State Senate - District 36
Republican Candidates – Tony Stamas (Midland)
Democrat Candidates – Tom Dauer (Midland), Paul Reid (Midland)
Current Rep – Tony Stamas (R-Midland)
Tony Stamas – 51.11%
Andy Neumann – 48.89%
Bush – 54.70%
Kerry – 44.16%
Republican Michigander’s prognosis – Strongly Leans Republican
Alcona, Alpena, Crawford, Gladwin, Iosco, Midland, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, and Otsego Counties
Do not let the Bush numbers fool you. This is not a republican district, but a Bush district that did not like John Kerry. This district is a volatile swing district with a large number of ticket splitters based on geography. This district is a mostly rural district covering Northeastern Lower Michigan, as well as Midland. About 1/3 of the district is Midland County, with the rest spread out.
Alpena is usually solidly democrat, although Bush won it in 2004. Granholm got about 56% there in 2002. I expect the 2006 numbers to be in between those two. John Kerry bombed in North Michigan compared to most democrats. While Dauer or Reid, or Granholm for that matter won’t match Andy Neuman’s numbers up there, I’ll be surprised if they matches John Kerry’s numbers. Iosco, Ogemaw, and Gladwin Counties all have many ticket-splitters.
The biggest reason I called this “strongly” leans republican instead of slightly is because Tony Stamas caught some breaks with both democrats coming from Midland. That reduces Stamas’ biggest trouble in 2002 – a “downstater” running in a North Michigan district. In 2002, most of the northlands voted for Andy Neumann by big margins, as was a popular Alpena area state rep. Neumann decided not to try again. Neither did Matt Gillard, or one of the Sheltrowns from West Branch.
That is not taking anything away from Tony Stamas. He defeated Neumann in 2002 by running up big numbers in Midland, picking off the swing county of Gladwin, and taking Crawford and Oscoda counties, which while lean republican – still have geography biases. That was enough to win the district by 2000 votes. Stamas also has another advantage this time and that is incumbency. He’s had four years to gain name recognition in the northlands, and judging by the draw he earned, will probably have an easier race this year than in 2002. In 2010, term limits will open up this district, giving us another classic matchup with tough primaries and general elections in both parties.