Chamber Delivers Powerful Advocacy on Primary Election Day!

August 3, 2016

The August 2, 2016 Primary Election was a very good day for job providers and the Michigan Chamber. Across the state, voters cast ballots for commonsense conservatives who support limited government and will stand up for free enterprise. The Michigan Chamber PAC was heavily involved in many State House races. We are pleased to report that 90% of Chamber-endorsed candidates won their races!

The positive Primary Election Day results can be attributed to the tremendous support provided by Chamber volunteer leaders and PAC contributors. The Michigan Chamber played an important role in many races. Yesterday, we delivered powerful advocacy and business leadership in the political arena.

Chamber members should feel good about these accomplishments, but many battles lie ahead. From today until the General Election on November 8th, Chamber staff will work diligently to ensure that candidates endorsed by the Michigan Chamber continue to have the grassroots and financial support they need to win.

39 of 44 Chamber-Endorsed State House Candidates Move to the November Ballot!

The Michigan Chamber PAC endorsed 21 incumbent legislators seeking re-election and 23 candidates in open State House races. 

Incumbent Legislators 21 for 21

All 21 incumbent legislators endorsed by the Michigan Chamber move forward to the November 8th General Election. The two races where incumbents were expected to face a tough primary fight were in the northern Michigan districts of Representative Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and Representative Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg). Both incumbents won their races handily. Rep. Chatfield won his primary with a 73% share of the vote and Rep. Inman won with nearly 60% of the vote. The Chamber PAC had an active grassroots effort in both of these races, in addition to contributing directly to these elected incumbents.

Successful Incumbents

19Laura CoxLivonia
42Lana TheisBrighton Township
43Jim TedderClarkston
45Michael WebberRochester Hills
51Joe GravesArgentine Township
56Jason SheppardTemperance
58Eric LeutheuserHillsdale
59Aaron MillerSturgis
65Brett RobertsCharlotte
71Tom BarrettPotterville
74Rob VerHeulen Walker
80Mary WhitefordCasco Township
81Dan LauwersBrockway
82Gary HowellLapeer
88Roger VictoryHudsonville
93Tom LeonardDewitt Township
94Tim KellySaginaw
98Gary GlennLarkin Township
104Larry InmanWilliamsburg
105Triston ColeMancelona
107Lee ChatfieldLevering


Open State House Seats – 18 for 23

Due to strong financial support from Chamber PAC, the Michigan Chamber played an aggressive role in open State House seats. Often the make-up of the State House and the legislative agenda is shaped largely by what happens in August primaries. The Michigan Chamber PAC has responded by playing a much more active role in primary races.

Three key victories for the Michigan Chamber:

  • Kim LaSata (R-Benton Harbor) – LaSata faced a competitive four-way primary and polling two weeks ago showed the race in a dead heat. The Chamber contributed $10,000 to LaSata’s campaign and sent 15,000 direct-mail pieces to likely primary voters in the district. With LaSata's hard work and the Chamber’s support, she received 54% of the vote. Her nearest competitor fell short by 1,600 votes.   
  • Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron) – Hernandez faced a competitive three-way primary and polling showed him trailing by several points three weeks before election day. The Chamber contributed $2,000 to Hernandez’s campaign and sent 10,000 direct-mail pieces to likely primary voters in the district. Hernandez won the primary with 47% of the vote. His nearest competitor was 1,800 votes back. His grassroots campaign combined with the Chamber’s endorsement and financial support helped to push a pro-business conservative candidate across the finish line.
  • Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township) – Lasinski, a school board member and successful small business owner, won decidedly going head-to-head against a more liberal primary opponent who was heavily backed by Big Labor. Lasinski edged out her opponent by 300 votes and received a 52% share of the vote. The Chamber PAC contributed $2,500 directly to her campaign. Additionally, there was a pro-active outreach campaign to business owners in the 52nd district. Lasinski should go on to victory in the November election and we look forward to working with her in 2017.

Open Seat Winners

23Bob HoweyTrenton
24Steve MarinoHarrison Township
30 Diana FarringtonUtica
32Pamela HornbergerChesterfield Township
52Donna LasinskiScio Township
57Bronna KahleAdrian
66Beth GriffinMattawan
70Jim LowerCedar Lake
77Tommy BrannWyoming
79Kim LaSataBenton Harbor
83Shane HernandezPort Huron
87Julie CalleyIonia
89Jim LillyPark Township
99Roger HauckUnion Township
100Scott VanSingelGrant
101Curt VanderWallLudington
102Michele HoitengaManton
103Daire RendonLake City


More Good News! Chamber 6-for-6 in Congressional Races

The Michigan Chamber endorsed six U.S. House members seeking re-election and each soared to victory on Primary Election Day. They include: Bill Huizenga (2nd District), John Moolenaar (4th District), Fred Upton (6th District), Tim Walberg (7th District), Mike Bishop (8th District), and David Trott (11th District).

What Happens Next?

After briefly celebrating primary victories, the candidates we support and the Michigan Chamber’s political action program must re-group and re-focus on the November 8, 2016 general election, which is now less than 100 days away. Given the turmoil and uncertainty created by the Presidential campaign, we must re-double our efforts to maintain a business-friendly majority in the State House. You will also hear more from us over the next few weeks about how critically important it is for Michigan’s economic competitiveness to retain a rule of law majority on the State Supreme Court by supporting Justice Joan Larsen and Justice David Viviano.

Please contact Jim Holcomb or Brad Hantler at (517) 371-2100 with any questions.