Kilpatrick Ousted in Michigan Primary
Updated: 2:40 a.m.
Seven-term Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick was defeated Tuesday in a Democratic primary by state Sen. Hansen Clarke, just shy of two years after her son, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D), entered a guilty plea to two felony counts of obstruction of justice.
Clarke received 48 percent of the vote to 40 percent for Carolyn Kilpatrick in the 13th district, with 54 percent of the vote counted. The Congresswoman is the fourth House incumbent to lose in a primary this year.
Kilpatrick, a former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, stressed her status as Michigan’s only member of the Appropriations Committee during the campaign. But she couldn’t overcome the stain from the scandal that led to the downfall of her son, who was indicted on charges of federal tax evasion and went to jail in 2008.
Kilpatrick barely made it out of her 2008 primary against two well-funded opponents, earning 39 percent of the vote to the two others’ 35 percent and 25 percent.
Clarke, the son of an African-American mother and a Bangladeshi immigrant father, was first elected to the state House in 1990 and the state Senate in 2002. He became better known to Detroit voters when he challenged Kwame Kilpatrick in the 2005 Detroit mayoral race, which he ultimately lost.
Clarke is considered a shoo-in to win the general election. President Barack Obama won the heavily Democratic urban Detroit district with 84 percent of the vote in 2008.
In other results Tuesday, former Rep. Tim Walberg (R) will get a rematch with Rep. Mark Schauer (D) this November in the 7th district. Walberg defeated lawyer Brian Rooney, 58 percent to 32 percent. Rooney is an Iraq War veteran and the brother of Florida GOP Rep. Tom Rooney.
This race will be a high priority for both parties. The seat has switched hands every cycle since 2006, when Walberg defeated one-term Rep. Joe Schwarz (R). Schauer defeated Walberg 49 percent to 46 percent in 2008 by portraying Walberg as too conservative for the district.
In the Upper Peninsula 3rd district open-seat race, state Rep. Justin Amash emerged victorious over four other Republicans and is highly likely to succeed retiring Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R).
Amash, who had the support of the Club for Growth and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), defeated a field that included former Kent County Commission Chairman Steven Heacock, who had Ehlers’ endorsement. Amash won’t face a competitive general election in this safe Republican district.
In the open-seat 1st district race to succeed retiring Rep. Bart Stupak (D), Republican state Sen. Jason Allen appeared to just squeak by surgeon Dan Benishek, 38.2 percent to 38.1 percent.
Benishek, a first-time candidate, outraised Allen, a former state Representative who hit term limits in the Senate. Benishek was a tea party favorite, but Allen received support from a wide variety of groups, including the Service Employees International Union.
Allen will face state Rep. Gary McDowell, who is a social conservative with views similar to Stupak, in what is likely to be a marquee race in November.
In the neighboring 2nd district, which is also open, former state Rep. Bill Huizenga scored a very narrow victory over former National Football League tight end Jay Riemersma.
With 97 percent of the vote counted, Huizenga led Riemersma 26 percent to 25 percent. State Sen. Wayne Kuipers had 22 percent.
Huizenga will be heavily favored to succeed Rep. Pete Hoekstra in this rural western Michigan district. Hoekstra finished second in the state’s GOP gubernatorial primary Tuesday.