the redistricting question, the high court definitively ruled that the partisan gerrymandering question will not be adjudicated by the federal court system. Looking practically at the live cases the SCOTUS’ action affects, the redistricting battles in Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin are essentially dead and their current congressional district boundaries will remain in place through the last election of this decade, in 2020.
With Democrats controlling the North Carolina state Supreme Court, it may be possible that the Tarheel State lines are redrawn because of partisan gerrymandering but whether a new case can get to them in time to affect 2020 remains questionable. Unlike the US Supreme Court, the North Carolina high panel does not have the authority to bring a case up before the lower courts rule.
The citizenship question is a bit more convoluted. The court ruled that the government has the right to add this question to the census, but they are sending this particular case back to the Department of Commerce because of potential motivational evidence relating to placing the citizenship query on the questionnaire.
Turning to the census ruling, though the SCOTUS made clear the government does have the right to ask the question, the result of returning it to the Commerce Department likely means the citizenship question will not be on the census questionnaire. Though the Trump Administration may try to stretch the calendar, it is probable that Commerce will not be able to comply with the high court’s directive before the 2020 census must be fielded.
State Rep. Lynn Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids) announced yesterday that she is joining the Republican primary to challenge Rep. Justin Amash (R-Cascade Township), who is the only member of the GOP conference to call for President Trump’s impeachment. Also in the race is state Rep. Jim Lower (R-Greenville) and ex-Sand Lake Village President Tom Norton. Without a run-off under Michigan election law, the more candidates opposing Amash, the easier it will be for the incumbent to win with just a base plurality vote.
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