Rep. Justin Amash (I-Cascade Township/ Grand Rapids) continues to find himself in better political position as he presumably attempts to seek his first re-election under the Independent ballot line. Mr. Amash left the Republican Party in 2019. Yesterday, former White House aide Nick Colvin (D), who had raised almost $350,000 for his race, decided not to file his candidacy when the period closes on April 21st. His move leaves attorney Hillary Scholten as the most likely Democrat to claim the nomination in the August 4th primary.
On the Republican side, businessman Peter Meijer, whose family name is well known with its prominent signage on retail outlets that they own around the state, appears to be in the best position. For the race, he has raised $722,000 with almost $600,000 remaining in his campaign account. Rep. Amash, however, has had a good fundraising cycle despite not being a major party member. Pulling in over $1 million for this 2020 re-election, he sits with over $720,000 in the bank. In a three-way election, almost anything could happen, but this is the scenario where the Democratic nominee, with a strong base, could win the contest with only a plurality assuming that Amash and Meijer split the majority right-of-center vote constituency.
Daily Kos Elections also tabulated the House financial numbers. The leading fundraiser for the quarter is Michigan freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly/Lansing) with $1.3 million raised. Reps. Max Rose (D-NY) and Katie Porter (D-CA) were a close second and third with $1.2 million and $1 million raised in the 4th Quarter, respectively.
Overall, Democrats dominated House fundraising with an aggregate $105 million for the quarter as compared to $82 million for Republicans. Democratic freshmen in Trump districts were particularly productive with most of those enjoying huge dollar margins over their eventual Republican opponents.
Baldwin Wallace University conducted a major online poll of the Great Lakes States and tested the evolving Michigan Senate race as part of the questionnaire. The poll (1/8-20; 1,023 MI self-identified registered voters; online) has a high error factor due to its online nature and reliance upon self-identified respondents. That being said, the new data finds Sen. Gary Peters (D) expanding what was previously a lead within the polling margin of error to one that touches ten percentage points. The BWU results find Sen. Peters ahead of businessman and retired Army Ranger John James (R), 42-32%.
Interestingly, this poll discovers a major gender gap and the results show Mr. James already drawing to parity with Sen. Peters among men (39-39%). Women, however, break 44-25% for the incumbent. At this point, Independent voters are also gravitating toward the incumbent (33-21%), which is to be expected in the early going. Overall, even these numbers suggest that the Michigan Senate race has the potential of becoming very close.
The Glengariff Group national polling firm, which locates one of its two offices in Michigan and frequently polls the state, yesterday released their latest US Senate data (1/3-7; 600 likely general election voters). It again shows a race between Sen. Gary Peters (D) and businessman and retired Army Ranger John James (R) to fall within the polling margin of error. Glengariff reports that Sen. Peters would lead the race 44-40%, which is consistent with several other polls taken during the off-year. This race is clearly moving into top-tier status.
The US Census Bureau officers released their latest population projections in order to measure national population growth for the period between July 1, 2018 and July 1, 2019. The results find the national rate of growth slowing to 0.5%, mostly as a result of decreased immigration. The peak period for the decade came during the July 1, 2014 – July 1, 2015 period when the growth rate registered 0.73%.
With these numbers come the ability to project which states will gain and lose congressional seats in 2020 reapportionment. The national reapportionment will be calculated and announced after the 2020 census is completed. The states will receive their congressional seat quota a year from now, with a release typically coming during the period between Christmas and New Year’s.
If current projections prove correct, Texas looks to gain three seats, Florida two, with Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon each slated to gain one. The losing states look to be Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.
If these projections prove true, California will lose a seat for the first time in history. It’s also realistic that the actual totals could yield a two-seat loss for Illinois or New York, and possibly both. Right now, it appears ten congressional seats will change states, but that number could grow. Usually, the actual numbers tend to differ slightly from the early published projections.
State Rep. Jim Lower (R-Greenville) was primed to wage a primary campaign against former Republican Congressman Justin Amash (R-Cascade Township/Grand Rapids) before the latter man left the party to become an Independent. Mr. Lower cited his weak fundraising as the chief reason for withdrawing even before the campaign officially begun. He is expected to seek re-election to the state House.
State Rep. Lynn Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids), real estate analyst Peter Meijer, Lyon Village Trustee Joe Farrington, and at least three others are currently in the Republican primary.
It is presumed that Mr. Amash will run as an Independent in the general election, attempting to win a three-way plurality contest. Democrats will make a concerted effort to convert this seat. Four candidates have announced including former Obama White House aide Nick Colvin. The political forecast in this race is very uncertain.
Emerson College surveyed the Michigan electorate (10/31-11/3; 1,051 MI registered voters) and, like several other previous pollsters, finds a close contest between incumbent Sen. Gary Peters (D) and businessman and retired Army Ranger John James (R). The Emerson results see Sen. Peters maintaining only a 46-40% lead over Mr. James, which is in the same realm as most other previously published studies.
Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI), who served one term as a member of the Michigan US House delegation before he was defeated for re-nomination, may return to challenge freshman Rep. Haley Stevens (R-Rochester Hills/Livonia) according to published reports. Mr. Bentivolio has also attempted to regain the seat he lost in 2014 in both 2016 and 2018. In 2016, Bentivolio ran in the general election as an Independent, securing only 4.4% of the vote. In 2018, he entered the Republican primary and finished fifth of five candidates with only 11% of the vote.
Though Rep. Stevens is a freshman in a district that has routinely elected Republicans, little in the way of a GOP challenge is brewing. The strong potential Republican candidates, wary of Michigan heading toward losing another seat in 2020 reapportionment, are more likely to mount a strong challenge in 2022 when the new district lines are set.
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.
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