Retirement opens up possible political changes

The retirement announcement from Republican Congressman Dave Camp has started a trickle-down effect that has several Michigan House members and Senators filing to run for the new seats. Camp, who represents Michigan’s 4th Congressional district, said Monday that he will not run for re-election after his current term expires. He has served 12 terms in Washington.

A day after Camp’s announcement, Michigan 36th District State Sen. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, filed to run for Camp’s seat, and on Wednesday Michigan Majority Floor Leader and 98th District Representative Jim Stamas declared he has filed to run for Moolenaar’s seat in the state Senate.

Stamas said he is a supporter of Moolenaar and believes he would represent not only his district well, but would have the entire nation’s best interest in mind. He said unlike Moolenaar, he doesn’t have aspirations to move from state government to federal. He said he believes he can make a significant impact while continuing to live in the state that he loves. He said the recent developments in Washington and Lansing had played a role in deciding to run in the November election.

“The decision came real quick. Congressman Camp announced his retirement and it set a whole series of progressions into place,” Stamas said. “Sen. Moolenaar has always had it in his heart to go go out to D.C. and fight for our families, so I was in my final term and today I announced I’m running for the 36th District, which is an awesome opportunity.”

Stamas said his brother, Tony, served as a state senator for eight years and he is comfortable with the people and the area he would be representing in the Senate.

“I know the area, I have knocked on the doors and I have met the people,” Stamas said. “I’m excited about this and I’m excited to get back up to Alpena to knock on the doors in the 36th District and continue to take its fight to Lansing to be sure it is not forgotten.”

It is not yet known who will represent the Democratic party in its battle with Moolenaar and Stamas, but more announcements should be made shortly, as the filing deadline is April 22.

A wild card in the election could be Michigan’s 106th District Rep. Peter Pettalia, who intended to run for his current seat. After the announcements from Camp and Moolenaar however, he is considering running for the 36th District Senate seat.

“I have been approached and encouraged to run and Team Pettalia is investigating it,” Pettalia said. “I was considering a run for the seat in 2016, but didn’t consider Mr. Camp and Mr. Moolenaar decisions. I think it would be a perfect fit and we will make a final decision soon on what our plans are.”

Pettalia made clear that his current seat is important to him and it is one he will not abandon, unless there is a strong Republican candidate on the ballot who can continue what he has started. As of Wednesday only Democrat Rozanne Curley has filed to be on the ballot against Pettalia during the mid-term election.

“The 106th District is my number one goal right now and working for and with the people I represent is what is at the top of my list of what I intend to do,” Pettalia said. “I would never do anything to jeopardize the 106th. If I do decide to run for the senate seat I will only do so if there is someone running for the 106th that I feel strong about that I can back.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at