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Election 2016

Here you'll find the latest election coverage from Michigan Radio. Scroll below for information and stories. 

6/25/2015 Update:

Lon Johnson will make his candidacy for Michigan's 1st Congressional District official this afternoon in the Upper Peninsula. A press release sent to reporters this morning states:

Democrat Lon Johnson will announce his candidacy for Congress in Michigan’s First Congressional District, challenging Republican incumbent Dan Benishek. Johnson will make the announcement at the Marquette County Democrats’ annual Summer Sizzle Picnic in Ishpeming, MI. 

Lon Johnson grew up in a family with five generations of Northern Michigan history and has worked in American manufacturing and as a civilian in Iraq. Lon, 44, lives in Kalkaska County and is married to Julianna Smoot. Lon is currently the Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party.

WWW.MICHIGANDEMS.COM/LON

Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics co-hosts Rick Pluta and Zoe Clark break down the news that Lon Johnson, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, is considering a run in Michigan's 1st Congressional District in 2016. 

Flickr user Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The list of presidential hopefuls grows each week, and it seems voters here in Michigan and across the country are unimpressed with this crop of candidates.

WDIV/Detroit News survey released yesterday shows Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker each drew more “unfavorable” than “favorable” ratings.

A recent survey suggests that Michigan voters don't like a lot of what they see in the upcoming political season.
National Ave

Presidential candidates keep hopping on the bandwagon. ‘Tis the season, after all.

Tracy Samilton

It's the way of politics.

GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz delivered a well-received speech before a packed crowd at the Livingston County GOP Lincoln Dinner in Howell, Michigan on Wednesday.

But most people will only hear about the joke he made at Joe Biden's expense. 

Jake Neher / MPRN

Jeb Bush says Michigan is a critical state for Republicans running for president in 2016. The former Florida governor made multiple stops in Michigan on Thursday.

In the afternoon, Bush was in Lansing giving the kind of speech you’d expect from someone eyeing the Republican nomination in 2016. He touted his record as governor of Florida a decade ago and criticized the Obama administration’s economic policies.

Ben Carson Twitter / https://twitter.com/realbencarson

Republican Ben Carson formally kicked off his presidential campaign in his hometown of Detroit today, with an event that included a gospel choir, five opera singers from Nashville, and a video ad featuring Mount Rushmore, a soaring bald eagle, and amber waves of grain.  

The retired neurosurgeon and former Fox News contributor is a long-shot candidate in what’s already a crowded primary field.

But he’s hoping he can build on his outsider status, his powerful biography and his tea party popularity.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

U.S. Senator Rand Paul says Republicans need to be as passionate about the entire bill of rights as they are about people’s right to own a gun.

Sarah Perks, of Caledonia, was among a couple hundred people who stood to listen to Paul’s 20-minute speech. The Republican presidential hopeful talked about people’s right to a fair trial and privacy at an event in Grand Rapids Monday.

Speculation continues that Governor Rick Snyder is eyeing a run for the White House.

Just last week, former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman fanned the flames by telling reporters that he met with Snyder in California and that, “he’s running.”

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

There is continuing speculation about whether Gov. Rick Snyder will run for president. Recent trips around the country to sell Michigan’s story have only fanned the rumor flames that Snyder is, indeed, considering a run.

The facts as they stand now are as follows: the governor is making trips across the country, talking up Michigan. He’s been in places like California and Washington D.C, neither of which are typical early indicators of a run, as Ohio or New Hampshire might be.

Jeb Bush
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

There’s a busy spring in store for Michigan Republicans looking to see the party’s presidential hopefuls in action.

Four potential GOP candidates have plans to visit the Great Lakes State during April and May.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan voters may decide in 2016 if they want to legalize marijuana.

Organizers hope to start a petition drive this summer to put the issue on the ballot.

Rick Thompson is with the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee.

He says the path has been laid by decriminalization votes in nearly two dozen Michigan cities.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A bill that would change how Michigan allocates its electoral college votes is back in the mix in Lansing.

Republican state representatives Cindy Gamrat, Todd Courser, Thomas Hooker, and Gary Glenn introduced the bill this week.

It proposes that each of the state’s 14 Congressional districts gets one electoral vote — with the two remaining votes going to the statewide winner.

Currently, nine of those 14 districts lean Republican.

Photo courtesy of Miller's office

Michigan Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller  announced this afternoon she will not seek reelection in 2016. U.S. Rep. Miller has held the 10th District seat since 2003.

"It has been the greatest privilege and sincere personal honor to serve the people of Michigan's 10th Congressional District as their voice in the US House of Representatives.  People of faith, people of family, people of community.  Hard working people, decent people, patriots who are constantly engaged in building our community, our state, a stronger nation," Rep. Miller said in a emailed statement.

The congresswoman also released a video statement on her Facebook page.

Before being elected to Congress in 2002, Rep. Miller served as Michigan's Secretary of State for eight years.

Michigan Republicans held their winter convention this weekend in Lansing and elected Ronna Romney McDaniel as their new chair.

McDaniel has quite the Republican pedigree.  She is the niece of Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, granddaughter of Michigan Governor George Romney. 

A drawing of where the New International Trade Crossing will be located.
MI DOT

Sometimes bigger is better. Sometimes it’s not. This week, Jack Lessenberry and Zoe Clark discuss what an earlier presidential primary might mean for Michigan, the state’s ever-expanding tax credit bill and a big step toward a new international bridge.


An "I Voted" sticker.
user Vox Efx / Flickr

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that moves Michigan's 2016 Republican presidential primary to March 8.

The bills were signed as Republicans prepare to gather in Lansing this weekend for their winter state party convention.

www.michigandems.com/lon

Michigan Democrats held their party convention in Detroit over the weekend.

Their mission was to choose their top leader and to figure out how to win come Election Day 2016.

The first order of business was easy: Chairman Lon Johnson had no competition for the top leadership spot.

The second order of business, however, was a bit more involved.

Democratic state Representative Gretchen Driskell’s nascent campaign for Congress relies in part on the assumption that Hillary Clinton will be at the top of the Democratic ticket next year.

Update 2/12/2015:

 The Michigan Senate adopted legislation early today to establish a March 15th, 2016, Republican presidential primary.* It could position the state to join a Midwest super-primary sometimes dubbed the “Big Ten” primary.

Three months ago, Gretchen Driskell was elected to a second term in the Michigan House of Representatives. Yesterday, she announced that next year, she will run for Congress.

There was a time when such an early announcement would have sparked derision and ridicule. The election is almost two years away. 

At this time next year, we will likely be poised to dive into the Michigan presidential primary season. You might find this slightly nauseating but the presidential campaigns are already ramping up, particularly on the Republican side.

The buzz has begun. Detroit is barely, officially, out of bankruptcy and suddenly the “Snyder for President” coverage begins.

 The national media is talking up the Nerd as a 2016 contender, “Rick Snyder, the Governor of Michigan, has not gotten the same attention as some of the other GOP governors who are looking at the White House,” New York Times political reporter Jonathan Martin told CNN this week. “He is someone who, at the very least, wants to be in the mix for 2016,” Martin explained.

Michigan had the lowest turnout in a Governor’s race this year since the John Engler-Geoffrey Fieger face-off of 1998. And, while a lot of Republicans sat out this year, it was mostly Democrats who stayed home in droves on Election Day.

So, despite the low turnout, conservatives can rejoice because Republicans will remain in control in Lansing for at least the next two years. But progressives can, perhaps, find some solace in the fact that getting initiatives and challenges on the ballot will be easier than it has been in 16 years.

(Shout-out to the Lansing political consulting firm Sterling Corporation and its attorney Bob LaBrandt for being the first to point this out.)

Proposals are by and large put on the ballot by petition drives. (The Legislature can also put questions on the ballot.)

The number of signatures required to get a petition on the ballot is based on the number of people who voted in the previous election for governor. So, fewer voters in 2014 means fewer signatures needed to get on the ballot in 2016.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Republican Party is preparing to hold a March 2016 presidential primary and not jump out of order like in 2012, when the state moved earlier to be more relevant.

The GOP's state committee will meet in Lansing Saturday to approve a March 15 primary. The date could change because the Legislature has final say.

If a Republican contender secures more than half the votes, he or she would win all 58 delegates. Otherwise, delegates mostly would be awarded based on results in congressional districts.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The next presidential election is more than three years away. But supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gathered in Grand Rapids Monday night to encourage her to run.

Clinton headlined a big black tie dinner the Economic Club of Grand Rapids puts on every year. It was closed to the press.

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