This Tuesday’s Michigan primary will
bring a host of political campaigns to a sudden halt, as the public
chooses its favorite candidates and limits November’s
congressional race to a select few. Since Ann Arbor is split up
into two separate federal and state congressional districts,
registered voters will choose from two different fields depending
on which state district, the 53rd or 54th, one lives in. Polls will
be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday and students can vote
on campus at the Michigan Union and Bursley Hall.

In the 53rd district, where most students live, voters will
experience a fairly uneventful race. Congressman John Dingell (D),
not facing any competition, will retain his seat. Chris Kolb (D),
the incumbent candidate currently serving his second term in the
state House will most likely defeat the recent University graduate
Scott Schlimmer, who has admitted that his own chances of winning
are slim.

Representing the district’s progressive desire to embrace
a diverse population, both Dingell and Kolb have been very active
in forwarding the district’s ambitions. In the spring, Kolb
participated in a panel to discuss LGBT issues in the
“OUTspoken” forum at the Michigan League. In addition
to many other issues, Kolb has also made great efforts to tackle
environmental issues concerning the community as well. Likewise,
Dingell, currently serving his 25th term in Congress, has also made
a valiant effort to address the concerns of his constituents,
including students. Speaking out against the Patriot Act and the
Iraq war, Dingell has spoken directly to students and engaged in
dialogue in classrooms here at the University.

Students living in the 52nd state district will participate in
the 7th congressional district race. The current U.S.
Representative Nick Smith (R), upon deciding to retire, has left
his seat up for grabs. Three Democratic candidates, in addition to
a host of Republicans, are fighting for the seat. Despite the
district being overwhelmingly conservative, Democratic candidate
Drew Walker appears to be the most qualified candidate and will
likely do an exceptional job at representing the district. Having
earned a Ph.D. in social anthropology, Walker has served as a
government building consultant in Kosovo and has been very active
with the Urban League. Though Walker is not a resident of the
district he seeks to represent, his illustrious background has
given him the experience needed to represent the diverse population
of the 7th district.

A fierce fight for the state representative seat is also roaring
along in the 52nd state district. Seven candidates are looking to
fill the seat that the term-limited Gene DeRossett (R) will be
leaving behind. All three Democratic candidates appear to be very
capable of performing well within the position, however Fran
Brennan-Pontoni, a former activist, has been the only candidate
committed to actively fighting environmental hazards, supporting
the University’s affirmative action policies and promoting
the rights of same sex couples. Brennan-Pontoni has made a sincere
pledge to protect the rights and civil liberties of all citizens;
it is now to be seen whether she will actually keep her word.

This Tuesday students and residents of the 53rd district should
vote to retain both Dingell and Kolb, while residents of the 54th
district should vote to nominate Drew Walker and Fran
Brennan-Pontoni.

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