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Published: Sunday, 11/4/2012

MICHIGAN CANDIDATES

Contests for U.S. House, Senate, state Legislature on tap

BY TANYA IRWIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

MONROE — Michigan voters will go to the polls Tuesday to decide U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and state House races, including a newly redrawn congressional district.

Three southeastern Michigan counties — Monroe, Hillsdale, and Lenawee — will be part of a single congressional district, the 7th, as the result of redistricting mandated by the U.S. Constitution after every decennial census.

That means Monroe County will join Hillsdale and Lenawee in the district now represented by U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg of Tipton. The new 7th District also includes Branch, Jackson, and Eaton counties and part of Washtenaw County. Longtime Rep. John Dingell (D., Dearborn), won't appear on Monroe County's ballot because the boundary of his district moved north.

Mr. Walberg won the primary for the new district and faces Democratic opponent Kurt Haskell of Newport.

RELATED ARTICLES: The Blade 2012 Voters Guide

Mr. Walberg, 61, a former church pastor and state representative, has spent $1.47 million, according to a campaign finance report filed with the Federal Elections Commission, compared to Mr. Haskell, who has spent at least $37,300 of his own money in loans to his campaign. The loans make up 68 percent of the $54,923 in total cash received by Mr. Haskell's campaign committee.

Mr. Haskell, 41, a lawyer, advocates converting to the gold standard and making deep cuts in military spending as two steps to ending the nation's dependence on deficit spending.

In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow, 62, of Lansing, faces former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, 59, of Holland.

Candidates for both federal races did not hold a debate. Talks on scheduling debates between Senator Stabenow and Mr. Hoekstra broke down in early October when the two sides couldn't agree on the number of debates and other details.

Mr. Haskell's campaign sent out a news release in mid-September criticizing Mr. Walberg for not responding to Mr. Haskell's request for seven debates between the 7th Congressional District candidates, one each in the seven counties in the district.

The Walberg campaign responded with an email saying Mr. Walberg would discuss debates with Mr. Haskell only when he "renounces his crazy, anti-American conspiracy theories," a reference to statements by Mr. Haskell that the U.S. government planted a defective bomb with the so-called "underwear bomber” on a flight that Mr. Haskell was aboard.

Mr. Haskell previously said in media interviews and in court that he believed the federal government gave Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab a defective bomb and let him board the Christmas Day, 2009, flight to Detroit Metro Airport to justify a call for additional security at airports.

Meanwhile, in one of southeast Michigan’s four state House races, Democrat Bill LaVoy faces Republican Anne Rossio in the contest for the 17th District, which includes the city of Monroe; Monroe Township north of the River Raisin; Frenchtown, Berlin, Ash, Exeter, and London townships; and Flat Rock, Rockwood, and Sumpter Township in Wayne County.

Mr. LaVoy, 44, of Monroe, is executive director of Monroe Public Access Cable Television and is making his first run for public office. Ms. Rossio, 29, of Carleton, is a law student at Wayne State University and a substitute teacher.

In the 56th District, incumbent Rep. Dale Zorn (R., Ida), 58, faces Democrat Larry Crider, 60, of Dundee, a retired police officer and sheriff's deputy.

The 56th District comprises the southwestern part of Monroe County, including Bedford, Dundee, Erie, Ida, LaSalle, Milan, Raisinville, Summerfield, and Whiteford townships, and part of Monroe Township.

The boundaries of the new 57th House District are the same as the old 57th: all of Lenawee County except for Cambridge Township. Incumbent Nancy Jenkins (R., Clayton), 48, faces Jim Berryman, 65, a former state senator and director with the Michigan Education Association.

In the 58th House District, which did not change in the reapportionment, Republican incumbent Kenneth Kurtz, 65, faces Democrat Amaryllis Thomas, 76, a retired teacher. Both are of Coldwater.

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6066.



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