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November General Elections: Stakes Are Huge for Chiropractic as the MAC Determines Our Legislative Agenda for 2023-2024

Be Sure to Support Lawmakers Who Support Chiropractic!

By:       Carl Alden, MAC Government Relations Director


If you have watched television for more than a few minutes over the past two months or so, you are acutely aware that 2022 is an election year. As the two-year Strategic Plan of MAC President Dr. Lisa Olszewski of Chelsea comes to a close on December 31st, and a new Strategic Plan under Dr. Robert Markle of Bay City, who is running unopposed for MAC President this November, will be finalized in early 2023, it’s time to take stock and begin to navigate the potential political landscape facing the profession in Michigan’s 102nd Legislature and the 118th Congress, both of which begin in January.

Like 2020 and 2018, “politics as usual” in the Mitten State (and the nation as a whole) seems to have ended, at least for now. In most off-year elections, the party in power loses seats in Congress, but recent Supreme Court decisions have some political pundits re-thinking that generalization, and it’s not clear if that pattern will continue in 2022.

The August Primary Elections set up some interesting matchups this November in both Congress and the Michigan Legislature. Those matchups will take place on Tuesday, November 8th.


2022 marks the first election in districts drawn by the new Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. The state lost one congressional seat after the 2020 Census, and we are now down to 13 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, from an all-time high of 19 seats from the 1960s through the early 1980s.

Michigan loses three members of the current congressional delegation with the retirements of 18-term Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), a co-sponsor of H.R. 2654, the Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act, and four-term Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield), and the defeat in August of second-term Congressman Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township), also a H.R. 2654 co-sponsor.  

Medicare Full Inclusion – Michigan Co-Sponsors

The five remaining co-sponsors of H.R. 2654 are up for re-election in November. They are:

  • Congressman Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) is on the ballot this November in what is considered to be a safe Republican seat. His Democratic opponent is Dr. Bob Lorinser, who served as medical director of the Marquette County Health Department during the COVID pandemic.
  • Congressman John Moolenaar (R-Midland) won his Primary election in the 2nd District and will be on the ballot this November in a safe Republican seat. His opponent is Democrat Jerry Hilliard, a former teacher.
  • Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-Holland) is on the ballot this November in another safe Republican seat. His Democratic opponent is Martine Veteran Joseph Alfonso.
  • Congressman Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) won his Primary in the new 5th District and will be on the ballot November 8th in another safe Republican seat. His opponent is Democrat Bart Goldberg, an attorney.
  • Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) won her Primary in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District. She will be on the ballot this November in what is considered to be a safe Democratic seat. Her opponent is Republican Whittney Williams, an automotive and marketing industry veteran.

Other Notable Congressional Races

Michigan is guaranteed at least three new faces in the Michigan Delegation in the 118th Congress, as there are currently three seats in which both the Republican and Democratic candidates are not current members of Congress. The Lansing news service Gongwer has identified four key districts to watch this November. These districts will go a long way to determine Republican or Democratic control of the Michigan Delegation in the next Congress.

  • 3rd District (Includes parts of Kent, Ottawa, and Muskegon counties): Newcomer John Gibbs (R-Grand Rapids), a former Trump Administration official, defeated first-term incumbent Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) in the August Primary and will face Democrat Hillary Scholten, also of Grand Rapids, in what has become a tossup district in West Michigan.
  • 7th District (Includes all of Clinton, Ingham, Livingston, and Shiawassee counties, as well as parts of Eaton, Genesee, and Oakland): Incumbent Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) faces state Senator Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) in what is one of the most competitive U.S. House races in the nation.
  • 8th District (Includes Bay and Saginaw counties, as well as parts of Genesee, Midland, and Tuscola: Incumbent Dan Kildee (D-Flint Twp.) faces Paul Junge (R-Brighton) in a district that has been shifting Republican in recent elections. The district still leans Democratic, but in a strong Republican year, Congressman Kildee could be vulnerable.
  • 10th District (Includes parts of Macomb and Oakland Counties): This district features two-time U.S. Senate candidate John James (R-Farmington Hills) against Carl Marlinga (D-Sterling Heights), a former Macomb County circuit court judge and prosecutor.

Other current Members of Congress or congressional candidates expected to prevail this November are Congresswoman Lisa McClain (R-Bruce Twp.), Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), and current state Representative Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit), who won the August Primary ion the new 13th District.  

Michigan’s New Congressional Maps

A statewide map of Michigan’s new Congressional Districts can be downloaded here. Individual district maps can be downloaded here. To see which new congressional district your home and/or office are in, click here.

Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State

In 2018, Democrats swept the major statewide offices, and those officeholders are on the ballot once again this November. Governor Gretchen Whitmer ran unopposed for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist, III, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson were officially re-nominated for their positions at the Democratic 2022 State Nominating Convention in August.

On the Republican side, the nominee is Tudor Dixon, a political commentator and former steel company sales rep. The Lt. Governor nominee is former state Representative Shane Hernandez, and their candidate for Attorney General is attorney Matt DePerno, and their nominee for Secretary of State is Kristina Karamo, a former community college instructor who has worked in various educational and sales roles.  

Michigan Senate

Republicans currently lead the Michigan Senate by a 58-52 margin. They have controlled the chamber since 1984.

The sponsors of House Bill 5295 and 5296, state Representative Roger Hauck (R-Union Township) and state Representative Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores), are running for their first terms in the Michigan Senate this November. HBs 5296 and 5296 – now Public Acts 31 and 32 of 2022 – are MAC-developed, pro-patient bills allow chiropractors to form corporations or limited liability companies with like-minder MDs and/or DOs.

While Rep. Hauck is in a relatively safe Republican district and is expected to return to Lansing next session, Rep. Hertel’s district is much more of a toss-up. The race for the 12th Michigan Senate District is one of the key races this November, and Rep. Hertel needs our support! Donations can be made here, and if you live and/or work in the district, consider getting involved in his campaign, whether that includes a lawn sign in front of your home and/or office, working a phone bank, or getting out the vote on Tuesday, November 8th! The 12th Senate District includes parts of Macomb County (St. Clair Shores, Harrison Township, Mt. Clemens, Chesterfield Township, New Baltimore), Wayne County (the Pointes, Harper Woods), and part of St. Clair County (Ira, Clay, Algonac).

Notable members of the Michigan Senate unable to run for re-election because of Michigan’s term limits law include Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint), Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D-East Lansing), Jim Stamas (R-Midland), Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City), Dale Zorn (R-Ida), and Kenneth Horn (R-Frankenmuth). Other Michigan senators exiting the chamber this year include Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte), who is running for Congress, Adam Hollier (D-Detroit), who unsuccessfully ran for Congress, Marshall Bullock (D-Detroit), who lost his Primary, and Curtis VanderWall (R-Ludington) and Doug Wozniak (R-Shelby Twp.), who are running for the Michigan House due to redistricting concerns.

Democrats are bolstered by the new Senate maps drawn by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, which leveled the playing field a bit by creating 15 solid/likely Republican seats, 15 solid/likely Democratic seats, and eight seats that will determine control of the chamber in Michigan’s 102nd Legislature.

Either party will need to win five of these eight for a 20-18 majority and outright control. If a 19-19 tie results, whichever party captures the Governor’s office will control the Senate, as the Lt. Governor breaks all tie votes in the chamber.

According to Gongwer, the seats that will determine control of the chamber are:

  • Tilt Republican: 12th (parts of Wayne, Macomb, and St. Clair Counties); 30th (parts of Kent and Ottawa counties); 32nd (Benzie County, Mason County, Oceana County, parts of Manistee and Muskegon counties)
  • Toss-Up: 9th (Parts of Oakland and Macomb counties); 11th (Parts of Wayne and Macomb counties); 35th (Parts of Bay, Midland, and Saginaw counties)
  • Tilt Democratic: 4th (Part of Wayne County); 13th (Parts of Oakland and Wayne counties)

Michigan’s New State Senate Maps

A statewide map of Michigan’s new state Senate Districts can be downloaded here. Individual district maps can be downloaded here.

Michigan House of Representatives

The Michigan House is currently controlled by Republicans, by a 57-53 majority. They have held the majority for the past 12 years and 20 of the last 24. Notable current House members unable to return to the House due to term limits include Beth Griffin (R-Mattawan), the chief sponsor of our auto no-fault legislation last session, and Reps. Hertel and Hauck, discussed above. Also not returning is Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth (R-Clare), a strong chiropractic supporter.

Democrats feel like they have a more level playing field with the new district maps drawn by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, but control of the chamber is still an uphill climb this cycle. Of the chamber’s 110 seats, according to Gongwer, 44 are solid/likely Republican and 36 are solid/likely Democratic, leaving 30 seats to decide control. Republicans need 12 of those seats to retain outright control; Democrats must capture 18. Five of these seats tilt Republican, while nine tilt Democratic. The remaining seats are toss-ups.

Michigan’s New State House Maps

A statewide map of Michigan’s new state House Districts can be downloaded here. Individual district maps can be downloaded here.

Michigan Supreme Court

This year, two seats on the Michigan Supreme Court are being contested. Candidates are nominated by political parties, but they are elected on the nonpartisan portion of the ballot.

The seats of Democratic Party-nominated incumbent Justice Richard Bernstein, who joined the Court in 2015, and Republican Party-nominated Brian Zahra, who joined the Court in 2011, are both up for re-election. Both were formally re-nominated by their respective partiers in August.

Also formally nominated in August were current state Representative Kyra Harris Bolden for the Democrats and attorney Paul Hudson for the Republicans.

The makeup of the Michigan Supreme Court – currently 4-3 in favor of Democratic-nominated or appointed justices – is extremely important, especially when it comes to the rights of patients and providers in Michigan’s auto no-fault system, which is consistently under fire in the courts and the Michigan Legislature, and could be even more so with the recent passage of auto no-fault “reform” legislation in 2019.

The MAC, as a founding and Executive Committee member of CPAN, an organization devoted to protecting auto accident victims and their health care providers, will be watching the 2022 Supreme Court race very closely.

U.S. Senate

Neither of Michigan’s current U.S. senators – Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters are up for re-election in 2022. Stabenow will next be on the ballot in 2024, and Peters will be in 2026.

Get Involved in a Pro-Chiropractic Candidate’s Campaign TODAY!

A major part of our legislative strategy depends on chiropractors across the state establishing and maintaining relationships with their sitting lawmakers and candidates who support chiropractic. One of the best ways to establish such a relationship is to get involved in their campaign.

Depending on the time of year, campaigns focus on different activities. In the months before a Primary Election, campaigns obviously focus on winning the Primary and focus on such activities as building a large database of potential supporters and turning out their supporters. As the General Election approaches, there is often a greater need for direct contact with potential supporters. This means phone banking and door-to-door activities, identifying likely voters, and making sure they get to the polls on election day. Here are a few ways you can get involved:

  • Donate money to the campaign
  • Display your favored candidate’s campaign literature in your office
  • Go “door-to-door” (walk precincts handing out literature and talking about your favored candidate to campaign for them)
  • Work a campaign “phone bank”
  • Host or attend a fundraiser or candidate “meet & greet”
  • Volunteer to do some office work (data entry, cleaning the campaign office, etc.)
  • Put up a yard sign (at your home and office) or bumper sticker
  • Volunteer to deliver yard signs to people who have requested them
  • Cultivate a relationship with staff
  • Write a letter supporting the candidate to the editor of your local newspaper
  • Send “friend to friend” postcards to friends/neighbors in the district
  • Join the candidate’s campaign committee
  • Attend rallies, parades, and other events with the candidate
  • Work a polling location on election day
  • Volunteer to drive campaign supporters to the polls on election day
  • Use your social media channels to get out the vote for your candidate on election day

Check the candidate’s website for other opportunities to volunteer. Most modern campaign websites have a “Volunteer” page or section where they detail the ways in which you can volunteer for the campaign. Or, if your candidate has one, drop by their local field office. Often, the campaign website will give you the address of the office and/or contact information. Stop by the office and ask how you can contribute.

After the Campaign

Your relationship with a candidate must not end when the campaign is over. After establishing a relationship with a candidate or sitting legislator running for re-election, you can be an invaluable resource to them. Who better to advise a lawmaker on a health care issue than a health care practitioner from their district? You are well equipped to provide specific examples of how patients and other chiropractors/health care professionals will be affected by proposed legislative action. Contact the MAC office for talking points on the chiropractic view of pending legislation.

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