This past Thursday, the Detroit Regional Chamber announced its political action committee’s endorsement of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow for re-nomination. This event followed the organization’s announcement on Tuesday of its endorsements for Michigan State House, including the group’s recommendations for all four districts that represent Washtenaw County.
The Detroit Regional Chamber made its decision based on responses to a survey by the organization’s PAC, input from PAC members, and personal interviews with leading candidates interested in the its endorsement. The issues the Detroit Regional Chamber considered in making its decision included continued support of the New International Trade Crossing, repeal of the state’s personal property tax, implementation of a system of regional transit, and increased investment in Michigan’s vital transportation system.
The Chamber’s Vice President of Government Affairs Brad Williams elaborated on how and why the organization’s PAC selected its endorsees in a press release. “The Detroit Regional Chamber PAC selects a bipartisan pool of candidates from our region and across the state who are committed to promoting legislation that will improve Michigan’s business climate. I am confident that the candidates endorsed this year will serve their communities and the state exceptionally well and look forward to continuing the Chamber’s commitment to creating public policy that grows the economy and the region.”
In a press release, Terence A. Thomas Sr., Chairman of the Detroit Regional Chamber PAC, described why his organization endorsed Stabenow. “Debbie Stabenow has been part of one of the nation’s most well-respected congressional delegations for years and Michigan is better for it. She has been pivotal in efforts to leverage our state’s assets to create jobs, attract talent and investment. The Chamber has been proud to partner with her on events and initiatives that move Michigan forward.”
The Detroit Regional Chamber PAC was unable to reach consensus on which candidate, Clark Durant and Pete Hoekstra, to endorse for the Republican nomination for Stabenow’s Senate seat. Despite its indecision, the PAC praised both candidates, calling them “capable and qualified.”
One local organization was more decisive this week in its choice for the Republican nomination. AnnArbor.com reported that the Willow Run Tea Party Caucus endorsed Durant over Hoekstra.
Michigan State House
On Tuesday, the Detroit Regional Chamber PAC revealed its endorsements in most of the Michigan State House contests, including all four in Washtenaw County.
In 52nd District, incumbent Mark Ouimet earned the endorsement. Ouimet is running unopposed for the Republican nomination and will face off against Democrat Gretchen Driscoll in November.
The Chamber also backed the incumbent in the 53rd District, endorsing Jeff Irwin. Irwin is facing a challenge from Thomas Partridge in the Democratic primary. The winner of that race will take on Republican John Spisak in the general election.
The incumbent also received the Chamber’s approval in the 54th District, as David Rutledge earned an endorsement. Rutledge faces no opposition in the Democratic primary and will fend off a challenge from Republican Bill Emmerich.
There was no incumbent to endorse for the 55th District seat, as Rick Olson decided not to seek re-election, so the Chamber endorsed Adam Zemke. Zemke is not currently an elected official, but he has served on several government boards, including the Washtenaw County Community Action Board, the Ann Arbor Housing and Human Services Advisory Board, and the Dexter Township Public Safety Advisory Committee. His competition for the Democratic nomination comes from Andrea Brown-Harrison, who is currently serving on the Pittsfield Township Board of Trustees. The winner of the August primary will run against Republican Owen Diaz and Green David McMahon.
For the rest of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s endorsements, see their press release.