Our endorsements for August primary

Voters in Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township will be determining the fate of primary candidates in the Tuesday, August 7, election, either at the polls or through absentee ballots which are now being mailed out by municipal clerks.

This is a primary election in which you will be deciding who best can represent your party in the November general election, so you must vote on candidates in just one political party.

Downtown newsmagazine sent questionnaires to candidates in contested primary races, the answers to which can be found in the special Voter Guide inside this edition or online at downtownpublications.com.

When making our recommendations we considered a number of factors based on answers from candidates and our institutional knowledge of candidates and issues. In determining who we thought could best represent a party heading into the November contests, we looked at both views of the candidates, their ability to run a competitive campaign and how quickly they could assume office should they make it through the general election balloting.

8th Congressional District – Two-year term

Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township

Democrat

Both Democratic candidates, Chris Smith and Elissa Slotkin, share very similar views on the issues, and both understand what the issues are facing the district, state and country. We're recommending Democratic primary voters choose ELISSA SLOTKIN, who has impressed us as an exciting and dynamic candidate. Most importantly for voters in the district, Slotkin appears head and shoulders above Smith in organization and preparation, a critical factor in determining who will be best able to take on a Republican incumbent in November. She has been spending months going door-to-door, meeting residents, both Democrat and Republican, mobilizing volunteers, and opening field offices. Further, she understands that money follows those boots on the ground. Not waiting for moss to grow under her feet, she has taken her battle on issues directly to Rep. Mike Bishop, the incumbent, demonstrating her willingness and ability to challenge him in the general election in November.

8th Congressional District – Two-year term

Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township

Republican

While technically facing a challenger, Congressman Mike Bishop basically has no real opposition in this primary. If you are voting Republican in the primary, two-term incumbent MIKE BISHOP is your choice in the 8th District, which runs from Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township down into Livingston County, and all the way over to E. Lansing, as the Republican standard bearer going forward into the November election.

9th Congressional District – Two-year term

Bloomfield Township

Democrat

All three Democratic candidates, Martin Brook, Andy Levin and Ellen Lipton, share pretty much the same views on the issues, have law degrees, and all three bring some semblance of experience to the table. While the betting money is on Levin, we’re not swayed by the fact that the family has been in Congress for decades. We may be spitting in the wind, but we’re going with ELLEN LIPTON. A lawyer and scientist, she had a good three-term run in Lansing, with an accomplished legislative record in the House, which is difficult when you’re in the minority party. In this race there is no GOP primary, and the district, which runs through south Oakland and Macomb counties, favors Democrats, so it could be one of the handful in the county where the primary will likely determine the winner in November.

11th Congressional District – Two-year term

Rochester Hills

Democrat

This sprawling district zigzags just north of Pontiac into western Oakland County and part of western Wayne County. While five candidates are running, we struggled over two – Tim Greimel and Haley Stevens. One can’t ignore Greimel’s 11 years experience, spanning local school board, county commission and as current state House Minority Leader, where he fought for Detroit's Grand Bargain and for expanded Medicaid coverage. We were most impressed with HALEY STEVENS who jumped into this race early, willing to take on the Republican incumbent, who then opted not to seek re-election. She is running a strong, aggressive campaign, a good indication of the energy she would bring to the November contest. As for her skill set if she gets to Congress, her experience as part of the Obama Auto Task Force charged with bailout of the auto industry has allowed her to build a strong network of contacts on The Hill and has proven her ability to navigate complex issues through the legislative process with both parties so she won’t just be a “back bencher” as often happens with freshman members. Bright, understands the issues – Stevens is primary voters’ best bet.

11th Congressional District – Two-year term

Rochester Hills

Republican

Seeking the Republican nod are five candidates. One is known as the “Accidental Congressman” because he served a short stint in Congress by pure happenstance. Another, a female millionaire, with zero experience and a reputation as an embarrassing Trump acolyte who outdoes even her master in terms of abrasiveness. The other three, Klint Kesto, Mike Kowall and Rocky Raczkowski, all have legislative experience of varying degrees. We are more than familiar with all three, having been around the Oakland political scene enough decades to know where the bones are buried, as they say. Our choice in this primary – MIKE KOWALL – has represented over 50 percent of this geographic district as state Senator, including as current Majority Floor Leader. He's run these broad races before, and we suspect he may be more attuned to the district's residents, which is who a congressman is supposed to represent.

12th State Senate District – Four-year term

Oakland Township

Republican

This is a heavily Republican-leaning district that meanders into the north part of the county, and there is no Democratic primary. Not to disparage Rosemary Bayer, the Democrat in November, but it is very possible that the winner in the Republican primary will prevail in the general election, thanks to gerrymandering. This district was redrawn for the current term-limited incumbent to include Bloomfield Township, along with Franklin, Beverly Hills and Bingham Farms – and then those communities were ignored by him. There are two current state representatives running who both understand the issues, although their approach to them differs. We are disturbed by reports that the state rep from the north part of the county either has or will be receiving financial support from a charter school lobbying group (GLEP) which is backed by some members of the western Michigan DeVos family that wields considerable control over those who take their special interest money. That quid pro quo system is part of the problem in Lansing now. Our endorsement goes to MICHAEL MCCREADY, not because he is a local boy but because he has shown an independent streak in his voting record when he felt it would not be in the best interest of his district or the state, even though he knew he would incur the wrath of party bosses and the far-right crowd in Lansing. We need that type of leadership. McCready – high ethical standards, keeps in touch with the district – the candidate best suited to represent Republicans.

45th State House District – Two-year term

Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township

Democrat

We would have liked the Democrats to have put together a major league team in this district, but neither Democrat candidate has any experience in the political field. One, Ted Golden, is retired after a career as a physician. The other, Kyle Cooper, is at the dawn of his as a nascent educator, currently working as a bartender. We were impressed with the enthusiasm and more practical ideas KYLE COOPER brings to the discussion, and think he would be a better candidate to move on to November.

11th District County Commission - Two-year term

Rochester Hills

Republican

Thomas Kuhn was the only candidate who responded to our requests for responses to our questionnaire, limiting our ability to truly assess the best contender for this race. By default, THOMAS KUHN is our candidate for the Republican primary, where the Democrat is unopposed. Kuhn is a clear conservative, which may be the right choice for some in the district, while others may find him too conservative for their voting taste.

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