Northern Michigan Elections & Government

Aaron Selbig

The president of the village of Kalkaska has been removed from office.

Jeff Sieting made headlines a year ago when some of his anti-Muslim social media posts went viral. On Facebook, Sieting compared Islam to “a flesh-eating bacteria,” and called for nuclear weapons to be used on Muslim cities.

A recall effort began soon after the posts came to light, and yesterday, Kalkaska voters chose a new leader to replace Sieting.


Aaron Selbig

A technicality could leave Democrats with no candidate on the primary ballot for northern Michigan’s congressional district.  

State election officials say Traverse City Democrat Matt Morgan made an error on the forms used to gather signatures. Most of the sheets listed the campaign’s post office box instead of a required street address. 

 


David Cassleman

Democrats have struggled to find candidates to run for office in Grand Traverse County. 

In recent elections, Democrats let most seats on the county Board of Commissioners go unchallenged. 

WTCM

A longtime radio personality is running for the state House in northern Michigan. WTCM-FM morning host Jack O’Malley announced Tuesday he’s running as a Republican for the 101st District.

The seat, which spans from Ludington to Northport, is open this fall. Current Rep. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) announced last month he’s running for the state Senate instead of re-election.

State Rep. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) made a tough choice last month. He decided not to run for re-election in the Michigan House of Representatives. Instead, he’s running for the state Senate. 

It’s a decision that has disrupted two competitive political races in northern Michigan. 

 


Aaron Selbig

State Rep. Curt VanderWall has announced he won’t run for re-election and will instead run for the state Senate. That means the race for the 101st District seat is wide open. 

One of northern Michigan’s most competitive state House districts will have an open seat this fall.  

Rep. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) has announced he will not seek re-election in the 101st District, which spans from Northport to Ludington. 

VanderWall is instead running for the open 35th District state Senate seat. Twelve counties make up that large Senate district, including Leelanau, Wexford, Crawford and Ogemaw Counties.  

Cheyna Roth

A group of state lawmakers is proposing to end public elections for university boards in Michigan and to give that power entirely to the governor. 

The people who govern Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University are elected by the public. The state’s 12 other public universities have board members that are appointed by the governor. 

 


A former state Supreme Court Chief Justice has ended his campaign for one of Michigan's seats in the U.S. Senate. Republican Bob Young announced last week that he was withdrawing his name from consideration. 

His departure means three Republicans remain in the race. They’re hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who is running for a fourth term. 

Listen to an interview below with the Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta, who discusses how this news affects the race. 


This summer a man hanged himself to death in the Grand Traverse County jail. Officers found Alan Halloway dead in his cell in July. It took three hours for corrections officers to discover his body. Officers were supposed to check Halloway's cell every hour, but did not do so, according to a report by the Michigan Sheriffs Association.

 


Joe Ross

Candidates for governor are on the campaign trail in Michigan. They’re raising money, giving speeches and trying to get support before the primary election next August.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is term-limited, so it’s an open seat race for the first time since 2010. 

A ballot initiative aims to change the way Michigan draws the boundaries of legislative districts following the census. 

Redistricting can have a big impact on the state’s politics by affecting the demographics of districts. Right now, state lawmakers are in charge of drawing the maps for state and congressional districts.

Dan Wanschura

A group of Kalkaska residents says their community supports a recall of village president Jeff Sieting.

Kalkaska for Peace formed after posts on Sieting’s Facebook page went viral in June. In one post, Sieting compared Islam to “a flesh-eating bacteria,” and called for nuclear weapons to be used on Muslim cities.

“We were very concerned about the type of publicity that Kalkaska was receiving, and we wanted to do something about it,” says organizer Elizabeth Dunham.

Kid Rock, the singer whose career has spanned rap, hard rock and country music, is fueling the speculation that he intends to announce a bid for the U.S. Senate next year to challenge incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. That is unless it's all a publicity stunt.

David Cassleman

Last November’s election was shocking for many progressives in northern Michigan. Democrats were expecting to do well in some races Up North. Instead, Republicans drubbed Democrats across Michigan and most of the country. 

Dana Ferguson and Dwight Brady

Two more Democrats have jumped into the race for U.S. Congress in northern Michigan. Both are from the Upper Peninsula.

David Cassleman

Northern Michigan’s congressman faced a raucous crowd at a town hall meeting in Gaylord Thursday night.

There was lots of booing and some cheering for Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) at the event. Constituents asked him about Russian meddling in the election, health care, and the Great Lakes, among other issues.

 


Aaron Selbig

A retired Marine Corps officer has formally announced he is running as a Democrat for northern Michigan’s seat in U.S. Congress. Matt Morgan of Traverse City, who retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2013, served two tours during the Iraq War.

Tyler Bevier with the Bay Area Transportation Authority

The Bay Area Transportation Authority is asking for more money to expand its bus system in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties. BATA has put a millage proposal on the ballot May 2. 

If it passes, the millage rate would go up from .3447 to .5 mill for five years. BATA officials say the tax would raise an additional $1.1 million next year. People who own a home worth $200,000 would pay $16 more per year than they do now.

Northern Michigan’s congressman says he will hold town hall events in the district next month.

Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) talked about his plans during a town hall held over the telephone Thursday night.

 He said locations will probably be announced in the next ten days or so.

Courtesy of Matt Morgan

Another retired Marine Corps officer is considering a run for northern Michigan’s seat in U.S. Congress. This time it’s a Democrat. 

Matt Morgan of Traverse City says he has filed paperwork to challenge Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) next year. 

Peter Payette

Northern Michigan has a freshman lawmaker in U.S. Congress. Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) was sworn into office last week as congressman for Michigan’s sprawling 1st District. 

The retired Marine Corps general has not yet been assigned to a committee, but he was selected to serve as president for the freshman class of Republican lawmakers. 

Bergman spoke with IPR News Radio about his first days on the job: 

 


A state elections board officially declared Republican Donald Trump the winner of the presidential election in Michigan. That starts the clock on a request for a statewide recount that has been called for by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. The campaign has until 2 o’clock Wednesday afternoon to file the request.

Got questions before heading to the polls November 8? IPR News Radio hosted hour-long discussions with the candidates for northern Michigan’s seat in U.S. Congress. The race is expected to be one of the most competitive in the nation this year. Listen to the call-in shows below.

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