Tags: Justin Amash

Michigan Judge to Decide on Senate Bid Soon


Back in early July, the National Republican Senatorial Committee met with Oakland County district-court judge Kimberly Small about the open Senate seat in Michigan, according to the Washington Post. A little bird familiar with Michigan politics tells me Small will make her decision by September 1, and is likely to run.

As a judge, Small doesn’t have the name ID in the political realm, but she has garnered some favorable coverage in her 17 years on the bench. Small currently is judge for a district that includes Michigan’s wealthier communities, including the charter townships of Bloomfield and West Bloomfield and the cities of Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Keego Harbor, Orchard Lake Village, and Sylvan Lake.

She travels to middle schools and presides over mock trials to help teach kids about making good choices.

Small garnered national headlines when she sentenced former University of Michigan and NBA basketball player Jalen Rose to 20 days behind bars for drunk driving, telling him, “You’re not here because you drank. I have no problem with that. Have at it. I do mind when you get behind the wheel of a two-ton vehicle and use it as a weapon against the rest of us.”

She has garnered some controversy for sentencing nearly all first-time drunk-driving offenders to jail:

Of course, “she’s too tough on drunk drivers” is not a line often heard in attack ads.

Six-term incumbent senator Carl Levin, a Democrat, is retiring. Representative Gary Peters is expected to be the Democrats’ Senate nominee.

Terri Lynn Land, member of the Republican National Committee and former Michigan secretary of state, is the only other declared Republican candidate for Senate. Representative Justin Amash said last month he’s still thinking about it.

Tags: Michigan , Kimberly Small , Justin Amash , Terri Lynn Land , Gary Peters

John McCain vs. the ‘Wacko Birds’


Today’s graphic du jour, spotlighted in the Morning Jolt, stems from reports that Senator John McCain isn’t all that enamored with some of his younger Republican colleagues:

When I asked him if “these guys” — having just mentioned Amash, Cruz and Paul by name — are a “positive force” in the GOP, McCain paused for a full six seconds.

“They were elected, nobody believes that there was a corrupt election, anything else,” McCain said. “But I also think that when, you know, it’s always the wacko birds on right and left that get the media megaphone.”

Plus, those “wacko birds” keep smashing down the little structures he built for the eggs:

McCain has a point; they go way too far on defense cuts, particularly their recommendation to replace our nuclear arsenal with a giant slingshot.

Thanks to Jeff Dobbs, over at The Voice in My Head, for the visual to start the week!

Tags: John McCain , Justin Amash , Rand Paul , Ted Cruz

Will the GOP’s Rogers Run for Senate in Michigan?


Here’s a serious option for Republicans in Michigan’s Senate race: Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers has joined a growing list of Republicans who may run in 2014 for the Senate seat that Democrat Carl Levin plans to vacate.

Rogers of Howell, a former FBI agent, has served in Congress since 2001 and is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

“I am giving the Senate race serious consideration,” Rogers told the Free Press on Saturday.

The Free Press mentions two other potential GOP candidates, former secretary of state Terri Lynn Land and U.S. representative Justin Amash. On the Democratic side, Representative Gary Peters, a Bloomfield Township Democrat, said he is seriously considering a run.

Brian Dickerson, a columnist for that newspaper, contends that Michigan Democrats have been running on their past, and desperately need an infusion of youth:

Three of the five congressional seats the party still controls are held by men in their 70s or 80s; by contrast, only two of the Michigan’s delegation’s nine GOP members (Reps. Tim Walberg and Kerry Bentivolio) have reached their 60th birthdays.

The result is that the names that have defined the Democratic Party for the last decade or so — Levin, Dingell, Kelly, Granholm — belong either to septuagenarians whose lease on power is expiring or, in Granholm’s case, to a woman who has decamped to another venue and vocation.

Tags: Justin Amash , Michigan , Mike Rogers

New House Polls in Michigan, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Maine


There are a few interesting new House polls since my list of 117.

In Michigan, the open seat in the 3rd district, represented by retiring Republican Vernon Ehlers, is likely to remain Republican, as expected:

In what is expected to be a strong year for Republicans in Congress, a poll conducted for the Free Press and four Michigan TV stations shows state Rep. Justin Amash of Cascade Township holding a 46% to 37% edge over his Democratic opponent, Grand Rapids lawyer Pat Miles.

Another poll shows less chance of a GOP upset against John Dingell, the Democrat who, along with his father, has represented a southeastern region of Michigan for 77 years.

A Free Press/WXYZ-TV poll released Thursday shows Dingell with a comfortable, if uncharacteristically small for him, 17 percentage-point lead — 53 percent to 36 percent. The telephone poll of 400 voters, conducted Sunday through Tuesday by EPIC/MRA of Lansing, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

(Keep in mind that if Rob Steele splits the remaining undecideds — a conservative estimate, I think — he would hold Dingell to 58.5 percent of the vote, the smallest share the 27-term Dingell has ever had.)

The Tarrance Group, a GOP polling firm, offers some fascinating and encouraging tidbits. Of course, take as many grains of salt as you deem necessary.

In Mississippi:

Incumbent Democrat Congressman Gene Taylor is in danger of defeat, as Republican challenger Steven Palazzo has pulled into the lead in the race for Congress. Among voters overall, Palazzo leads Taylor by +2 points, 43% to 41%. Another 3% support other candidates, and 12% of voters are undecided.

And in Tennessee:

A poll released Wednesday shows Republican Stephen Fincher leading Democrat Roy Herron by 10 points in the 8th Congressional District race, with 14 percent of likely voters still undecided.

A separate poll conducted for Fincher’s campaign on Monday and Tuesday showed similar results, with Fincher receiving 47 percent of the vote of those polled and Herron coming in with 36 percent. Independent candidate Donn Janes got 3 percent of the vote, and 14 percent were undecided. The Tarrance Group, a Republican polling group, surveyed 304 likely voters in Fincher’s poll.

Finally, in Maine, one of the two seats appears to be in play, although Republican Dean Scontras is still the underdog:

In Maine’s 1st Congressional District race, Republican Dean Scontras has pulled into a statistical dead heat with Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree, the new poll indicates. That differs sharply from previous polls that had Pingree with solid leads, despite a tightening of the race this month . . . Pingree supporters totaled 45 percent while Scontras totaled 40 percent, with 13 percent undecided. Because the margin of error on that question is 5.7 percentage points, the race is statistically even, according to the poll. Last week’s Maine Poll had Pingree with 48 percent and Scontras with 33 percent.

Tags: Dean Scontras , Justin Amash , Rob Steele , Stephen Fincher , Steven Palazzo

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