2014 Michigan General Election Primer
President Barack Obama, former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush and former U.S. Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have all campaigned this fall in Michigan, but not in their election bids.
They were supporting Michigan candidates for governor and U.S. Senate.
Michigan's general election is Tuesday.
On the Nov. 4 ballot are gubernatorial, Secretary of State, Attorney General, state Supreme Court, U.S. Senate and congressional, University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University seats in addition to state legislative; county, city, village, township and school and library board seats along with levy requests and proposals and requested charter amendment changes.
Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican in his first four-year term, is facing opposition from former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer, a Democrat. Also vying for the seat are Mary Buzuma, a retired U.S. Navy veteran from Grand Haven representing the Libertarian Party; Mark McFarlin, from Bay City and of the U.S. Taxpayers Party; and Paul Homeniuk, from East Lansing and of the Green Party.
With U.S. Sen. Carl Levin not seeking a seventh six-year term, Terri Lynn Land, a Republican from Byron Center who served two terms as Michigan's Secretary of State and is a small business owner, and three-term U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, a Democrat from Bloomfield Township near Detroit, are both seeking the six-year seat. Also in the race are Jim Fulner, a Libertarian who is a systems engineer from Berkley; Richard Matkin, of the U.S. Taxpayers Party from Hazel Park; and Chris Wahmhoff, a Green Party member who is a home health-care aide from Kalamazoo.
Seeking four years in Michigan's Secretary of State post are incumbent Republican Ruth Johnson of Holly, Democratic challenger Godfrey Dillard of Detroit, Libertarian candidate James Lewis of Grand Rapids, U.S. Taxpayers candidate Robert Gale of Sterling Heights and Natural Law Party candidate Jason Gatties of Dowagiac.
Vying for four years as Attorney General are incumbent Republican Bill Schuette of Midland, Democratic challenger Mark Totten of Kalamazoo, Libertarian candidate Justin Altman of Ypsilanti, U.S. Taxpayers candidate Gerald Van Sickle of Wellston and Green candidate John La Pietra of Marshall.
Five people are seeking to fill two non-partisan eight-year terms as Supreme Court justice: Richard Bernstein, Doug Dern, Robert Murphy, James Redford and Brian Zahra.
Three people are seeking to fill a partial term running through Jan. 1, 2017, as Supreme Court justice in the non-partisan race: Kerry Morgan, Deborah Thomas and David Viviano.
Ten people are seeking two seats on the State Board of Education: Republican candidates Maria Carl and Jonathan Williams, Democratic candidates Pamela Pugh Smith and Casandra Ulbrich, Libertarian candidates Kimberly Moore and Gregory Stempfle, U.S. Taxpayers candidates John Adams and Karen Adams, Green candidate Sherry Wells and Natural Law candidate Nikki Watson.
Nine people are vying for two seats on the University of Michigan Board of Regents: Republican candidates Rob Steele and Ronald Weiser, Democratic candidates Mike Behm and Kathy White, Libertarian candidates James Hudler and John Jascob, U.S. Taxpayers candidates Joe Sanger and Christine Schwartz and Green candidate Ian Swanson.
Eleven people are seeking two seats on the Michigan State University Board of Trustees: Republican candidates Melanie Foster and Jeff Sakwa, Democratic candidates Faylene Owen and George Perles, Libertarian candidates Michael Miller and Raymond Moses, U.S. Taxpayers candidates Crystal Van Sickle and Stephen Young, Green candidates Adam Adrianson and Terry Link and Natural Law candidate Bridgette Guzman.
Eleven people are seeking two seats on the Wayne State University Board of Governors: Republican candidates Michael Busuito and Satish Jasti, Democratic candidates Marilyn Kelly and Dana Thompson, Libertarian candidates Dan Goebel and Brian Wright, U.S. Taxpayers candidates Shari Matkin and Marc Sosnowski, Green candidates Margaret Guttshall and Latham Redding and Natural Law candidate Yolanda Robson.
There are also non-partisan races for Court of Appeals judges across Michigan. In District 3, judges Mark Boonstra and Jane Markey are unopposed for two seats.
Two statewide proposals are on the ballot involving wolves, particularly focused on a population of about 600 gray wolves in the Upper Peninsula.
Proposal 14-1 is a referendum seeking to establish a hunting season for wolves and authorizing annual wolf hunting seasons.
Proposal 14-2 is a referendum seeking to grant the Michigan Natural Resources Commission the power to designate wolves and certain other animals as game without state legislative action.
At least five the state's 16 members of Congress will be new faces.
These are the West Michigan congressional races:
-- U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township, faces a challenge from Bob Goodrich, a Kentwood Democrat, and Tonya Duncan, a Kalamazoo Green Party candidate.
-- U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, a Republican from Zeeland who in his second term, faces Dean Vanderstelt, a Democrat from Spring Lake, in the Second Congressional District. Also vying for the seat are Dr. Ronald Graeser, a physician from Muskegon in the U.S. Taxpayers Party and Ronald Welch II, a Libertarian from Fremont.
-- U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, faces a challenge from Paul Clements, a Democrat who is a Western Michigan University political science professor, in the Sixth Congressional District. Also vying for the seat are Erwin J. Haas, a Libertarian candidate, and John Lawrence, a Green candidate.
House of Representatives seats are on the ballot for all 110 districts in Michigan since the posts last two years.
The Republicans currently have a 59-50-1 margin in Lansing.
Meanwhile, Republicans have a 26-12 majority in the State Senate.
Judicial and county commission seats; millage levies and renewals; township, city and village council races and proposals; school and library board races; and/or school and/or community college district operating levies and renewals are on the ballot in all locales.
In Grand Rapids, a charter amendment is sought that would limit the mayor and city commissioners two terms in their seats.
In Kent County, a 10-year, 0.05-mill levy is sought for veterans services. If passed, it would raise $1.0013 million in 2015.
In Ottawa County, a 10-year, 0.5-mill levy is sought for road maintenance and reconstruction. If passed, it would raise $5.013 million in its first year in 2015.
In Allegan County, the Allegan Area Educational Service Agency (AESA) is seeking two Headlee overrides for 20 years on special education levies. They would generate $1.4 million and $809,953 in 2015, respectively.
In Ionia County, a six-year 911 operating surcharge is on the ballot, with the county seeking to assess a monthly surcharge of up to $2.30 on monthly bills for landline, wireless and VoIP service suppliers. It would be used exclusively for funding 911 emergency telephone call answering and dispatch services.
In Montcalm County, Montcalm Community College is seeking a 10-year renewal of a 1.1823-mill operating levy from 2016 to 2025. If passed, it would raise about $2.576 million in its first year in 2016.
In Muskegon, Hackley Public Library is seeking approval for a $3.2 million bond for facility improvements. It would be paid for with a 16-year, 0.5474-mill levy if passed. In addition, the city is seeking to increase its municipal levy on real and personal property, including for road maintenance and repairs, from a 10-mill limit to 14 mills effective Dec. 1.
For those headed to the polls, which are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, here are some guidelines from our news-gathering partners at WZZM-13:
- Bring a picture ID. Failure to have one will mean you'll need to sign an affidavit swearing you have one.
- Cell phones are not allowed in voting booths.
- If you don't know where to vote, call your county clerk or check on their website.
Local polling locations are at the online links for these counties: Kent, Ottawa, Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo and Van Buren.
While the deadline to seek an absentee ballot by mail was Saturday, absentee ballots can be obtained in person anytime through 4 p.m. Monday in clerk's offices and must be cast there. Emergency absentee ballots are available under certain conditions through 4 p.m. on Election Day, according to the Secretary of State's Office.