Northern Michigan Elections & Government

David Cassleman

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin spent time on this side of Lake Michigan on Monday morning, campaigning for Republican congressional candidate Jack Bergman.

Ryan spoke briefly at the headquarters of the Grand Traverse County Republican Party in Traverse City. He endorsed Bergman in the 1st District race and touted the Republican agenda in the U.S. House before a crowd of party members and elected officials, including state Rep. Larry Inman and state Sen. Wayne Schmidt. 

Rick Pluta

There are now two desks on the floor of the state House draped with black ribbon and bedecked with flowers.

Lawmakers returned to the state Capitol Tuesday to the news that state Representative Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle) was killed Monday evening in a motorcycle crash. The desk of state Representative Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights) also remains vacant after she died this summer from a heart attack.

State Rep. Peter Pettalia dead in motorcycle crash

Sep 13, 2016

The northern Michigan lawmaker who sponsored the bill to repeal Michigan’s mandatory helmet law has died in a motorcycle crash. It’s not known if state Rep. Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle) was wearing a helmet when he died.

Authorities are releasing few details. Pettalia was riding on  M-33 in Montmorency County. The Michigan State Police and the Montmorency County Sheriff say they will release more information in the morning. 

Pettalia's district included much of the northeast part of the Lower Peninsula, including Alpena. He chaired the state House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He was serving his third and final state House term, and briefly considered a run for Congress earlier this year. Pettalia was 61 years old.

Ellis Boal

Congressional candidate Ellis Boal has lived a life of political activism. The labor attorney was arrested while protesting at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. At the time he was a cab driver living in Chicago. 

“I spent the night in jail,” Boal says, “and heard the acceptance speech of Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic candidate for the presidency, from jail.”

 

Boal once posed for a photo with former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. He even played in a band that was the warm up act for Bernie Sanders 30 years ago. 

Boal, who has lived in Charlevoix since 2000, has also been a mainstay on ballots in northern Michigan. He is running as the Green Party candidate for the 1st Congressional District for the fourth time in a row.

Grand Traverse GOP denounces Governor Milliken

Aug 12, 2016
State of Michigan

Grand Traverse County Republicans have voted to no longer recognize Gov. William Milliken as a Republican. Party delegates passed the resolution at a convention in Grand Traverse County on Thursday night.

Milliken, a longtime Traverse City resident who is the longest serving governor in Michigan history, announced that he was endorsing Democrat Hillary Clinton for president last week.

“It’s just the final straw,” says Jason Gillman, a county delegate and former Grand Traverse County Commissioner who wrote the resolution.

Lon Johnson cruises to win in Democratic primary

Aug 3, 2016
Lon Johnson for Congress

Northern Michigan Democrats have picked Lon Johnson to run for U.S. Congress. Johnson, the former chair of the state Democratic Party, took 72 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary election against former Kalkaska County Sheriff Jerry Cannon.

“In my candidacy, you will see a future member of Congress willing to make investments to get things done,” Johnson told IPR News Radio in an interview on Wednesday morning.
 


Peter Payette

Republicans in Michigan’s 1st Congressional District have nominated a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general to run for U.S. Congress.

Jack Bergman was unknown in northern Michigan political circles until about six months ago. Yesterday, he prevailed in a three-way race against two well-known members of the Republican Party: state Senator Tom Casperson from Escanaba and former state lawmaker Jason Allen from Traverse City.

Bergman, who lives in the Upper Peninsula town of Watersmeet, took more than 33,000 votes out of about 86,000.

Michigan delegates say they are disappointed Ohio Governor John Kasich did not endorse Donald Trump for president when he met with them today in Akron.

Kasich was among the 16 other Republicans who ran and lost to Trump in the Republican primaries and caucuses.

John Kasich is skipping the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week.  He is attending a few satellite events like the one this morning with the Michigan delegation in Akron, Ohio. 

Candidates for northern Michigan’s seat in U.S. Congress have raised more than $2.3 million so far in a race that is expected to be one of the most competitive in the nation this November.

Campaigns across the nation filed financial statements with the Federal Election Commission last week.

Former Michigan Democratic Party chair Lon Johnson leads all candidates in the 1st Congressional District with more than $1.2 million raised through June 30. Fellow Democrat Jerry Cannon has raised $46,169.

Republican Jack Bergman, a retired Marine Corps general from Watersmeet, has more cash on hand than any other Republican. He has raised $336,275 total and spent more than $94,000.

Most of that money comes from Bergman’s own pocketbook, says Craig Mauger with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
 


Kelly Clark's campaign Facebook Page

There’s a Libertarian in the race for Grand Traverse County’s House seat, Michigan's 104th district.

Kelly Clark is a Traverse City Area Public Schools board member and retired public school teacher.

"The overreach in government right now is at an all time high, and it just keeps expanding," says Clark. "I’m all in favor of minimum government and maximum freedom."

Clark says, to start, there are way too many taxes in Michigan.

In case you missed it, Republicans Jason Allen, Jack Bergman and Tom Casperson debated the issues on IPR News Radio on Friday, June 17.

The three are candidates for Michigan's 1st Congressional District.

Listen below to a recording of the entire call-in show, and click this link for a forum with the Democratic candidates recorded earlier this month.


Want to know where northern Michigan Republicans stand on Donald Trump? On Line Five? On the economy?

Now is your chance to question the Republicans running for U.S. Congress in northern Michigan. Leave your question in the comments below, and we just might ask it on air on Friday, June 17 at 1 p.m.

You can also call in during the hour with your question for Jason Allen, Jack Bergman and Tom Casperson. The number is 231-276-4432.

Diane Bostow

Michigan Libertarians have picked a former schoolteacher to run for U.S. Congress in northern Michigan.

“This is a district that is frugal, hard-working people and they kind of like to be left alone,” says Diane Bostow, who is a former teacher and entrepreneur from the Upper Peninsula town of Gwinn.  

Michigan Libertarians selected Bostow at the state party’s convention last month.
 


In case you missed it, Democrats Lon Johnson and Jerry Cannon debated the issues on IPR News Radio on Friday, June 10. Johnson and Cannon are both candidates for Michigan's 1st Congressional District.

Listen below to a recording of the entire call-in show, and be sure to join us next Friday -- June 17 -- when the Republicans convene for a live call-in show at 1pm.


Worried about Line 5 at the Straits? Wondering about the northern Michigan economy?

Now is your chance to question the Democrats running for U.S. Congress in northern Michigan. Leave your question in the comments below, and we just might ask it on air on Friday, June 10 at 1 p.m.

It’s a live forum and call-in show with the Democratic candidates for U.S. Congress in the 1st Congressional District — Jerry Cannon and Lon Johnson.

Call in during the forum at 800-681-5929.

School taxes pass in northern Michigan

May 4, 2016

From Elk Rapids to Beaver Island, voters have approved tax millages and bonds to pay for school expenses.

Tuesday’s election was one of four dates this year when schools can ask for money.

A bond proposal for Elk Rapids Schools passed by a margin better than two-to-one, according to unofficial results. The bond will pay for technology and safety upgrades over four years.

Voters to decide school tax proposals Tuesday

May 2, 2016
David Cassleman

Dozens of school districts across Michigan are asking voters to approve tax proposals on Tuesday.

In northern Michigan, Elk Rapids Public Schools has a technology and safety bond on the ballot. Leland Public Schools has a similar bond proposal.

Congressional candidates in northern Michigan have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars so far in 2016. Candidates in the 1st Congressional District have combined to raise $561,218 since January 1, according to data filed with the Federal Election Commission last week.

“When it comes to purely candidate fundraising, the 1st District led the way in the … first three months of 2016,” says Craig Mauger, the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Mauger says there were other congressional districts with higher fundraising totals, but those totals were skewed by candidates loaning themselves large sums of money.

Mauger discussed the political fundraising battle in northern Michigan with IPR News Radio earlier this week:
 


TCAPS board member to run for state House again

Apr 19, 2016

Megan Crandall has filed to run as a Democrat in the race for Grand Traverse County’s state House seat. In 2010, the Traverse City school board member ran for the 104th state House District as an independent.

“I’m running as a [Democrat] because there is no place for me in this Republican party,” Crandall says. “I’m a Milliken Republican. I’m concerned about the environment. I support education. I support responsible government.”

Jack Bergman, a former three-star Marine Corps general running for Congress in northern Michigan, wants to “get the budget under control” on day one if elected.

The Republican recently entered the race in Michigan’s competitive 1st Congressional District. The district includes the northern third of lower Michigan and all of the Upper Peninsula.

“Congress needs to start working together, negotiating the tough decisions,” Bergman told IPR News Radio in an interview last week.


There’s a new Republican in the race for northern Michigan’s seat in U.S. Congress — a former three-star general named Jack Bergman. The retired Marine Corps officer says he will soon officially register to run in the competitive 1st Congressional District.

“Marines don’t come to just kind of finish second,” Bergman says. “Marines come to win.”

Bergman is a political unknown, but he’s running in a district - and in an election year - when an outsider could have success.


Jack Bergman, a retired Marine Corps general from the western Upper Peninsula, is entering the race for northern Michigan’s seat in U.S. Congress. The republican says he plans to file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission sometime in the next two weeks.

“Marines don’t come to just kind of finish second,” Bergman says. “Marines come to win.”

A yooper has represented northern Michigan in U.S. Congress for decades — a tradition that state Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) wants to continue. Casperson is running to fill the seat that Rep. Dan Benishek is vacating in the 1st Congressional District. Casperson sat down with IPR News Radio for an interview last week.

“The overreach from the federal government has caused problems we’re faced with here in northern Michigan,” Casperson says. “I’m one that’s convinced that most of the governing should take place at the state level.”


Trump campaigns in Warren and Cadillac

Mar 5, 2016
Jake Neher

Just hours after Thursday’s GOP debate in Detroit, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump spoke in front of a raucous crowd of about 4,000 in Warren on Friday.

Trump appears to be stressing his auto industry proposals ahead of Michigan’s primary elections on Tuesday.

He repeatedly said his plan to significantly increase taxes on imported cars and auto parts will force Ford and other companies to move production facilities from Mexico.

Jason Gillman to challenge Inman in state House primary

Feb 25, 2016
David Cassleman

Former Grand Traverse County commissioner Jason Gillman is running for the state House of Representatives again. He has announced he intends to challenge incumbent Larry Inman in the Republican primary of the 104th state House district.

Gillman ran for the seat in 2012, losing to now state Sen. Wayne Schmidt in the primary.

“I feel like I have to run this year,” Gillman says.

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