Yesterday, at 4:00 PM Tuesday, April 19, the deadline to file as a Democratic or Republican candidate in Michigan’s August primary election passed. You can view the statewide list, which includes all candidates for State Representative as well as Congressional offices, at http://miboecfr.nictusa.com/election/candlist/16PRI/16PRI_CL.HTM.
In the 4th District Congressional election, Republican John Moolenaar is running unopposed, or at least unopposed by any Democratic candidate. This is a large district in central Michigan, encompassing Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Osceola, Clare, Gladwin, Mecosta, Isabella, Midland, Gratiot, Clinton and Shiawassee Counties, plus portions of Montcalm and Saginaw Counties.
There must be some number of people living in this area who do not want to vote for a Republican to represent them in Congress. This is an opportunity for some Green Party person living in the district to campaign actively, make contact with the opposition and build a political network in the district.
Technically, it’s legal for someone not living in the district to run for this seat. I would much prefer to support a person who does live in the district. They would, for starters, be immune to the charge of being an “outsider.” More importantly, I think an in-district candidate will be much more effective in getting votes and building a network.
In my county, a similar list of local offices is available at https://www.oakgov.com/clerkrod/elections. On this page, there’s a link to download a pdf file entitled “Unofficial Candidate and Proposal List.” It has to be unofficial for a few days yet, since there are a few days during which people on the list can withdraw.
This file duplicates the SOS page in that it lists local Congressional and State Representative candidates. However, this is where you need to go to find out about candidates for County Commission and other county offices, plus a surprisingly long list of township supervisor, treasurer, clerk and board positions. These are all partisan offices for which the Green Party of Michigan can nominate candidates who will appear on the general election ballot.
The surprise for me was finding out that Craig Covey is running as the only Democratic candidate for Sheriff. Craig is a gay activist from Ferndale who has been elected Mayor of Ferndale and a County Commissioner. So far as I know, he has no law enforcement experience at all, and has almost no chance of being elected Sheriff even if the incumbent Republican drops dead of a heart attack in October. Do we have a Green in Oakland County who wants to run for Sheriff?
Otherwise, the part of this list that I found interesting was the Township candidates. In many townships, all the candidates are from one party; mostly Republicans, but all Democrats in some townships. It’s an opportunity for Greens living in these townships who want to get a start in local politics to be “the” opposition candidate. At the very least, it’s a chance to get some experience campaigning as well as a chance to get your name known locally and to build a local network.
The big surprise was finding that there are a couple of township positions where there are no primary candidates at all – Novi Township Clerk and Treasurer. If there is an interested Green living in Novi Township – you could be the only candidate on the ballot with a party designation. It may still be possible for someone to file to run as an independent non-affiliated candidate for these posts, but because the deadline for filing for the primary has passed, there will be no Democratic or Republican candidates for these two positions.
The County Clerk of all the other 80-some counties in Michigan should have a similar list of primary election candidates. You may find some interesting surprises in your county just as I did in mine. The list at least outlines the possibilities for local offices. It’s an essential chunk of information if you are thinking about running as a local GPMI candidate or supporting someone who will run.
You have some time to think about it. The deadline for GPMI to put candidates on the ballot for any partisan office is late July, 2016.