Voters pick state Senate, House candidates - Kathy for Michigan
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Voters pick state Senate, House candidates

Voters pick state Senate, House candidates

State House of Representatives and Senate seats representing wide swaths of northern Michigan are in play this November, and voters picked some candidates to run for their party.

The primary election Tuesday will also decide the fate of the sole Democrat seeking to challenge Republican Rep. Jack Bergman, who represents Michigan’s 1st Congressional District. Nominating petition issues kept Democrat Matt Morgan’s name off the primary ballot, but he’s very confident that enough voters wrote his name in to get him on the November ballot.


Grand Traverse County Democrats cast 7,290 write-in votes for a 1st Congressional District candidate, according to preliminary figures. Morgan pointed out that about half of Democrats in the county wrote in someone, and he’s assuming the majority are for him. He needs a district-wide total equaling 5 percent of all the votes cast for the top vote-getting race on the Democratic ticket — likely the gubernatorial primary.

Numbers from a few other counties were encouraging as well, Morgan said.

“We’re really, really proud of the folks that came out and supported us,” he said. “This was really all on our supporters because there was a great deal of effort put into this.”

Elections officials will finalize write-in counts Wednesday, Morgan said. That will give him the answer he needs.

Bergman, meanwhile, ran unopposed for the Republican nomination.


Curt VanderWall, a state representative, won a four-way race to run as a Republican for the 35th state Senate seat. Republicans gave him 14,674 votes to Ray Franz’s 7,100, Bruce Rendon’s 6,295 and Cary Urka’s 957 — those figures don’t include Roscommon or Wexford County figures, plus a handful of other precincts.

Curt VanderWall called the win an honor and said he’s excited. He plans to hit the campaign trail almost immediately, and attributed his win to his many door-to-door visits starting in March. He heard from one of his primary opponents Wednesday — he declined to say who, but said he appreciated the call.

“Probably the biggest thing is, I’m excited and I know that I’ll be able to take the values of northern Michigan to Lansing, and we’ll get things done to help the 35th Senate District and the whole northern part of Michigan,” VanderWall said.

Messages left for Franz, Rendon and Urka weren’t returned Wednesday.

Mike Taillard ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination, and Timothy Coon had no challenger for the Libertarian nomination.


State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, will run for the another term for the 37th District, while Democrat Jim Page will seek to unseat him — Page was unopposed in the primary.

Schmidt survived a primary challenge from Jim Gurr with 9,587 votes to Gurr’s 2,525 — these figures don’t include Antrim County figures, which weren’t available as of press time Wednesday.

Gurr admitted the numbers didn’t sound good but wasn’t willing to concede as of early Wednesday. He noted the numbers were still coming in. But he repeated his promise to support Schmidt and other GOP nominees, whoever they may be. He also credited his campaign with starting a necessary conversation about the future of the party and state, regardless of the results.

A message left for Schmidt wasn’t returned Wednesday.


Democrat Kathy Wiejaczka will face Republican Jack O’Malley come November. Republican voters handed O’Malley the nomination with 10,417 votes over Carolyn Cater’s 1,941 with a handful of precincts not yet reported.

O’Malley said he found his first-time political experience a humbling and honoring one. He credited his win to lots of hard work and his name recognition from 34 years on the radio.

“I know who I am, I know my heart and I know that I will work hard for them and I’m doing this for all the right reasons,” he said.

O’Malley credited anyone whose name was on the ballot, including Cater.

A message left for Cater wasn’t returned early Wednesday.

Democrats, meanwhile, picked Kathy Wiejaczka by 8,131 votes over Edward Hoogterp’s 1,017, with some precincts not yet reported.

Wiejaczka said she was excited and worked hard for the win. That hard work will continue into November as she looks to be one of nine state House of Representatives seats Democrats could flip. She credited Hoogterp for running a “very classy” campaign, and said she’ll continue her message of love, service and hope.

“I’m just very, very grateful to all of our volunteers, the people that have worked very hard to make this happen, and we don’t give up,” she said.

Hoogterp conceded Wiejaczka ran the better campaign and “clobbered” him. He acknowledged the loss smarts, but he’ll support her candidacy.


Democrat Tim Schaiberger will face Republican Daire Rendon, the state 103rd District representative, in November, although the vote was a close one as of press time Wednesday. Schaiberger had 2,950 votes over Steve Loomis’ 2,723, with four of the district’s five counties reported to the Secretary of State.

Messages left for Schaiberger and Loomis weren’t returned Wednesday.

Rendon ran unopposed for her party’s nomination.


Source: Traverse City Record Eagle
August 8, 2018