Limited competition for state judicial seats

Only 29 of 249 judgeships on primary ballot

LANSING – Michiganders will elect 249 state court judges this November and three-fourths of those seats have only one candidate. There are 180 incumbents (12 court of appeals, 66 circuit court, 91 district court and 11 probate court) with no challenger for the primary or general election, and six candidates in open seats (three circuit courts and three district courts) who are likewise unopposed.

Only 29 judicial seats will be contested in the August primary: one seat on the Court of Appeals 4th District; eight open circuit court seats; 19 district court seats, including three that are occupied by incumbents; and one open probate court seat.

Campaign fundraising among judicial primary candidates has been relatively restrained, so far, with only four candidates reporting that they have raised more than $100,000.

The 6th Circuit Court primary in Oakland County is the most expensive judicial primary in the state with $575,000 raised as of July 20th. In that contest, David Carl Anderson ($211,782) and Lisa Gorcyca ($216,614) are the leading fundraisers. Only two other circuit court primary candidates in the state have raised as much as $50,000.

The open Oakland County Probate Court seat also features prodigious primary fundraisers: Daniel O’Brien ($100,625) and Mark Frankel ($110,191).

The most expensive district primary race is in Wayne County’s 35th District, where three candidates – Joe Barone, Jim Plakas and Martha Snow – have raised more than $70,000 each. Only two other district court primary candidates in the state have raised as much as $50,000.

The leading fundraisers for the open 4th District Court of Appeals seat are Eric Doster ($66,859) and Paula Manderfield ($61,836).

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Press Release 2008 News