A look at the candidates heading into the general election
A couple months ago, we dedicated our July issue to informing our readers on key races throughout the state. We started with the gubernatorial race and even got into a few of the congressional races. The August 7 primary was a whirlwind, candidates and constituents alike were on the edge of their seats awaiting the results.
We bring you the candidates that will be heading into the general election in about two months. Read up on your district and head into the polls prepared to make an informed decision – midterm elections are key in getting your voice heard in Lansing.
Former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer won the Democratic nomination with 52 percent of the vote. Former Detroit health chief Abdul El-Sayed followed behind with 30 percent of the vote, while businessman Shri Thanedar trailed behind with just 17 percent of the vote.
Whitmer is calling for more investment in education and state infrastructure, starting with universal pre-kindergarten education, increasing the number of elementary school reading coaches, counselors, and nurses.
To fix the roads, Whitmer would push for the creation of a “bank” in which money could be pulled from to fix road, water, and sewer infrastructure.
The Democratic nominee also announced on Monday, August 20 that Detroit native Garlin Gilchrist II as her running mate.
As of print day, August 27, Whitmer has not provided a statement.
Attorney General Bill Schuette won the Republican nomination with nearly 51 percent of the vote. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley followed behind Schuette with only 25 percent of the vote, while Senator Patrick Colbeck and Dr. Jim Hines trailed far behind, with both barely taking more than 10 percent of the vote.
Similar to Whitmer, Schuette, is also pushing for education reform with the intention of improving state reading scores and the appointment of a state literacy director in his cabinet. Additionally, he will work to help jobless adults return to the workforce through job training opportunities.
On Wednesday, August 15, Schuette announced that former state representative Lisa Posthumus Lyons would be his running mate.
As of print day, August 27, Schuette has not provided a statement.
U.S. Senate Race
Running unopposed in the primary, senior U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow will head into the general election to face off with Republican John James. The first woman from Michigan elected to the U.S. Senate, she was first elected in 2000. Stabenow has previously served in the Michigan House of Representatives (1979- 1990), State Senate (1991-1994), and U.S. Congress (1996-2000).
During her time in office she has focused on bringing jobs back to Michigan, advocated for quality health care and access to comprehensive coverage, and worked to protect the state’s natural resources, including the Great Lakes.
If re-elected, Stabenow plans on continuing her work to address issues facing the Chaldean community.
“The Chaldean community is a vital part of Michigan’s economy and culture. I have worked to address injustices impacting Michigan’s Chaldean families and strongly opposed the Administration’s actions that have played politics with immigration enforcement,” said Stabenow. “I have worked closely with the community to support the more than 15,000 Chaldean-owned small businesses so that they can continue to create jobs and grow our economy. I also coauthored bipartisan legislation calling on the President to address the genocide ISIS committed against religious minorities. I am so appreciative of our work together. I look forward to continuing our partnership in support of the community.”
Advancing on to face Senator Stabenow will be veteran John James. James won the Republican nomination with nearly 55 percent of the overall vote, beating out Sandy Pensler for the opportunity to take on Stabenow in the general.
“It was an incredibly humbling experience. To know that over half a million Michiganders cast their ballot for me is inspirational it only motivates me more to take our grassroots movement to Washington,” said James. “Our message of economic opportunity and national security for all Americans is truly resonating.”
James is a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and pro-business conservative who believes in caring for veterans, creating jobs, and reforming the education system.
“As a West Point graduate and combat veteran, I may be a little biased, but of course I want to make sure our vets get the help and support that they’ve earned. In addition to our veterans, I will be focused on economic opportunity for all Michiganders,” explained James. “I understand business and what it takes to create jobs, because I’ve done it before. After eight years of service in the military, I returned to Michigan to work in the family automotive logistics business; James Group International. Under my leadership, the company has grown from $35 million to $137 million in revenue and we have added 100 additional jobs in Michigan and around the country since 2012.”
Eighth Congressional District
Taking 70 percent of the vote, Elissa Slotkin has received the Democratic nomination. Slotkin is a third-generation Michigan native and has served three tours in Iraq alongside the U.S. military, and working as a national security expert for both Democratic and Republican administrations.
It was during this time that Slotkin was able to visit the Nineveh Plains, meet Chaldean community leaders and spend time learning about the history of Christian persecution in Iraq.
“It has therefore been my privilege to come back home and spend time with so many in the Chaldean community here in Michigan, and see their amazing work to build a strong community here in Michigan, and provide support to their communities in Iraq,” said Slotkin.
If elected, Slotkin will bring her “mission-focus” experience to Congress to work on issues such as bring down the cost of healthcare and repairing our deteriorating infrastructure.
“I will always fulfill the fundamental responsibility of any elected official: to listen to and fight on behalf of communities like the Chaldeans, especially in their time of need,” she said. “In the summer of 2017, when over 100 Chaldeans were detained and threatened with deportation to Iraq, it became even more clear how important it is to have representatives who are willing to fight on behalf of the community, even against the wishes of party leadership. I look forward to being one of those representatives who not only fight on behalf of the community, but does so with a deep knowledge of the issues and the country of Iraq.”
Incumbent representative Mike Bishop faced nominal competition as he took 92 percent of the vote, beating out his opponent businessman Lokesh Kumar for the opportunity to face Slotkin in the general election.
The lifelong Oakland County resident has served two terms representing the eight district and has previously served two terms in the state House of Representatives. Bishop currently serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, which is responsible for issues including “tax reform, health care, Medicare, Social Security and welfare”.
During his tenure in the Senate, Bishop has served has Senate Majority Leader. In addition, he has sponsored legislation that has lead to the creation of the Michigan Child Protection Registry and the Michigan Identity Theft Protection Act.
As of print day, August 27, Representative Mike Bishop has not provided a statement.
Ninth Congressional District
Andy Levin, the son of sitting U.S. Representative Sander Levin and the former head of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth won the Democratic nomination in the race to represent the ninth congressional district. Levin took 52 percent of the vote.
“I’m so humbled and honored to have received the support of the majority of our voters here in the ninth District. I want to thank our tremendous team of staff and volunteers, and especially my wife, Mary, and our kids and our extended family for their hard work and dedication to this campaign,” said Levin. “I also want to thank my opponents for running spirited and honorable campaigns.”
If elected, Levin will focus on rebuilding the middle class and providing the leadership the district needs, said Levin.
“The voters of the ninth District have made it clear that resistance is important, but it is not enough. They demand the strongest possible leadership and the clearest vision of an America focused on raising the standard of living for working people and ensuring justice for all,” he explained. “And when we provide that vision, they are ready to roll up their sleeves and build the ‘blue wave’ bit by bit.”
Facing Levin in the general election will be Republican Candius Stearns, who was unopposed in the primary.
A resident of the ninth district for nearly 20 years, Stearns believes she is the best choice for the district because she knows “what the people want”.
“I am very humbled to accept the nomination – just being asked to run was very humbling,” she said. “Being nominated to represent the district I have lived in for almost 20 years is humbling.”
Stearns actually entered the race back in October because she was disappointed in the work of the Levin family. She believes representing the ninth district should be less about “political dynasty” and more about “what the people of the district want”.
Eleventh Congressional District
Taking 27 percent of the vote, Haley Stevens has received the Democratic nomination in the race to represent the eleventh congressional district. Following behind her were Representative Tim Greimel, Suneel Gupta, and former head of immigrant affairs in Detroit Fayrouz Saad.
According to a press release from the Stevens campaign, she is headed into the general election “poised to speak with eleventh district voters about her experience in advanced manufacturing and plans to fix the mess that Washington politicians have created.”
Stevens’ background in manufacturing puts her in a position to address several issues facing Michigan today.
“As a woman in manufacturing, I have seen the incredible growth of our advanced manufacturing economy and understand the challenges facing businesses throughout Southeastern Michigan,” said Stevens. “Years of partisan bickering and dysfunction in Washington have not served the best interests of the hard-working families who power our economy. The time for inaction is over – on Day One in Congress, Michiganders can count on me to fight for our state, just like I always have.”
Republican Lena Epstein took 30 percent of the vote and will be heading into the general to face Haley Stevens.
Epstein says she is “humbled and grateful” for the support she has received. “I owe this primary victory, in large part, to the Chaldean community which has been nothing but supportive with their words of encouragement, prayers, and votes.”
If elected, Epstein is prepared to address a number of issues, including the cost of healthcare and regulations on businesses.
“We need to make healthcare more affordable by giving consumers more options that fit their own unique needs,” she explained. “We need to roll back regulations on business. We need to cut the federal income tax. We need an economy that works for everyone. We also need to foster a culture of inclusion; which includes protecting religious liberty.”
Thirteenth Congressional District
Rashida Tlaib narrowly defeated Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, taking 31.2 percent of the vote – just one percent above Jones’ 30.2 percent. Without a Republican nominee, Tlaib will be heading into the general election unopposed, setting her up to be one of the first women ever elected to Congress.
The Detroit native celebrated her win surrounded by several supporters, including her family. The daughter of Palestinian immigrants, Tlaib became the first Muslim woman to ever serve in the Michigan Legislature where she served three terms (2008 – 2014).
As of print day, August 27, Rashida Tlaib has not provided a statement.
Fourteenth Congressional District
Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence faced no opposition in her bid to win the Democratic nomination in the race to represent the fourteenth congressional district and will therefore be moving forward to the general election to take on Dr. Marc Herschfus.
Born and raised in Detroit, Lawrence was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November of 2014 and re-elected in 2016.
Lawrence has several goals she would like to accomplish if given another chance to serve. The three biggest issues she plans on tackling, however, are rebuilding the deteriorating infrastructure, “increasing Michigan’s share of federal road funding and transportation investments”, and pushing for more workforce development and training.
As of print day, August 27, Congresswoman Lawrence has not provided a statement.
Like Congresswoman Lawrence, Dr. Herschfus went into the Republican primary unopposed, giving him the Republican nomination in the race to serve the district.
A doctor of internal medicine specializing in gastroenterology, Dr. Herschfus first entered the political arena in 2016. He ran for 46th District Court Judge. While he did not win, this set him on a path in which he became more politically motivated.
This political motivation has brought him to this moment in time as he prepares for the general election where he will have to take on incumbent Congresswoman Lawrence.
If elected, Dr. Herschfus will address strengthening the military, unfair tariffs against the United States, and healthcare reform.
As of print day, August 27, Dr. Herschfus has not provided a statement.