Michigan Primary 2022 Candidate Guide: What you need to know

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Michigan is gearing up for primary elections on Aug. 2. Here in Metro Detroit, there are several key races from the county level to the federal level.

In addition to the gubernatorial, congressional, and state House and Senate races, there are also local elections to decide who advances to the November election in the Wayne County executive and sheriff’s races as well as who will advance in commission races in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. While presidential and gubernatorial elections tend to steal the spotlight, local elections are critical because they are the most likely to impact your day-to-day life. Your local leaders are making decisions that shape everything from public safety and education to how and when your trash is collected.

So scroll through this guide so you can be an informed voter before you go to the polls. You can see a full list of the candidates here, and find out more information on how to vote with confidence with this guide from our friends at Outlier Media. And if you aren’t sure which district you’re in, plug in your address here to find out.

Who’s running


In the Democratic primary, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is running unopposed. The Republican field started off with 10 candidates before half of the hopefuls were booted off over signatures. The remaining candidates on the ballot are Tudor Dixon, Ryan Kelley, Ralph Rebandt, Kevin Rinke and Garrett Soldano. Former Detroit police chief James Craig was one of the candidates removed from the ballot, but he has since launched a write-in campaign.


10th Congressional District

Nikki Roach/WDET

Republican Lisa McClain currently represents Michigan’s 10th District. However, as a result of newly drawn district lines, McClain will be seeking reelection in the Michigan’s 9th District — leaving no incumbent candidate in the 10th District race.  While the county still leans conservative, redistricting has increased diversity. With redistricting causing districts to share territory with more communities, including Detroit, Macomb may serve as a glimpse into how the country may be moving politically as a whole, as discussed recently on Detroit Today. Candidate Carl Marlinga holds a large lead in the Democratic primary and has a narrow lead against the favorite to win the Republican primary, John James. Read more about this closely contested race here.

11th Congressional District

Nikki Roach/WDET

Due to redistricting, the 11th Congressional District has pitted two incumbent Democratic lawmakers against each other: Reps. Andy Levin and Haley Stevens. For more analysis on this race, listen to this recent conversation with Detroit Free Press reporter Todd Spangler on Detroit Today and meet the candidates here in our guide.

12th Congressional District

12th Congressional District new map 2021
Map by Nikki Roach/WDET

In the new 12th Congressional District, which now includes portions of west Detroit, western Wayne County and Oakland County, plus the cities of Dearborn and Southfield, there’s no real incumbent. The old district’s current representative, Rep. Brenda Lawrence, announced she would retire at the end of the year, shaking up the race in the district. Democratic U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib is the lone sitting member of Congress vying for votes in Michigan’s redrawn 12th Congressional District. With the state’s Democratic primary election looming, every other candidate in the race views Tlaib as the number one target. Read more here.

13th Congressional District

13th Congressional District new map 2021
Map by Nikki Roach/WDET

Rep. Brenda Lawrence’s retirement also shook up the race in the 13th Congressional District, and her exit from public office left the seat open. There are nine candidates running for the seat. Meet the candidates here.

State House

See a list here and watch candidate videos from Citizen Detroit.

State Senate

See a list here and watch candidate videos from Citizen Detroit.

Macomb County Commission

Infrastructure, the economy (especially rising inflation and jobs) and support for seniors are some of the top issues in the county commission race. Meet some of the candidates here.

Oakland County Commission

Last year, the Oakland County Apportionment Commission adopted a new plan for county commission districts, reducing the number from 21 to 19. Learn more about some of the candidates who responded to WDET’s survey request here.

Wayne County Commission

Meet some of the candidates running for the commission here, and read more about how the primary elections are shaping up in Wayne County.

Wayne County Executive

Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans is being challenged by Mohammed R. Alam in the Democratic primary. Mark Ashley Price is the sole candidate on the Republican ballot. Meet the candidates in our candidate guide here.

Wayne County Sheriff

Sheriff Raphael Washington was tapped for the role after Benny Napoleon passed away last year. Learn more about Washington as he makes his first election bid and the challengers looking to unseat him here.

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  • Dorothy Hernandez
    Dorothy Hernandez is Digital Editor for 101.9 WDET, creating digital editorial content. Her love of radio began when she had a radio show in college when she and her roommate played '80s music in the middle of the night.