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State Senate 14th District

Tim Golding (R) and Washtenaw County Commissioner Sue Shink (D) will face off for Michigan’s 14th District State Senate seat. The seat is currently held by state Sen. Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, who is running for the Senate seat in the 24th District. The 14th District has been held by a Republican since 2014, but Shink is looking to flip the seat. She has centered her campaign on climate policy, supporting small businesses and improving access to healthcare. Shink won the Democratic primary with 75% of the vote. Golding’s campaign has focused on pandemic recovery, defending Second Amendment rights and restricting access to abortion. He ran unopposed in the Republican primary.

State Senate 15th District 

Scott Price (R) will challenge incumbent state Sen. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, for the 15th District state Senate seat. Price won the Republican primary with 72% of the vote. Price did not respond to a Michigan Daily request for comment during the primaries and has not spoken to other outlets. Price does not have a website and has not shared his platform on social media. Irwin was elected to the state Senate in 2018 after serving as a state representative from 2011 to 2017. Throughout his time in office, he has focused on public education, climate action and infrastructure. Irwin has campaigned on accomplishments in these areas, including passing legislation to increase support for students with dyslexia. Irwin also touted legislation he supported to increase corporate accountability for environmental damage and provide support to Michigan residents harmed by disasters resulting from climate change. 

6th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., will face Whittney Williams (R) for the 6th Congressional District seat. Dingell has been the representative of the 12th District since 2015, winning the seat after her husband, at the time the longest-serving congressperson, died. Dingell ran unopposed for the Democratic Party. Williams won 53.7% of the vote in the Republican primary. Dingell is focused on the auto industry for jobs, protecting the environment and increasing access to health care. Williams has a focus on lowering taxes, securing the border and restricting abortion.

Attorney General

Matthew DePerno (R), incumbent Dana Nessel (D), Joe McHugh (L) and Gerald T. Van Sickle (Tax) are running for the position of Michigan attorney general.

Trump-backed candidate DePerno is an attorney currently under criminal investigation an alleged plot to tamper with voting machines. He believes the 2020 presidential election result was fraudulent, abortion and Plan B should be banned and critical race theory should be outlawed.

Nessel is a former prosecutor and civil rights attorney. She is focused on protecting consumers, defending civil rights and protecting the environment and health care.

McHugh is a Marine Corps veteran. Based on his campaign website, he supports the legalization of all drugs, protection of the environment and free speech. He believes in a debunked conspiracy theory that there is a “Shadow Government” manipulating elections and the Supreme Court. He also thinks the September 11 terrorist attacks were orchestrated by the U.S. government and planned to use COVID-19 “to collapse the economy and move the world onto Bitcoin.” These theories have been disproven.

Van Sickle is also vying for the position of attorney general, representing the U.S. Taxpayers Party. The party’s priorities are limiting government control and intervention, including opposing education regulations such as compulsory attendance laws and standardized curricula and protecting Second Amendment rights. 

Secretary of State

Jocelyn Benson (D), Kristina Karamo (R), Larry Hutchinson Jr. (Green), Christine Schwartz (Tax) and Grego Stempfle (L) are running for Secretary of State.

Benson was elected Secretary of State in 2018. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and was the dean of Wayne State University Law school from 2012 to 2016. She was the youngest woman to lead a top-100 accredited law school. She is a supporter of voting rights and has transformed customer service by creating a ballot-tracking website for voters to monitor the status of their absentee ballots.

Karamo is a former community college instructor. According to her campaign website, she currently leads a research team focused on identifying election inefficiencies. Karamo gained public attention after claiming she witnessed voter fraud in 2020 in Detroit while working as a poll watcher. She supports fair auto shop inspections, eliminating election fraud and preventing identity theft.

Hutchinson ran for Lansing mayor in 2021 and lost. He believes in publicly funded elections. In his 2021 campaign, Hutchinson supported campaign finance reform and said he was passionate about gun control, school safety, education and taxes. Hutchinson did not elaborate on these issues and did not share a secretary of state platform on social media.

On the U.S. Taxpayer Party’s website, Schwartz included a statement outlining her platform, which focuses on limited government and building safe communities. “I am 100% Pro-Life, a traditional family supporter and a 2nd Amendment defender,” Schwartz said in the statement.

Stempfle was a clinical laboratory scientist at the Henry Ford Hospital organ transplant lab. He has 25 years of experience as a political activist. Stempfle believes in election security. His initiatives include introducing ranked-choice voting for state elections, nonpartisan county and local elections and stopping subsidies for Democrats and Republicans.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice

Five candidates are running to fill two open seats on the Michigan Supreme Court, including incumbent Richard Bernstein, Michigan state Rep. Kyra Harris Bolden, attorney Paul Hudson, attorney Kerry Lee Morgan and incumbent Brian Zahra. The race is nonpartisan, though candidates can be nominated by political parties. 

Bernstein, a University of Michigan alum, was elected to the Supreme Court in 2014, becoming the first blind justice to serve in the state of Michigan. Bernstein has also previously served on Wayne State University’s Board of Governors. Bernstein and Harris Bolden have been endorsed by The Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Michigan Association for Justice and the Michigan Democratic Party. Harris Bolden is currently serving in her second term as a representative for the 35th House District. If elected, Harris Bolden will be Michigan’s first Black woman justice on the state Supreme Court.

Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Zahra to the Michigan Supreme Court in 2011 following the retirement of former Justice Maura Corrigan. In November 2012, Zahra was elected to serve a partial term and was reelected for a full term in 2014. Zahra dissented in September decisions to place two constitutional amendments on the Nov. 8 ballot. Zahra and Hudson have been endorsed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Farm Bureau and the Michigan GOP. On his website, Hudson says his platform is “grounded in his commitment to the Constitution, the rule of law, and respect for the separation of powers.”

Morgan has been endorsed by Michigan’s Libertarian Party. Morgan ran for the Michigan Supreme Court in 2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 and 2006. Morgan also filed a brief on behalf of the LONANG Institute opposing affirmative action before the U.S. Supreme Court. In it, Morgan states he supports petitioners’ challenge to Harvard’s use of racial factors in college admissions.

Gubernatorial

The Nov. 8 midterm election marks a historic gubernatorial race for Michigan, as two women from major political parties are facing off for the first time in Michigan’s history.

Incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was first elected as the 48th governor of Michigan in 2018 when she ran against Republican candidate Bill Schuette, attorney general under the Snyder administration. Whitmer’s platform has largely focused on reforming Michigan’s abortion policy and highlights her May lawsuit, which resulted in the ruling currently blocking the enforcement of a 1931 abortion ban. Whitmer has also said she supports policies to prevent school shootings, including red flag laws and safe storage requirements.

Whitmer gained national attention in 2020 due to her pandemic response, which is a large talking point of opponent Tudor Dixon’s (R) platform. Dixon was endorsed by former U.S. President Donald Trump on July 27, days before the primary, and joined Trump at his “Save America” rally on Oct. 1 to garner more support for her candidacy. Dixon has emphasized her anti-abortion views as a part of her platform, in addition to vowing to make parents more involved in their child’s education. Specifically, Dixon has promised to limit education on  gender and sexuality in schools and to outlaw critical race theory, an academic theory not generally taught in K-12 schools.

Whitmer and Dixon faced off in a televised debate hosted by WOOD-TV on Oct. 13. They are scheduled for a second debate at Oakland University on Oct. 25.

Donna Brandenburg of the U.S. Taxpayers Party, Mary Buzuma, the Libertarian candidate, Kevin Hogan of the Green Party and Daryl Simpson of the Natural Law Party are also on the ballot for governor this year. 

Brandenberg, a business owner, has built her platform on maintaining the integrity of elections, limiting government overreach, and rebuilding mental health services. Buzuma’s campaign includes promises to cut taxes and allow individuals the freedom to choose their own health care, including revoking vaccine and mask mandates, lifting restrictions on abortion and decriminalizing marijuana. Simpson said the three main points of his campaign include economic growth, improving public education and having a “common sense approach to every issue.” Hogan has not shared his platform on social media.

Proposal 1

Proposal 1 was the first ballot measure to be officially placed on the ballot this election cycle after being referred to the people by the Republican-led state legislature. Sponsored by Voters for Transparency and Term Limits, it seeks to amend the Michigan Constitution to reduce term limits and strengthen campaign finance requirements.

If passed, Proposal 1 would decrease the overall term limit for serving in the state legislature from 14 years to 12. It would also require all elected state officials to annually disclose financial information, such as payments and gifts from lobbyists and other sources of income. Right now, Michigan is one of only two states that do not require such financial reporting from its elected officials.

Supporters of the measure have said it will increase transparency and disincentivize taking money from lobbyists, while opponents worry it was placed on the ballot too quickly and should have been subject to further scrutiny. If Proposal 1 receives majority support from voters, it will take effect 45 days after the election.

Proposal 2

Proposal 2, sponsored by a coalition of organizations called Promote the Vote, seeks to amend the state constitution to increase voting access. The proposal would create a nine-day early voting period and streamline the process of getting an absentee ballot by requiring the state to provide prepaid stamps, ballot tracking and a certain number of drop boxes. It would also enshrine the right to an absentee ballot and explicitly prevent any future legislation looking to limit voting rights.

Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers initially rejected the proposal, with the board’s two Democratic members voting in support of it and its two Republican members voting against it, effectively keeping it off the ballot. Promote the Vote appealed this decision to the Michigan Supreme Court, which ruled that it could be placed on the ballot this November.

Supporters have argued this measure is a crucial step in increasing voter turnout and protecting the right to vote amid nationwide efforts to restrict access. In addition to the challenge that nearly kept the proposal off the ballot, opponents have also claimed these changes would damage election integrity, though there is no evidence that increasing access to absentee ballots leads to voter fraud. 

Proposal 3

Proposal 3, also known as Reproductive Freedom For All, seeks to enshrine the right to abortion and reproductive health care in the Michigan Constitution. Abortion is currently legal in Michigan under a preliminary injunction that blocked the state’s 1931 abortion ban from taking effect after the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June. Proposal 3 would repeal and replace the 1931 law to permanently protect the right to abortion, contraception and “respectful pregnancy care.”

A record-breaking 735,000 individuals signed on to the petition for Proposal 3, but it was temporarily kept off the ballot following a split vote from the Board of State Canvassers. Opponents pointed to errors with the spacing of the proposal as a reason to reject it, and anti-abortion organizations such as Citizens to Support MI Women and Children have advocated against it on moral and religious grounds.

Proponents of the proposal, including Whitmer and Nessel, argue this is a crucial step to protect access to abortion in the post-Roe landscape. 

Daily News Editor Anna Fifelski can be reached at afifelsk@umich.edu. Daily Staff Reporters Samantha Rich and Caroline Wang can be reached at sammrich@umich.edu and wangca@umich.edu