Posts Tagged ‘Waterford’

Michigan’s Top House Race: Gary Peters vs. Joe Knollenberg (vs. Quacky Dr. Jack Kevorkian)

May 13, 2008

The following post is also being syndicated on Right Michigan, where I was offered a position to cover Michigan’s 9th District:

I would first like to thank Nick for allowing me the opportunity to cover stories on the race for Michigan’s 9th District for his site.

First, what exactly is Michigan’s 9th District?

It’s Oakland, Bloomfield, Southfield, and West Bloomfield townships; parts of Orion and Waterford townships; the cities of Farmington, Farmington Hills, Orchard Lake, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, Rochester, Troy, Clawson, Royal Oak, Berkley, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Lake Angelus; and the villages of Franklin, Bingham Farms and Beverly Hills (bold indicates where Representative Knollenberg won; italics indicate a close margin; villages were not categorized since they do not vote on their own).  Or, for you visual people, it’s this:

What are the demographics?

  1. 83.1% White
  2. 8.1% Black
  3. 5.6% Asian
  4. 3.0% Hispanic
  5. 0.5% Native American
  6. 0.5% Other

So, how does the district vote?

  • The district has been given Cook Partisan Index of R+0, meaning that the district is more Republican than other average districts, but by less than 1%.
  • The district voted for George Bush in 2004.
  • The district voted for Al Gore in 2000 (although the make-up of the district was different from now).
  • The district has voted for Joe Knollenberg since 2002.

Why is this race so important?

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) placed this district in the top 13 districts that they are targetting in their Red to Blue campaign.

What exactly is the Red to Blue campaign?

The DCCC put out this press release explaining the campaign:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today announced the first round of Red to Blue candidates challenging Republican incumbents. This is the second slate of Democratic congressional candidates that have qualified for the competitive DCCC Red to Blue program, the first slate was for candidates in open seats. These candidates earned a spot in the program by surpassing demanding fundraising goals and skillfully demonstrating to voters that they stand for change and will represent new priorities when elected to Congress.

These candidates have come out of the gate strong and the Red to Blue Program will give them the financial and structural edge to be even more competitive in November,” said Chairman Chris Van Hollen, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “The candidates for change in our first round of challenger Red to Blue are strong examples of Democrats who represent a commitment to new priorities for the families in their districts.

The Red to Blue program highlights top Democratic campaigns across the country, and offers them financial, communications, and strategic support. The program will introduce Democratic supporters to new, competitive candidates in order to help expand the fundraising base for these campaigns.

Chairman Van Hollen joined Red to Blue co-chairs Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Artur Davis (D-AL), and Bruce Braley (D-IA) to announce the first 13 challenger candidates for change who qualified for the Red to Blue:

Kay Barnes (MO-06)
Anne Barth (WV-02)
Darcy Burner (WA-08)
Robert Daskas (NV-03)
Steve Driehaus (OH-01)
Jim Himes (CT-04)
Christine Jennings (FL-13)
Larry Kissell (NC-08)
Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24)
Eric Massa (NY-29)
Gary Peters (MI-09)
Mark Schauer (MI-07)
Dan Seals (IL-10)
Red to Blue was a proven success in the 2004 and 2006 cycles. In 2004, the Red to Blue program raised nearly $7.5 million for twenty seven campaigns across the country with an average of more than $250,000 per campaign. In 2006, the Red to Blue program raised nearly $22.6 million for 56 campaigns with an average of $404,000 per campaign. Red to Blue was also responsible for solidifying the structure of dozens of campaigns and making a real difference for Democrats across America.

Soon after the DCCC put this up on their website, they got some comments about these candidates not being what’s best for the party in terms of stances, but the fact that they’ll be able to raise large amounts of money:

Your only criteria for inclusion seem to be fund-raising ability, not issues.
Isn’t this what scuttled the progress of the party over the years since
you deep-sixed progressive programs and started going to corporations hat in hand?

Soon after other negative comments, the DCCC disabled comments on that press release.

What were the results of the 2006 Election?

  1. Joe Knollenberg (R) 142,290 51.56%
  2. Nancy Skinner (D) 127,620 46.21%
  3. Adam Goodman (L) 3,702 1.34%
  4. Matthew R. Abel (G) 2,468 0.89%

Is this actually close?

For Knollenberg, it is somewhat close, since he was a 14-year incumbent, but he still won by over 5%.

So, who exactly is Gary Peters?

Gary Peters is running against Representative Knollenberg.  He was a state Senator from 1994-2002, when he was term-limited out.  He then ran against Mike Cox for Attorney General in 2002, where he lost the general election.

He was the Michigan Lottery Commissioner from 2003-2007.

He was hired to teach at Central Michigan University, where he was the center of controversy (that’s a way too long story to tell, so just read The Peters Report or my category of posts on him here, or just search “Gary Peters” here on the Right Michigan website).

Who is Jack Kevorkian?

Jack Kevorkian is a doctor who was sent to jail a few years ago for assisting a patient in committing suicide.  Dr. Kevorkian hired attorney Geoffrey Fieger to represent him in that case, but obviously, he lost.  He was sentenced for 10-25 years, but only served 8, after the parole board let him out early due to his kidney illness.  He was expected to die within a year of leaving prison in May of 2006, but instead, he decided to run for Congress, against Joe Knollenberg and Gary Peters.

How will having Dr. Kevorkian running affect the race?

That is somewhat hard to tell.  I have done some calculations.  In 1998, Proposal B was brought before voters to allow for assisted suicide.  Although it failed statewide as well as in Oakland County, it did better than average in the 9th District (33.05%-66.95%).  I did some calculations, and if we assume that only 75% of voters who voted against the proposal vote for Knollenberg in 2008, Knollenberg would still come out with a win just above 50%.  Peters would received around 45%, and Kevorkian would receive 5%.

This assumes that Kevorkian only gets 5%, and I think he will get a little more from the Democrats who are unsatissfied with the direction of the party.  So, if we assume that Kevorkian gets 8%, 2% more from Peters and 1% from swing-Knollenberg-voters (libertarians), we would have Knollenberg with 49%, Peters with 43% and Kevorkian with 8%.  This leaves plenty of room for Knollenberg to lose a few voters who are mad at the Republican party an the Iraq War, but I think Knollenberg is pretty safe this election.

Again, I’d like to thank Nick for allowing me to report on this race.

Next week, I’ll be looking into some of the fundraising of this race.

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican
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“Doctor Death” is Running for Congress in Michigan

March 12, 2008

What do a felonious & murderous doctor, a former Lottery Commissioner turned (controversial) professor, a dude with a really big head, a Congressman, and a kid with a video camera accused of being “Virginia Tech dangerous” have in common?  They’re all involved in the election for the 9th Congressional District of Michigan.  This race just keeps getting wackier, so I’ll list the basics:

  • Joe Knollenberg (R-Bloomfield Hills) is the current Representative for Michigan’s 9th Congressional district (“Oakland, Bloomfield, and West Bloomfield townships; parts of Orion and Waterford townships; the cities of Farmington, Farmington Hills, Orchard Lake, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, Rochester, Troy, Clawson, Royal Oak, Berkley, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Lake Angelus; and the villages of Franklin, Bingham Farms and Beverly Hills” – yeah, Okland county’s kinda weird like that).  (Source: The Oakland Press).
  • There’s a dude with a big paper maché head who has a blog about “Joe Nollenberg” – opposing him mainly on the Iraq War.
  • Gary Peters is the Democratic candidate running for Congress.  He was the former Michigan Lottery Commissioner, and now he is a professor at Central Michigan University who has come under heavy fire by…
  • Dennis Lennox, head of Students Against Gary Peters.  Lennox is opposing Peters because he believes that there’s a conflict of interest if Peter’s is trying to be a professor and run for office in a county that’s at least 2 hours away (and that’s if you’re speeding).  Lennox has come under heavy fire from CMU and has been compared to the VA Tech shooter. (Click on the categories for Peters or Lennox to see more of my posts about their adventures – there’s a lot of them).

And now today, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, “Dr. Death,” announced that he will run as an independent.  Kevorkian, now 80, was sentenced to 10-25 years in prison on second degree murder charges after he assisted in the suicide of Thomas Youk on September 17th, 1998.  He aired a recording of the suicide on 60 Minutes on November 23rd and was charged on March 26th, 1999.  He was let out on parole after 8 years on June 1st, 2007.

In a statement to The Oakland Press after getting petitions from the Oakland County Clerk’s Office, Kevorkian said, “I plan to [run as an Independent].  I wouldn’t do this otherwise.  We need some honesty and sincerity instead of corrupt government in Washington.”  He said that he would have more details next week and that “everything’s in a formative stage.”

Kevorkian has until June 17th to gather 3,000 signatures in order to get him on the November ballot as an independent.

Here are some responses to the news:

  • Oakland County Prosecutor Dave Gorcyca, who sent Kevorkian to prison: “I would place Jack Kevorkian’s candidacy in the same ranking with Ron Paul’s [poor Ron Paul].  It’s probably more of a publicity stunt.  To call attention to himself is standard protocol for Jack when he doesn’t have the limelight focused on him.  I would not consider his candidacy to be a legitimate one.”
  • Gary Peter’s spokeswoman Julie Petrick: “Everybody has the right to run.  Right now, Gary is focused on bringing real change to Oakland County.  Knollenberg has heaped mountains of debt on our children, disastrous trade policies that have destroyed our manufacturing sector, and gotten us into a protracted war with no end in sight.  It’s time for real change in Oakland County and that’s what we’re focused on.”
  • Representative Knollenberg has not yet commented.

I’ve gotta disagree with Gorcyca here.  The Democrats saw an opportunity to take Knollenberg’s seat when he only won with 51.5% in 2006, but now that there’s 2 liberals running, I think Knollenberg is safe.  Let me explain:

In 1998, Proposal B, “To Legalize Prescription of Lethal Medication to Terminally Ill,” was proposed and failed pretty badly.  Specifically in Oakland County, 129,649 voted for it, and 265,888 voted against it – so 67.22% voted against it.  I then looked at all of the 9th District (adding in some extra areas of Orion and Waterford, since I couldn’t figure out which precincts weren’t in the 9th District and excluding the villages of Franklin, Bingham Farms and Beverly Hills, since I couldn’t figure out which precincts of the cities that they lie inside of were their precincts).  I came out with 77,776 voting for the proposal and 158,095 voting against it, so 67.03% opposed it.  So, let’s assume that Knollenberg can only pull 45% of his districts support, which is a low estimate.  That means that 55% will be split between Peters and Kevorkian.  32.97% of the district voted for Proposal B, and let’s assume that only 80% were Democrats (again, an extremely low estimate).  So, 26.38% of the 9th District are Democrats who support assisted suicide.  Now, let’s assume that Kevorkian only gets 40% of that group and nobody else.  He winds up with 10.55%, leaving Peters with 44.45%.  Knollenberg wins (and I actually didn’t mean for the calculations to turn out that close – I was just estimating numbers as I went).  So, 1) I underestimated Knollenberg, 2) I supposed that a high 20% of Prop B supporters were Republicans and thus won’t cross over from Peters to Kevorkian, and 3) I assumed that Kevorkian won’t even get half of the Prop B supporters.  I honestly think the election will fall more like:

  1. Knollenberg 53%
  2. Peters 28%
  3. Kevorkian 19%

It’ll be an interesting race, but this definitely helps Knollenberg.

Oh, and Kevorkian’s possible campaign slogan: “We slaughter the opponents” – wouldn’t that make a great slogan!

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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