BTL Staff Report
Of the 16 primary races in which BTL made endorsements, all but two races resulted in wins for BTL endorsed candidates and issues. But the two losses were by two of the most prominent gay men running for office. Oakland County Commissioner Craig Covey lost his reelection bid after being forced to run against a fellow Democratic incumbent due to gerrymandering by Republicans during redistricting. In the race for the Third Congressional District, openly gay newcomer Trevor Thomas lost to fellow Democrat Steve Pestka.
In the 11th Congressional District , BTL endorsed Dr. Syed Taj and he easily won the Democratic nomination. He will presumably face off in November against Tea Party favorite Kerry Bentivolio, a reindeer farmer from Milford. He won the Republican primary which had been thrown into chaos when incumbent Rep. Thaddeus Mc Cotter abruptly dropped out of the race July 6, leaving no time for established candidates to get on the primary ballot. This usually solidly Republican district may now be in play because Bentivolio is widely regarded as such an extremist that mainstream Republicans might abandon him, leaving the door open for Dr. Taj to capture the seat for the Democrats.
BTL endorsed in five Michigan State House Democratic primaries, and all five of the candidates endorsed by BTL won their elections; incumbents Rashid Tlaib, Dian Slavens, Jon Switalski, Jeff Irwin and write-in candidate Winnie Brinks.
In the all-important non-partisan judge races, Karen McDonald won handily for 6th Circuit Judge in Oakland County with 35 percent of the votes. In November, she will face Dan Christ, the number two vote getter in a runoff election. Christ garnered 22 percent of the votes cast.
In the 22nd Circuit Court in Washtenaw County, BTL endorsed openly lesbian candidate Carol Kuhnke who came in second, and so will therefore advance to a runoff in November against James Fink. Kuhnke’s win was overshadowed by the sudden death of her longtime partner, Mary Lavin, on July 29, just a few days before the election.
Openly gay candidate Ken Ross came in second in the race for the 30th Circuit Court Judge in Ingham County and will face top vote getter Jim Jamo in the November runoff election. BTL had endorsed Ross.
In other election news, BTL editors were pleased that the Detroit Institute of Arts Millage passed. BTL had strongly endorsed the three-county millage increase to support the DIA.