If you live in the Mason County area and you are a registered Democrat, you can easily ignore the Michigan primary election being held on Tuesday, August 2nd as there are no ballot questions and every single position you can vote for only has one candidate running for it.  For a party that claims to be the party of diversity, there doesn't seem to be a lot of diversity of thought.

On the other hand, the Republican candidates for office are substantial, with every statewide position having at least two candidates running and a modest schism of ideas in many of the races.  Here's a rundown of the options in the Republican primary you will see on your ballot if you live in the only contested Mason County Commissioner district, the second: 

The Ludington Torch attended the local primary debate held at Waterfront Park, we have organized the candidates' websites and selected key differences between competing candidates in our analysis.  Here's what we have noticed to help you make your best choice should you be a registered Republican in Tuesday's primary election, working up the ballot.  For every candidate above county level we link to the policy page of their website to allow for more review of the issues that matter most to you, as our review will be mostly summarized.

Second District County Commissioner

Gary Castonia has a career in public service, including a handful of years as a commissioner and three terms as a Ludington city councilor.  Michelle Kuster has no political background, making a living through private medical practice, has made transparency and accountability as the issues she cares for.  If experience and maintaining the status quo is important to you, he's your candidate; if you want a fresh face, want another woman on the commission (only 1 in 7 of the current commission is female), want another doctor's perspective on the commission, or believe she can deliver more transparency, vote for her.

102nd District State Representative

In this newly drawn district, Curt VanderWall seems the prohibitive favorite among the three as the only 'incumbent' running.  VanderWall made a deal with fellow Senator Jon Bumstead not to run for the state senator position against him; Curt's well versed in making deals, having signed a three year contract deal with the City of Ludington with his private business in violation of the Constitution he has sworn to uphold.  His tenure as state representative and senator has otherwise been on the south side of mediocrity, willfully playing the part during the last couple of years as the 'controlled opposition' to Governor Whitmer.

Andrew Sebolt has served in county and state government himself and this experience along with a solid 'America/Michigan First' background makes him a solid candidate against the establishment candidate whose positions are mostly fluid.  Ryan 'Logik' Roberts has many of the same core values as Sebolt, but offers a fresh face who has shown a willingness to fight injustice and a failing status quo, we covered his extended protest at the courthouse when Magistrate Glenn Jackson allowed a dangerous criminal to post an absurdly small bond, which led to the death of a child and additional mayhem.  


If you like the way the current Republican-led Michigan legislature is operating and has operated, and don't mind if your candidate doesn't respect his vow to defend the Constitution over the opportunity to make a few extra bucks, vote for VanderWall.  If you would rather support a candidate who would work for Republican values and fight against the established uniparty in Lansing, you have two choices.  If you want experience but don't want to go all in, choose Sebolt.  If you want freshness and someone who will go to the mat for their conservative ideas, send Mr. Roberts to Lansing.  

32nd District State Senator

The aforementioned incumbent Jon Bumstead has a lot in common with Curt VanderWall which is likely why they made the deal not to oppose each other.  The sole issues they publicly discuss seem to be with hunting and a support of the Second Amendment for hunting.  Bumstead skipped the Ludington debate, and his opponent Charles "Chuck" Ritchard made his case which included many of the points on the back of his collectible election cards (pictured).

Ritchard has a lot of energy and issues, including an issue with Bumstead's eligibility for the office, claiming the senator rented a boathouse in North Muskegon so that he could be in the 32nd district.  If you can support VanderWall and his minimalist platform and ethical issues, you would likely be able to support Bumstead.  

If you want someone who would correct some of the excess, mistakes, and excessive mistakes of the senate over the last few years, you should vote for the energetic challenger.

US Congress, MI Second District

John Moolenaar is an incumbent in the US House of Representatives that you may have never heard of, he seems to be dodging debates with his opponent and otherwise not making a lot of news for his actions as a member of the silenced house minority.  Tom Norton is not afraid to embrace the America First mantel popularized by Donald Trump and flamboyantly does so.  It's obvious from his rhetoric that Norton will fight for his values whether Republicans regain the majority or not in the house, it's obvious from his dodgy campaign that Moolenaar will fail to be accountable to his constituents and continue to be an establishment Republican.

Michigan Governor

This would be a long list had not half of the contenders fell short on their qualifying ballots.  The remaining contingent is not as diverse as most of the other races even though it has five candidates; they all want to be seen as the Anti-Whitmer and so they often campaign against her rather than each other.  

Tudor Dixon just got this weekend's endorsement from Donald Trump, after a period where she attained the position of frontrunner after getting numerous endorsements from GOP notables and organizations across Michigan.  She stands out from the rest of the others by her appeal to both wings of the Republican party, despite having stronger views than most of the establishment would dare have.  Choose her if you think she would fare better than the men against Governor Whitmer, appreciate her freshness in the political realm after being a commentator on the Real Amerca's Voice network, or if you respect the 45th president's choices.

Ryan Kelley stands out as being the only candidate harassed for being part of the January 6th protests, yet his stand on issues mirror those of Dixon's Michigan First program.  Kelley made an organic change from a successful businessman into politics during the pandemic period, as many including Dixon did.  If you want some serious change happening, he may be your choice but he does have political weaknesses that could be exploited in November.

Ralph Rebandt features a lighthouse initiative which differs slightly from the other candidates by introducing public/private partnerships, which can often lead to bad things.  Rebandt is involved in community and church activities but hasn't gained a lot of traction in his campaigning.  If you would like a more moderate but moral course for Michigan leadership, think he can make his initiative work, and/or you think his training may help in exorcising the sitting governor, consider this candidate.

Kevin Rinke's stand on the issues is straightforward and much like those of his fellow candidates.  Rinke has been a dynamic business leader in the automobile sector and seems to have the tools to be a good governor.  If you think Michigan needs a leader well-versed in business and who seems earnest in his disputes with the policies of the current governor, consider Rinke.  

Garrett Soldano was also heavily influenced to run by Whitmer's policies during the coronavirus, and may be the sentimental favorite of people who want a change of governor.  Many may find Soldano's life story compelling, and those considering him may believe he has a great chance of dueling the incumbent through November.  The main problem is that this could also apply to most of his primary opponents.

These are your Republican candidates, please do your research and vote on Tuesday for the best person for the job, in your honest opinion.

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     Thanks for the review  It really puts the Light on the candidates  and the way they think .  The way I'm looking at the primary election and general  election  is if we want a change in our government we can't keep voting for the same do nothing people .  Vote for the best candidate in your mind , not the familiar name.   May God help us all.

One has to believe that if you want the Republican Party to change to meet the challenges that we have seen recently, you don't pick the old guard dinosaurs (VanderWall, Bumstead, and Moolenaar) who haven't adapted since their last re-election and have shown they are unwilling to learn that 2022 is much different than 2018 and 2020.

Well done X. Thanks for your time and effort. The Republicans have a full boat of candidates to choose from. The endorsement from Trump that Dixon received may just be what is needed for her to win the nomination. I heard that Lucifer endorsed Whitmer. They're cousins so that's not surprising.

Every Republican gubernatorial candidate has the disadvantage of low name recognition, this is due in part to the wide field of ten they had for a while, and the fact that the remainder basically have no political candidacy experience or celebrity.  A recent poll showed that Tudor Dixon had only about 15% name recognition among those Michiganders polled (similar to the other four candidates), which won't get her many votes beyond those pledged to vote Republican or against Whitmer, should she be elected.  The goal for the primary winner is clear, get people to recognize your name-- in a good way-- and boldly show how you would be better than four more years of a failed governorship.

After choosing who I thought were the best candidates for the positions on the primary ballot earlier this afternoon, I noticed something interesting about my choices.  I strongly identify as an old white man, primarily because I am an old white man, but every single person I voted against on my ticket were old white men.  I chose three women, a young black man (Roberts), and voted against nine old white men.  One should never ascribe to identity politics; one should vote for who has the better ideas and character to move us forward successfully.  I'm glad to have such choices in the Republican primary.

Democrat candidates, who featured three old white men and Gretchen Whitmer running uncontested, offer no choice, a good indication that they are embracing a philosophy where the people's choices do not matter, such as the socialism and communism Whitmer embraced when she was the dictator of Michigan.

That's me all right.  Well, it looks like I picked a lot of losers on my ballot.  Tudor Dixon won, but the three old guard Republicans won handily (VanderWall, Bumstead, and Moolenaar) as did Castonia.

It's so disappointing that our area does not make bold choices and settles for bland establishment guys who failed us all over the last three years.

I hope you don't mind the old couple picture? I thought it was cute. I didn't do very well on my voting either and I did not vote for Tudor DIxon.


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